I had one of these cards for a while, thinking it would be perfectly matched to my PC at the time. It was a Celeron 400, 128Mb RAM. I thought it would give me a little more added punch over the Voodoo2 card I was running. It was one of the biggest mistakes I ever made with computers. It started out ok, but not really running much faster than the Voodoo2, maybe pushing an extra 5 or 6fps on Quake 2. I was a little disappointed, but put up with it. After all, I did get it very cheap. But later on, it started having more and more problems. Reformatting the HDD seemed to work, for a few days. Then the problems started again, blue screens, massive slowdown in games, games just not running. It was pretty much a nightmare. Maybe I had a faulty card, but I'm not sure. The guy at the shop was totally unhelpful and said they couldn't do anything because it had been used, so I had to try and get the M64 working. I'll give them the benefit of the doubt, assume my card was faulty and say that if you have a 300-400Mhz computer with a very slow graphics card, maybe one of those 8Mb cards that were so popular a while back, then it would be a worthwhile buy if you see it for less than £15. Otherwise, don't bother.
Well if you are buying your PC now, and aren’t too interested in playing games, at £89 you cant go far wrong with this card. For gamers on the other hand, you can get far better cards. This is more of a middle range card, with 32mb of onboard RAM. I have had this card for about 8months, and if I was to buy a new PC now, I would make sure it had a different graphics card. I am very into games, and if at time of purchase of my PC I had a bit more money I would have went for something like a GeForce 2 or even a GeForce 256. This is a card that will run most games, but just because it has 32mb of onboard RAM, doesn’t mean it’s going to produce fantastic results. With games like Operation Flashpoint coming out, which will really require a high-powered graphics card and processor, the only bit letting me down is my graphics card (video card). I have am AMD Athlon 850mhz, which is enough to do most things, but the graphics card isn’t enough for me. I got the factory standard version, which means that I don’t get the TV out socket, so I don’t have the option of watching DVD’s on my PC DVD drive, through my 28” TV (which I really would like to do). The M64 version of this card is meant to come with this socket, but somehow I didn’t get it (I think it was the way the guy who got the parts for my PC bought them). Also it is the most powerful version of the card, which is OK being that it has been out for a few years (believe it was good in its time). Overall next year I am seriously thinking of upgrading my graphics card (or video card) because this one just doesn’t run some of the latest games. For 32mb of RAM being on the card, it just isn’t quick enough for this to be good. You could probably buy a quicker 16mb card. I would advise anyone who is thinking of buying this card to choose differently! Or even wait until the GeForce 3 comes down in price. ~~~The Deciding
Factor~~~~ If you are just looking for a middle class no frills graphics card, then this card will suit your needs brilliantly. If like me, you want something more, more power or even just smoother games and graphical supremely, then go for something else. This is a plain example of you pay for what you get, and I got the factory version (which is even cheaper) and so I am definitely looking for something else! This may suit you, but I need something more! Tybalt!
This was the 2nd Graphics card that I ever owned and is still in use within my Sisters computer. The card is a solid performer that works well within low end PC Configurations. Though most high street manufacturers who seem to be using this card as their standard card are not heeding this. Though this card does knock spots off the usual integrated nonsense that you get in PCs, so it has its good points in that regard. Whether or not this card would be a good purchase is dependent on a number of factors. A) What spec is your PC? Anything over 700mhz and this card is wasting the power of the processor. B) What purpose do you use your PC for? If you use it for things other than playing intensive games, such as office tasks – word processing, Spreadsheets etc then this card will be fine. Though I would say that a Matrox video card would be better due to it’s exemplary 2D performance. If you do intend to play games and you have a reasonably high spec PC then, I would advise against buying this card. Especially if you wish to play in resolutions higher than 800x600 (32 bit colour). If you are content to play in lower resolutions due to having a smaller monitor then this card will do you fine for that task. The main problem with this card is due to reduced memory bandwidth, which means High Resolutions chop frame rates by a large amount. So, if you have a lower specced PC and/or don’t play many games at high resolution then this card will do you just fine, cost should be nominal nowadays.
I have had this video card since September 2000. It was a replacement for my ultra-outdated 3DFX Voodoo 2. I play a lot of 3D games and this card suits them well. If you are on a budget but require a graphics card which can cut the mustard in both 2D and 3D applications and games you can't go far wrong here. The main problem with it is that for about £30 more you can now get a super GEForce 2MX which beats it in all areas. The games I play on this card don't suffer from any sort of slowdown on my AMD K6-2 500mhz with 128MB RAM + this graphics card. I play mainly 3D games such as Half-Life, Quake 3, Unreal Tournament, Black and White, Hitman and Delta Force 3. Installation is simple but if you are scared of your PC exploding when you touch it its best to get a tech-head to pop it in (and if it explodes you don't get hurt!). Then all you have to do is put the CD in the drive, remove your old graphics card drivers and tell Windows to locate the drivers which are on the CD. I recommend visiting www.nvidia.com to download the Detonator 3 drivers which can give you a speed increase of up to 50%. Once thats over you can sit back and play games. Despite super-fast new cards being out if you have a PC around my specification this gives you the highest speed and quality because the newest cards need the newest processors to run well (so if you want a GEForce 3 you'll be needing a Pentium 4 and a well-payed job). From my view I won't be needing another graphics card until sometime in late 2002.
General/Summary: It almost seems foolish reviewing a video card that has long since been surpassed by bigger, better video cards, but since they are still available for purchase, and since I bought one, I thought it best to have at least one review here. The 3D Blaster is, at its heart, an nVidia chip. Specifically, the Riva TNT2 Ultra. Of course, you already know that from when you clicked on it. What you might not know is what all that entails. Gameplay: Some would say that a peripheral is only as good as the programs that support it. Using this reasoning, I can only give the TNT 2 Ultra a 4. Though I have yet to find a game (or program) for which the card does NOT work, it is quite another matter trying to find games for which it works BEST. Whether right or wrong, a large percentage of the 3D-accelerated games available have been depending largely on the features of Voodoo-based chipsets, and the Glide code in particular. Fortunately, many of these same games are now including Direct3D support as well, but the performance is just a shadow of what could have been. Again, this is not so much the fault of the card as it is the availability of non-3dfx games. It seems this trend is gradually lessening, but in the meantime... Graphics: OpenGL is the star attraction of this card. Having played a few games using the Quake III engine, I am blown away by the level of geometric and lighting detail, as well as decent framerates on my computer. I still get the occasional stutter, but I'm betting this is due more to my processor than any fault of the TNT 2. Graphics demos, Direct3D-optimized games, and especially anything OpenGL-based all look beautiful. Granted, if I had it to do over again, I'd probabyl opt for one of the GeForce chipsets, but at the time I bought this, they were still out of my price range. Sound: I realize most people balk at this section, since it's obviously here with computer games in mind, but I'll go ahead anywa
y. When using WinAmp, I often activate the 3D plugins one can download. Now the drivers that Creative Labs provided didn't allow me to do much with these, as they wound up locking up the system. However, once I downloaded the latest reference drivers from nVidia... Wow! The fluid motion of the graphics in sync with the music is enough to hypnotize anyone.
The first thing that you notice about this card when you get it out of its box is the big heat sink that’s sitting on top of the chip. Trust me when I say this, the card gets hot, very hot. The blaster control utility that it uses to configure the card is pretty good as far as these go. It’s very easy to get around and if you know what you are doing it is very tweak able. You even have the option to save the settings and come back to them. The card performs well; the benchmark on 3d mark 2000 with a Pentium 3 500 and 128 of ram is between 2200 and 2500. There are no added extras with this card such as TV out or digital monitor connection but it is still a great card, especially for the money. The AGP aperture is only 2X, which is slow by today’s high-end cards but if you’re motherboard only supports 2X then its great.
The TNT range was always pitted against the more popular voodoo range of cards all the way to the Voodoo 3. The TNT range provided an alternative and often the cheaper option for most people. Nvidia released this version of the card after the Ultra version. The TNT2 Ultra was a great card but it fizzled out when the Geforce card out. Now Nvidia are selling the TNT 2 M64. The M64 is Offering Value to its dated power and performance. Not to take anything away from the card. Its chipset was among the best, but it has to be set in the budget market now. It could also do with being dropped in price. I did think up to a certain time last month that the M64 offered a cut down to the TNT2, now I am not so sure if that is true. I have checked the specs of the cards at Creative's website and was somewhat surprised. It turns out that the TNT 2 and the TNT 2 M64 have the same peak fill rate of 250 Million pixels/second. There architecture is a bit different. The TNT 2 using 2 64bit pipelines and the M64 is using a single 128bit pipeline. The 3D rendering pipelines are the same and the Z buffer is 24Bit for the TNT2 and can be 16/24 and 32Bit for the M64. Windows GDI hardware acceleration is available at 128 bit in the M64 version but not available at all in the TNT 2 original. If we look at refresh rates then the M64 is capable of higher refresh rates at all the resolutions and colours. So is it a cut down? If anybody really does now what Nvidia released it as in terms of its roadmap I would be grateful to know, this one had me puzzled. The price is around £70-80 in the shops which i think is a bit expensive compared to the Geforce 2 MX which you can pick up for £100 and is far superior.
The original TNT2 was released quite a while ago, but the TNT2 M64 was released more recently as a compromise between power and performance on mid priced PC's. At the moment it seems as if just about every PC below £1000 comes with Intel 810 graphics. While these are fine for general windows work they do struggle with the latest games, or infact just about any game which uses direct 3D. They normally come with only 4Mb of ram which is taken from the system, so a 64Mb machine would have only 60Mb RAM before it even started. Systems with the Intel 810 graphics would be fine if they came with an AGP slot, but criminally Intel failed to include one, so the only way to upgrade the graphics is with a whole new motherboard. At the plus £1000 mark PC's tend to come with the latest GEForce 2 card, which will happily play any game in any detail level you want. I of course didn't want either of these, I wanted a sub £1000 PC that would play the latest games reasonably well, so I found one that came with the TNT2 M64 32MB card. I have tried it with quite a few of the latest games and found that it works well on them all, if you try to set all the graphics options to high then it will strugge, but you can normally make a compromise with the graphic details set to above half way. One thing I have noticed is that when a level on a game first loads it does slow down for a few seconds, but I have a feeling that this happens on most systems. The fact that my system has only 64MB of RAM also means that some games probably don't play as well as they could. I was particulary impressed when playing Star Wars racer, when I cranked it up to max resolution and detail the game still played smoothly, the only problem was that the monitor was at a noticably lower refresh rate, still that was the fault of the monitor rather than the graphics card. The card works well in windows too, but then just about any would. The card only comes with t
he basic monitor out port, a TV-Out would have been nice for those DVD movies but then I suppose you can't get everything. The card costs only around £70-£80 so is set at the budget range of the 3D accelerators, but if you can live with not having the latest kit you can save yourself a lot of money, which would easily buy you something else to enhance your gaming experience, such as surround sound speakers and Soundblaster Live.