We recorded negligible differences in performance among all the boards tested. This isn't unusual, since they are all based on the same 3D chip GeForce3 and have 64 MB DDR SDRAM with an access time of 3.8 nanoseconds. Anyone buying a GeForce3 card is buying in the same performance range. Driver updates can change the performance a little in favor of any manufacturer. Those vendors who provide a driver update first, will usually benefit from it for a short while until the competitors catch up or overtake them. Therefore, the only thing to keep your eye on are the hardware and software extras.
The winner with regard to extras is the Asus V8200 Deluxe . It has video-in and TV-out connectors and comes with 3D shutter glasses. Asus includes Ulead VideoStudio and CyberLink VideoLive Mail as software extras. Also bundled are the full versions of the games Messiah, Sacrifice and Star Trek - New Worlds.
The Gainward CARDEXpert GeForce3 offers very good value, particularly for those interested in hardware extras only. Gainward adds video-in, video-out and a DVI connector for digital flat panels to the VIVO board we tested. This makes its package almost as comprehensive as the Asus V8200 Deluxe. The software extras aren't quite as abundant, though. Although there were no games included, you can still fire up the CARDEXpert card for some simple video capturing and editing in Ulead VideoStudio.
The third recommendation goes to the MSI Starforce 822 . Priced at $340, it's one of the cheapest cards we tested, but one with useful features such as video-in and TV-out. Games weren't neglected, either - Rogue Spear and V-Rally 2 are included in the package. The MSI also won us over with its very good overclocking features.
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