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Leadtek WinFast GeForce3 TDH Review
By: Jonathan Martini - November 2, 2001

What's Included

Here's a small pic of everything that Leadtek has included within their box:

What's included:

  • Leadtek GeForce3 TDH

  • Installation CD which includes: WinFast DVD, Colorific, Cult 3D & 3Deep.

  • Quick Installation manual

  • 40-paged Instruction manual

  • S-Video cable

  • S-Video to Composite Adapter

  • Composite cable

  • 2 Full Version Games: Dronez & Gunlok

The whole package truly arrives fully-loaded. On to some of those special features.

 

TV-Out

I know some of you are wondering why I'm devoting a section of this review to a feature found on quite a number of cards. Well, it's because this is the first implementation of TV-Out I've seen that supports an output resolution of 1024x768.

The WinFast GeForce3 TDH uses the Conexant 871 TV encoder which is comparable to the Conexant 869 or Chrontel 7007 that most competitors use which only support up to 800x600. It's great to see that Leadtek is differentiating this product from the shelves full of GeForce3 clones.

There's something about watching movies on TV. Gone are the ugly color warping and banding visible on high resolution monitors. The few movies I tried looked MUCH better on the TV. If I could place a TV in my study, then I would for this sole purpose. But Windows and the Internet on a TV... No thanks.

 

Diagnostic LEDs

A unique aspect of high-end Leadtek cards is the inclusion of their set of three diagnostic LEDs which are located at the upper corner of the PCB.

The three lights are dubbed ERR, PWR & AGP4X. Under normal circumstances the PWR and AGP4X lights should be lit (if your motherboard supports AGP4X).

The above image shows the PWR and AGP4X LEDs in action.

The Heatsink

The most visible addition to the card are the heatsinks which contains over 20 fins spanning a very large area. To the well trained eye, the fan may seem smaller than usual when compared to the size of the cooler. Actually, it is smaller than the one on eVGA's GeForce3, but the fan contains 4 additional blades and spins over 5000 times per minute. Note that the fan is located in the center of the heatsink, which isn't above the GPU, but rather between the two black pins that hold the heatsink in place.

The fan is powered by a 3 wire connector and can be monitored using Leadtek's built-in monitoring chip.

 
Hardware Monitoring

Leadtek's card features Hardware Monitoring courtesy of an onboard Winbond chip (W83783S) connected to a thermistor. The thermistor is located on the left edge of the heatsink and extends underneath the heatsink. The chip is capable of monitoring various on-board settings such as two different temperatures (chip edge and center), as well as GPU and memory voltage settings. The on-board fan is connected by a 3 lead wire - 2 of the wires provide the power to rotate the fan and the third relays information about the fan's rotation speed. With high-end video cards becoming increasingly expensive, it's encouraging to see certain manufacturers provide hardware monitoring.

 
2D Quality

Another important area that Leadtek has listened to the customer and improved upon the reference design is in 2D image quality. NVIDIA's has been under scrutiny when it came to 2D with their older GeForce2 lineup, and we even had a forum thread about 2D problems GeForce2 Ultra owners were experiencing with their cards. While I haven't been at the helm of a Matrox powered system for well over two-years I can't compare the sharper 2D images, especially at high resolutions, that Matrox is famous for. But I can admit that the 2D quality of my eVGA GeForce3 is somewhat clearer than that of my GeForce2 Ultra at higher resolutions. The Leadtek TDH has a slightly sharper image at 1600x1200.

OCZ's Titan3 also features improved 2D quality through modified RFI filters, whereas Leadtek's approach was to provide the core with roughly the same voltage level as it has at lower resolutions (where 2D quality is better). Here's hoping Leadtek's GeForce3 Ti series of cards will also support this feature!

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Last Updated on November 2, 2001

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