Prolink GeForce3 Ti 200 Review with NVIDIA's nForce
By: Mike Chambers - January 8, 2002
In mid-2000 NVIDIA released the GeForce2 MX under the campaign of bringing transform and lighting to the masses. Based on a scaled down GeForce2 core and with a price point of around $100, the MX delivered good performance, but it lacked the horsepower to run today's games effectively at high resolutions and high quality graphics settings. Antialiasing performance was only practical at the lowest resolutions due to the intensive computations involved in its supersampling algorithm. For the power gamer, graphics cards based on the GeForce2 Pro and Ultra were the products of choice at the time since they contained additional texture processing units, faster core speeds, and were outfitted with dual data rate (DDR) memory.
With the debut of the GeForce3 Ti 500 in September of 2001, NVIDIA also introduced the GeForce3 Ti 200. Based on the GeForce3 core, the Ti 200 can be thought of as this year's budget graphics card for the GeForce3. Making the GeForce3 Ti 200 even more attractive was the healthy boost in performance that all GeForce3 based graphics card received with the Detonator XP drivers.
Prolink PixelView GeForce3 Ti 200
Characterizing the GeForce3 Ti 200 as a budget-based graphics card is somewhat misleading however. At the time of this review, a GeForce3 Ti 500 was selling for around $120 more than a GeForce Ti 200, while a GeForce3 was around $75 more expensive. In terms of performance, the GeForce3 Ti 200 generally comes within 10%-15% of the performance of a GeForce3 and within 20%-25% of a GeForce3 Ti 500 when memory bandwidth isn't a limiting factor. When memory bandwidth becomes a constraint, the performance of the GeForce3 Ti 500 and GeForce3 over the GeForce2 Ti 200 dwindles further.
Prolink GeForce3 Ti 200
This is my first review of a graphics card from Prolink Microsystems Corporation, which was established in 1989 and is a leading manufacturer of graphics and multimedia add-on cards in Taiwan. Prolink offers a varied product line which includes graphics cards based on NVIDIA chipsets ranging from the three year old TNT to the leading edge GeForce3 Ti 500. They also produce assorted TV capture and tuner cards, DVD/MPEG-2 decoders, video conferencing kits, and LCD monitors. Prolink's manufacturing facilities are located in Taipei which contains a 3,500 square meter production plant.
Prolink PixelView GeForce3 Ti 200
Items included with the Prolink PixelView GeForce3 Ti 200 consist of a user manual, RCA cable for TV-out, RCA to S-Video adapter cable for TV-out, software installation CD with NVIDIA's Detonator drivers, DirectX 8.1, E-Color calibration software, WinDVD 2000, and Video Studio from ULead. An optional feature is TV-out courtesy of Conexant's CX25871 video encoder which supports a maximum resolution of 1024x768.
Software Installation Menu
Based on NVIDIA's GeForce3 Ti 200 chipset, the Prolink PixelView GeForce3 Ti 200 graphics processing unit operates at a clock frequency of 175MHz. The card contains 64MB of 4 nanosecond rated DDR memory from EtronTech and operates at a clock frequency of 400MHz.
Key features of all GeForce3 based graphics cards include the following:
Programmable Transform and Lighting
Pixel and Vertex Shader Processing Units
Lightspeed Memory Architecture
Anisotropic Texture Filtering
Shadow Buffers and 3D Textures
While it's in the hands of developers to expose vertex and pixel shaders, there are a few features that can be used on any application such as antialiasing and anisotropic texture filtering. Operating behind the scenes is the LightSpeed Memory Architecture, which is a traffic cop of sorts as it manages the exchange of data between the graphics processor, memory controllers, and frame buffer.