Gainward's MX400: Serious Competition For The GeForce2 GTS?


Is it possible for a GeForce2 MX graphics card to outperform a GeForce2 GTS card? At first glance, the answer is no, simply due to the limited memory bandwidth of the MX. In our last graphics card review, where we took a look at 6 graphics cards based on NVIDIA's GeForce2 MX 400 , Gainward's 'Golden Sample', an MX 400 model which uses 32 MB of high-speed SDRAM at 4ns, provided a surprising contrast to its competitors. The drivers offer an Enhanced Mode, that runs the board at 240 MHz core and 240 MHz memory speed.

At Computex, we were presented with the next generation of this card. This time, it is equipped with even faster memory to achieve memory speeds of 260 MHz. The chip speed has also been increased to 250 MHz, which, incidentally, is exactly the speed of a GeForce2 Ultra. We would have loved to have done some benchmarks during Computex, but our schedules were overloaded, and so the tests were delayed until now.

There are a couple of advantages to Gainward's MX board. First of all, boards based on the MX chip cost less than boards with the GTS or Pro, and in the case of Gainward's product, which is tuned to reach the performance of a GeForce2 GTS card, you get a better deal in terms of price vs. performance. Secondly, you get the added bonus of the TwinView feature. Furthermore, compared to the other chips that support dual monitors (i.e., Matrox G400/G450 and ATI Radeon VE), NVIDIA's MX is the only one that is fast enough for 3D gaming. A graphics card with this combination of features is probably ideal for many users. Here, we will find out if the Golden Sample really performs up to such high expectations.