In early November Andy Chang of Leadtek contacted me in regards to reviewing their new GeForce2 MX based graphics cards - the WinFast GeForce2 MX DH Pro TV. I welcomed the opportunity since I had yet to review a GeForce2 MX other than NVIDIA's reference model. This review will also be my first experience using TwinView and TV-Out.
A week later a package from Leadtek arrived which was delivered by FexEd all the way from from Taipe, Taiwan. As I opened the heavily damaged package, I noticed that there were two graphics cards inside. Taking each card out of its anti-static bag revealed an AGP and PCI version of the WinFast GeForce2 MX DH Pro TV.
That's right - a PCI GeForce2 MX. It's been over two years since I last used a PCI graphics card which was a RIVA 128 based Diamond Viper V330 running on a 90MHz Pentium. At that time I was addicted to Quake 1 and running a web site for our Deadly Rage clan at VisiNet. You still around Illusion?
Worried that the cards may have suffered damage during shipping, I installed them in my primary system which consists of a Pentium 3-700MHz running on an Asus CUSL2 motherboard. Installing each card was a snap since I had already been using the Detonator 6.31 drivers. After running a couple of Quake 3 timedemos I was good to go.
|Company & Product Overview
When I previewed the GeForce2 MX back in June, I was pleased that NVIDIA would be offering a graphics chipset that provided good performance for the price. It wasn't too long before you could find a standard GeForce2 MX graphics card for less than $100. Owners of TNT and TNT2 graphics cards, who may have passed on moving up to NVIDIA's next generation offerings, were probably rejoicing as well.
Leadtek Research, which is headquartered in Taiwan, has been in business since 1986. From delivering the first PCI graphics accelerator in 1993 to becoming an NVIDIA based add-on card manufacturer in the late 1990's, Leadtek is definitely an established player in the graphics industry. Using their industry know-how, it's only natural that Leadtek can offer us more than a standard reference card which we see all too often with other add-on card manufacturers.
Leadtek has run with NVIDIA's reference design and manufactured the WinFast GeForce2 MX DH Pro TV to fully exploit the features of the GeForce2 MX chipset. With support for TwinView (dual display), TV-Out, and Digital Vibrance Control, these models represent the swiss army knife of Leadtek's GeForce2 MX offerings.
Add in a second generation transform and lighting processor, per-pixel shading capabilites, and 32MB of single data rate (SDR) graphics memory, and you've got a capable, yet cost effective, gaming card on your hands. On paper the WinFast series of graphics cards appear to be well rounded products and we'll see if they can live up to our expectations.
|NVIDIA GeForce2 MX (AGP)|
|WinFast GeForce2 MX DH Pro TV (AGP)
|WinFast GeForce2 MX DH Pro TV (PCI)
Many NVIDIA based add-on graphics card manufacturers provide a custom set of drivers and software to use with their products. Leadtek's WinFox software suite offers a full range of tools to easily manage display settings.
Troubleshooting graphics card hardware problems has been simplified as the Pro models are outfitted with an on-board hardware monitoring system. The WinFox Hardware Monitoring software provides extensive reporting capabilities.
And to squeeze out that extra bit of performance, the core and memory speeds can be overclocked via the WinFox Speed Runner applet. Looking at the cards, you see Leadtek going the extra distance with the addition of an oversized heatsink and cooling fan.
Let's take a look at the full package:
- NVIDIA second generation 256-bit Graphics Processing Unit (GPU).
- Capable of rendering 20 million triangles per second and 700 million textured pixels per second.
- TwinView architecture provides for a variety of flexible dual display configurations.
- Digital Vibrance Control for fine-tuning display settings under various lighting conditions.
- NVIDIA Shading Rasterizer (NSR) performs per-pixel shading capabilities.
- Supports DirectX and OpenGL based applications and games.
- AGP 4X with Fast Writes and Execute Mode.
- 350Hz RAMDAC supports a maximum resolution of 2048x1536.
- Secondary RAMDAC for additional display which can be a monitor or TV.
- NTSC/PAL TV-Output with flicker filter.
- Driver support for Windows 95/98, ME, 2000, and NT4.
- Bundled software (WinFox, WinFast DVD, Colorrific, 3Deep, and Cult 3D).
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