VGA Card Buyer's Guide 07/2003

Leadtek WinFast A300 Ultra TD MyVIVO, Continued

The noise level of our review sample A300 Ultra was very low. Notably, the card did not suffer from the same "singing" undertone that characterized its little sister and was very quiet - at least in 2D mode. The explanation for this is that in 2D mode, the fans remain inactive! When the card switches into 3D mode, the fans spin up to ensure sufficient cooling - naturally creating more noise. Although the card is a far cry from the dustbuster volumes of some other FX 5800 Ultra boards, it is still clearly audible, even in a closed computer. The singing undertone is absent, though, thanks to the faster fan speed. The improved cooling also helps keep the card cooler than the "little" A300 TD (rear heatsink temperature: 53°C compared to 60°C).

In addition to the TV-out, the card also offers Video-in via composite and S-VHS connections. The included adapter cable for these connectors is 90-cm long and seems to be of very high quality. The card uses the Philips SAA7114H encoder chip. Again, although Leadtek bundles cables with the card, they are too short to be useful (1.00 m composite; 1.10 m S-VHS).

The card's driver CD also includes Coloreal, a set of color-calibration tools for monitors (Coloreal Visual, Coloreal Embedded, and Coloreal Bright). These are especially helpful in multi-monitor environments. Other software on the CD includes Colorific/ True Internet, Cult3D and the software DVD player WinFast DVD 3.1.

The games bundle consists of the very recently released games "Big Mutha Truckers" (03/2003) and "Gunmetal" (03/2003). While neither is a top game, both are quite entertaining.