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Creative Labs Annihilator2 Review - Introduction: Part One

By: Brian Gray - June 25, 2000

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Introduction: Part 1

Creative Labs shocked everyone when they announced that the Annihilator2 would MSRP at $299, especially 3dfx, who assumed they would have a price advantage on the GeForce2 based cards because of the cheaper SDR memory the Voodoo5 5500 utilizes.

The Annihilator2 skyrocketed to the top of the price versus performance list and forced all other GeForce2 card manufacturers to begin to drop prices. One has to wonder if this low price means a cheap card. In part one of this review, I will cover the GeForce2 and the card itself, followed by the driver choices available from Creative Labs.

GeForce2 GTS logo

It's a GeForce2 GTS after all, and it is going to be fast. I think Mike summed it up in his preview of the GeForce2 GTS, but I want give a quick refresher on GeForce's big brother.

NVIDIA's 2nd Generation GPU

NVIDIA GeForce2 GTS

GeForce 256 vs GeForce2 GTS

  GeForce 256 DDR GeForce2 GTS
Process Technology .22 micron .18 micron
Clocks (core/memory) 120MHz/300MHz 200MHz/333MHz
Memory Bandwidth 4.8GB/Sec 5.3GB/Sec
Texels/Clock 4 8
Pixels/Second 480 Million 800 Million
Texels/Second 480 Million 1600 Million
Polygons/Second 15 Million 25 Million
Shading Processor No Yes
Full Scene Antialiasing Yes Yes
Texture Compression Yes Yes

Let's face it, quite a bit has changed, especially in the architecture, which includes a ton of Texel fillrate. Unfortunately, memory speed didn't advance much from the GeForce to GeForce2, but the added 33MHz allows for the jump to the next resolution in 32 bit color before hitting the memory bandwidth wall.

Introducing The Creative Labs Annihilator2

The Annihilator2 follows the basic reference design which is a result of Creative Labs working with NVIDIA to develop the GeForce2 PCB. If you own a GeForce card you will notice a few things. The memory is the same 6ns DDR memory from Infineon. Better yields have allowed for higher stock clock speeds and an increase in memory bandwidth over the Annihilator Pro. Would I like more bandwidth? Of course, but the Moore's Law of graphics processors is out pacing the advances made in memory technologies.

The increased memory clockspeed, from 300MHz to 333MHz, allows for a memory bandwidth increase from 4.8GB/s for the Annihilator Pro to 5.3GB/s for Annihilator2. The improved yields have also allowed for better overclocking of the memory, which will be covered in the second part of the review.

The end of the card nearest the SVGA-out has beefed up power regulation and empty DVI-out pin locations. Gone is the strip of pins for a daughter card, which are replaced by elegant connectors adjacent to the Graphics Processing Unit (GPU). I'm still waiting for on official word of a Video-in/Video-out card which will use those connectors to provide MPEG capture and S-Video output.

Annihilator2 Box

The Annihilator2 is bundled with the following software:

  • Creative Enhanced BlasterControl 4.0 Utility
  • LAVA! Music Video Player
  • Media Ring Talk - Internet Voice Communication
  • NVIDIA GeForce2 GTS Technology Demos
  • E-Color Colorific and 3Deep

Let's check out what sets the Annihilator2 apart from it's competition.

Next Page: Installation and Blaster Control

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Last Updated on June 26, 2000

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