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X-Micro Hulk V GeForce2 MX Review

By: Mike Chambers - December 28, 2000

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Test System

Time to take a look at the performance of the X-Micro Hulk V GeForce2 MX using a variety of popular first person shooters. Here's a rundown of the system that was used in testing.

  • Pentium 3-700E @840MHz
  • 128MB Mushkin PC150 RAM
  • Asus CUSL2 Mainboard (120/120/40)
  • X-Micro Hulk V GeForce2 MX (AGP)
  • NVIDIA Reference GeForce2 MX (AGP)
  • Default Core (175MHz) and Memory Speeds (166MHz)
  • Beta Detonator 3 Driver Version 6.49
  • Vsync Disabled
  • Sound Blaster Live Value
  • Windows 98 First Edition
  • DirectX 7.1

In addition to the benchmark results, I will be discussing my experiences in on-line game play using the graphics settings that I feel are playable for my needs. In these test cases, image quality took precedence over speed.

Quake 3 Arena

We begin with Quake 3 Arena performance as any video card review would be incomplete without it. The action is furious, the graphics are top notch, and the game runs great on GeForce based graphics cards. And contrary to certain opinions, the image quality is excellent when texture compression is disabled.

Here are the graphics settings that were used most of which are based on the standard high quality settings:

  • Medium Geometry Detail
  • Default Texture Setting
  • Texture Compression Off
  • Trilinear Texture Filtering
  • High Quality Sound

Quake3 Arena Results - Demo001

In Quake 3 Arena, the performance of the X-Micro GeForce2 MX is extremely close to that of the NVIDIA's reference GeForce2 MX. Performance at resolutions of 640x480 or 800x600 is excellent considering the low cost of the card. Playing at 1024x768 in 16-bit color isn't out of the question either as the frame rate almost reaches 70fps at the default core and memory clock speeds.

The Real Deal Please...

While benchmarks serve a purpose in that they gauge performance, we here at nV News realize that it's only part of our job in a video card review. We make every effort to keep the cards we review in our system for an extended period of time and give them a real life workout playing our favorite games.

It was shown in the benchmark results at 800x600 in 32-bit color that the X-Micro GeForce2 MX achieved a frame rate of 76.4fps. Does this meain that we can expect this type of performance all the time? Of course not. There will be fluctuations in the frame rate.

Based on my system, I find that the sweet spot for playing Quake 3 using the Hulk V GeForce2 MX to be with the standard high quality settings with texture compression disabed and high quality sound. The following screen shots were taken during my on-line gaming sessions to demonstrate the performance of the Hulk V under heavy graphics conditions. The frame rate appears in the upper right corner of the images.

Quake3 Arena - 800x600x32bpp

Click to Enlarge - 100KB

There's nothing quite like the culmination of a frag to make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Wide angle views of outdoor and space scenes in Quake 3 Arena are especially taxing on a graphics card.

Quake3 Arena - 800x600x32bpp

Click to Enlarge - 108KB

There's quite a bit of action going on in this scene. A 32-bit colored sky using uncompressed textures, some dynamic lighting, and body parts flying around. Even with high quality sound, the Hulk V manages a respectable 57 frames per second here.

Quake3 Arena - 800x600x32bpp

Click to Enlarge - 105KB

There's nothing quite like a full-fledged frag fest in Quake 3 Arena as the server I was on in this game was hosting 24 players. As many of them are heading for the rocket launcher in this room on level Q3DM2, you can be assured that the action gets furious. Add to that a cigar-smokin' Sarge in your face and I think the Hulk V passes our Quake 3 stress test. While 35fps may be a far cry from the demo001 timedemo result of 75fps, it was the absolute minimum frame rate I could muster up.

As a side note I find that a useful strategy for this room is to get the rocket launcher and position yourself in either corner next to the door. As players come through the door and head for the rocket launcher start firing away. In a heavy multi-player game most players will already be low on health when entering the room and can be easily fragged from this position. I knocked out eight of 'em while I was taking screen shots.

Oh my, have I turned into a camper?

Next Page: Soldier of Fortune and Half-Life

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Last Updated on December 28, 2000

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