Installing the card was a piece of cake. No problems at all.
Though if you are not handy with computer hardware, ask someone
to do it for you. You can always give it a try before letting
someone do it. The step-by-step guide in the manual actually explains
how to put the card in.
The Test Beds
AMD based machine:
Athlon XP 1900+ (1.6GHz)
Alpha HSF + Panaflo 80mm fan
Soyo Dragon Plus, based on KT266A chipset
Gainward GeForce PowerPack! Ultra/650-8X XP “Golden
Sample” (Ti4200, AGP 8x)
512MB of OCZ DDR RAM PC2100 CAS 2 (266MHz)
ViewSonic P95f+ Pro-Series monitor
Onboard C-Media sound chip
Western Digital 40GB Hard Drive
Fresh installation of Windows XP along with SP1
Detonator 42.86 Drivers (I did not use the drivers Gainward
provided as they are quite old)
Pentium 4 based machine:
Pentium 4 1.6A @ 2.39GHz
Thermaltake Volcano 7 (Along with twoPanaflo 120mm fans inside
EPoX 4BDA+ based on Intel 845 chipset
Gainward GeForce PowerPack! Ultra/750 XP “Golden Sample”
(Ti4600, AGP 4x)
512MB of Samsung DDR RAM PC2100
Samsung SyncMaster 955DF
Maxtor 20GB Hard Drive
Velo TDK 48X CD-Burner
Fresh installation of Windows XP with SP1
Detonator 42.86 Drivers
As you can see, both systems are pretty much the same except
for the CPU. As we noted earlier, neither system supports AGP
8x. The answer is plain and simple. There are no performance gains
when using the AGP 3.0 compliant motherboard. You will later learn
how both systems stack up against each other.
Here are settings we have used for both systems when conducting
our benchmarks (Only difference are the refresh rates on the SyncMaster)
Basically it’s a display control and desktop enhancement
utility program for Windows 98/98SE/ME/NT/2000/XP which will only
function correctly in combination with your Gainward graphics
card. Note that not all adapters support the same features. Some
options may be not available for you to use. Never the less it's
a great tool for managing and troubleshooting your video card.
Let's take this little app for a spin :)
Desktop works much like the ‘Settings’ of Windows’
‘Display Properties’, but much better. The difference
is that this tool is easier to understand and use, because everything
you need is on one single nicely organized page. Use this section
to change your display’s resolution, color depth, the Windows’
system font size and refresh rates of your monitor (But be careful
when you change that refresh rate, as not all monitors support
the same settings. Make sure you read your monitor manual to see
exactly what refresh rates it supports).
The Color adjustment settings page is an alternative method to
adjust brightness, contrast and gamma. You can even change color
settings based on color channel. You can always undo the changes
you’ve made by clicking the ‘Default’ button.
I myself find this very useful. There are some games that need
to have their brightness adjusted (even if you set those in the
game, hence Counter-Strike need additional adjustments via drivers).
This section gives you a very detailed status report on your
Gainward card’s current operating environment, such as the
model number, current display settings, current software and driver
versions, etc. It could be helpful in the event you run into problems
and need to find more information about it on the internet. You
can also update the tool by clicking EXPERT Update >> button
which will take you to Gainward’s
Gainward packed some cool features into this tool. Here you
can adjust the position of your Windows desktop on your monitor,
setup power management properties and view all supported resolutions
/ refresh rates of your monitor.
I think this is the coolest feature Gainward included in their
tool. Right now the core and memory clocks are set to ‘default’
(250 MHz and 513 MHz). Also there is the ‘Enhanced Mode
Settings’ button (Only for Golden Sample based cards). Once
you hit the ‘Enhanced Mode Settings’ button both clocks
will jump to 270 MHz 540 MHz respectively. Those settings are
GUARANTEED TO WORK IN ANY SYSTEM WITH ANY ‘GOLDEN SAMPLE’
DISPLAY ADAPTER FROM GAINWARD. The higher the clock settings,
the faster your graphics card will work (technically).
So why don’t the Non-Golden Sample cards have the ‘Enhanced
Mode Settings’? Because the ‘Golden Sample’
boards are special. What Gainward does, is puts sample boards
through a series of punishing and demanding performance tests.
Only the boards that pass these tests will be qualified as a ‘Golden
I must admit, I was a bit disappointed with overclocking abilities
of this board. It probably has to do with the RAM type not being
BGA. But I will discuss that at the end of this review.