GeForce2 MX Shootout


A little over a month ago we introduced the first GeForce2 MX based product, the Gladiac MX from ELSA that stirred much interest. Although this item provided reasonable 3D performance for the price, it lacked many of the 'other' features that the GeForce2 MX chipset offered and came at an unattractive price.

Asus, Leadtek, MSI, Prolink and SUMA now have their own GeForce2 MX offerings boasting more for less. The big question now is, "Are all GeForce2 MX cards created the same?" We'll answer this and more as we take a detailed view at each card and its abilities.

The Chipset

The GeForce2 MX chipset is NVIDIA latest low-cost alternative based on the GeForce2. In our original review of this chipset, we had an excellent graphical example (that you can find here ) that illustrated the big differences between the chipsets. The main differences are: half the rendering pipelines, lower clocked core speed, and slower memory performance.

Obviously these chipsets are not competing with each other as they both have their uses. Where the GeForce2 GTS chips would cover the high-end market, the GeForce2 MX would cover the entry level or cost effective market. The chip allows for a much cheaper solution to be produced and still provide very reasonable 3D performance as well as some interesting video-out capabilities through the TwinView Technology. For a good chipset overview, have a look at our chipset comparison table in the original GeForce2 MX chipset review .

The Driver

The arrival of the Detonator 3 driver promised incredible performance boosts but has received a mixed bag of reactions due to varying end-user experiences. It seems that either people have no problems at all and are blessed with the extra performance or are cursed with such annoying problems that they have no choice but to revert back to older Detonator 2 drivers. If you're unfamiliar with the Detonator 3 driver release, you should look over the following articles.

  • NVIDIA's Detonator 3 Drivers
  • Update: SUMA GF2 GTS SE and Detonator 3

I've spoken with NVIDIA since then and I was assured that they are working hard to release an updated Detonator 3 driver sometime soon to address the various issues that some of the public has been seeing.

Unfortunately for GeForce2 MX owners, it is imperative that this new driver is used as it enables the TwinView feature for the first time. For the time being, missing out of the added performance can be overlooked but losing the TwinView functionality altogether is unacceptable to me. Hopefully, by the time most of you obtain a GF2 MX, you will have access to an updated Detonator 3 driver and not have any issues.

You will also notice that I didn't include screenshots from the various vendors but there is a good reason for this. Most of the competitors didn't have a 6.18 driver so I was asked to use the NVIDIA reference. Only Asus and Leadtek had their own version of the 6.18 reference drive but they were far from "custom", as they had basically relabeled the reference driver to say Asus or Leadtek. However, this still proved that Asus and Leadtek are very good at keeping up with the reference drivers from NVIDIA.