I know it’s fairly long in the tooth now, and with GeForce2 cards now coming under £100, you’d wonder why I am writing a review of a card that’s over a year old. Well, the answer is this: the GeForce2 cards are cutting edge, and if you have a fairly old computer, then you may not want to pay the extra money for something that may not operate optimally, or at all! I ordered my GeForce Annihilator card from scan.co.uk, and at the time, it cost me £99.99. Up to that point, I’d been using a S3 Virge with 12 Mb Voodoo2 (also, I was running a 300Mhz K6-2) and while happy with that set up, I decided to upgrade as I thought £99.99 was a good price for that particular card. The specifications for the card (the important ones, anyway) are thus: RAMDAC runs at 350Mhz, memory of 32Mb, Direct X 7 compatible and has a T & L engine. Theoretically it’s capable of handling 15,000,000 triangles per second with a peak fill rate of 480 million pixels per second. Mean anything to you? No, thought not! I ordered the OEM model from scan (i.e. drivers, but no free games), and I installed it immediately. Installation was easy, and painless – I extracted my old cards, and inserted the new one into the AGP slot. Upon rebooting the computer, I inserted the driver CD and installed the drivers. These installed easily , and one quick reboot later, and I was in business. I’m not one for paying attention to frame rates, but I found that in first person shooters, I was able to up the resolution from 640x480 to 800x600 without any loss of speed. I also, after a few goes on Half-Life, bumped up the detail level, again without any loss of quality. It seems that the GeForce is very capable of coping with 3d graphics. One final test – I’d been having problems running the Daikatana demo under my old set up specification (i.e. even the menu was proving troublesome, never mind the game itself!), so I decided t
o give it on last try before uninstalling the bloody thing. Amazing! It ran so much smoother than before. Ok, I was still running it in 640x480, but at least it was running a lot better than before! (Crap game though :P) Also, Nvidia's Detonator drivers are very good indeed (Now up to Detonator3), enabling you squeeze and extra bit of speed out of your card, even if it is over a year old. So for those of you out there with a slightly older computer, my advice is to upgrade to a better graphics cards (if you’re a gamer) it may end up doing the same job as spending money on a new mainboard and processor!
I was given one of these, yup – given! It replaced a (fully working) TNT2 Ultra that was incompatible with my motherboard (I got a new motherboard as well, this was just compensation) and I’m very pleased with it. In 3D games my PIII-450 is faster than my friends PIII-600 with a TNT2 in it. Bizarrely the Geforce has already by superseded by the Geforce2 GTS. Nvidia may have a policy of releasing new hardware every six months, but no game has really taken advantage of the Geforces potential yet, apart from it’s raw speed. It’s like driving a Ferrari flat out in 2nd gear all the time. The Geforce has what Nvidia like to call a GPU, this is capable of doing virtually all the graphics processing, as opposed to the standard way of doing it, where the graphics card draws and the CPU processes. Naturally this, when used, speeds things up dramatically. I do have two criticisms of the card though. 1: It runs very hot and so needs a loud fan and I mean LOUD, though that may just be the Creative Labs card I have. 2: It doesn’t always come out of standby mode. But I can live with that, though I would like to make it quiet! Update – A year with the card. Well, that noisy fan got noisier and noisier and noisier until I took action and sprayed some oil on the offending part (See www.geforcefaq.com for more) and it seems very quiet now, though I’m sure that’s just to do with it being unusually loud for a few months. One thing that has really impressed me about the card is Nvidia’s support for it. New drivers appear on quite a regular basis and on the last major revision (Detonator 3) my frame rates in Quake 3 Arena went up about 15%! Not bad for a year old graphics card eh? I mean, one year – that’s at least 70 in human years isn’t it?
I bought the Creative Annihilator graphics card after a I was recommended it by a friend. I had a Creative Banshee card before that so the Annihilator was a biggish step up. I have a Gigabyte motherboard which only supports 2x agp. It also has big problems with the voltage that the Annihilator card requires. When I play heavy graphic games like Quake 3 it will play fine but after about 20 minutes of playing my computer will freeze and I have to reboot. This problem is a known problem with the Gigabyte GA 5AZ motherboards so be careful if you are to get this graphics card. For the time I am able to play the game it is good. This graphics card has come down in price recently because their is the newer Annihilator 2 card whichs have been released. I would recommend getting the Annihilator 1 card if you havent got much money as it is not much slower. It will play games well and is very well supported by Creative.