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Blue Wonder? The Guillemot/Hercules 3D Prophet II GTS


Apart from our standard tests the 3D Prophet II GTS as well as its contestants underwent a burn-in on an overclocked BX motherboard. Every candidate had to survive an one-hour endurance test with Quake 3. A BX chipset on an Abit motherboard clocked with 133 MHz produces an AGP clock of 88.8 MHz - which is one third above the specification. In this configuration the Prophet achieved excellent results without any visual errors, stalls or other bugs. Therefore owners of a BX motherboard can be pleased. It is possible to upgrade without any problems.

Final Words

For game enthusiasts, who do not care about overclocking, the Hercules 3D Prophet II GTS is the fastest GeForce2 graphics card currently on the market. Therefore it is certainly worth recommending. You should keep in mind, however, that the improved performance mainly comes from setting the graphics chips and the DDR memory to 210/340 MHz by default. Despite the slight overclocking that was preset in the factory, the Hercules card ran stable in all our tests. Nevertheless, this approach deserves some criticism: If the card is operated 200 MHz chip clock and 333 MHz memory clock, in compliance with the official nVidia specifications, the differences to the other competitors in the GeForce2 league are negligible. We do not think that it would be a good idea for graphics card manufacturers to ship their products preset with higher clock frequencies than recommended by the chip manufacturer. A card overclocked by default should not become a standard in the future! It should be left to the user - who consequently will carry the risk.

During our test the heat sinks on the memory chips did not turn out to be the megahertz booster overclockers had hoped for. At a clock frequency of 355 MHz pixel noise set in, which has a negative effect on the picture quality. The stable limit was at a clock frequency of 215 MHz for the chip and 390 MHz for the memory. Especially overclocking-friendly was the Winfast GeForce2, that we could drive to a maximum of 240/400 MHz. We must point out here, however, that Leadtek has hardly any distribution channels for their products in central Europe, so it is quite a challenge to find the Winfast on the shelves there.

A bargain is still the Creative 3D Blaster GeForce2 that occasionally costs about 50 bucks less than the Hercules 3D Prophet II GTS. However, the Creative card does not offer any additional features like video-out and game bundles. At least you can connect this Hercules card to the TV via S-VHS. Presently retailers sell the 32 MB version at $279. Porsche drivers and home owners pay about $379 for the 64 MB version.