Having built my own pc based around AMD's value for money Athlon 900 chip, I was disappointed with my Pc's 3d performance. Every magazine and website had recommended the Geforce 2MX card, which I had bought for £99. Benchmarking the card using 3DMark 2000 gave scores of 4300 and CPU scores of 437 (which seemed low for an Athlon 900). Some of the FPS games had poor frame rates and so probing with a diagnostics suite revealed that video bandwidth was kind of limited. Some research into the Geforce 2mx showed me that it is a "cut-down" 2GTS in that it has two render pipelines instead of four, and other modifications that reduce bandwidth from around 5 GB/s to 2 GB/s. The 2mx excels in lower resolutions, but anything over 900x600 and the bandwidth becomes a real limiting factor. I looked around at other cards, but all those Geforce 64mb cards were around £250-300, way too much money. A quick trip to Computer Exchange in Tottenham Court Road where I got £61 exchange value for my 2MX card. CEX had a couple of Geforce 2 GTS cards for £150 (second-hand but with 1 year warranty) so I got a card from Elsa, a Gladiac 32mb DDR Geforce 2 GTS. Complete with manual and driver discs, so no problems there. Installation was quick after formatting the C;drive and reinstalling windows (I always reinstall windows for a new graphics card). The ELSA winman diagnostics/tweak suite is useful, although with many settings you need to try one setting at a time before benchmarking. Also check out: www.download.com "Geforcetweak"application, great for setting up your Geforce 2 cards. Something I noticed straight away was a huge difference in framerates and texture stability in first person shooters. No more white lines between textures, no more glitches and sparkles. 3D MArk 2000 testing showed a new score of 6500 and better cpu score of 535. Quake III showed an improvement of 79 FPS in 1024 res c
ompared to 37 FPS for same settings on the Gefore 2mx card. The 2mx card does puts out a good frame rate as long as you don't set the resolution higher than 800x600. Something else to be aware of; you don't need anti-aliasing at higher resolutions so turn it off (because it eats video card performance). Games run at 1024x768 don't need anti-aliasing! Overall, well worth £50 more than the Geforce 2mx cards. Video bandwidth is doubled which you power gamers will delight in. 32mb texture handling is smooth and sweet. T&L is pretty much the same as for the 2mx card, but with extra bandwidth things run so much faster and smoother. Personally I don't think the 2mx should be so heavily pushed as a "gaming" solution, as it is in the computer magazines. Certainly it's great as a budget card, but for anyone running a PC with a CPU faster than 800mhz you'll get much better performance from a more capable graphics card. The 2mx and GTS cards both have 32mb of DDR (dual data rate) memory but on the 2mx cards this is wasted as the limited bandwidth means it cannot be used properly. As Geforce 3 has been announced check out Geforce 2GTS 32mb or even GTS 64mb which I'm sure you'll be able to find cheaper now that Geforce 3 is on the way. Unless you're running a 21" monitor you don't really need a 64mb card which will cost you another £100 on top of the £150 I paid for my GTS 32mb. Geforce 2GTS 32mb is highly recommended!!
There are a few factors that can make a PC run quickly and slowly and the video card is one of them. Having used NVidia based products for around 2 years now, from the faithful TNT to the TNT2 Ultra, the GeoForce was the next logical step. Since upgrading to this card I hadn't noticed too much difference to the games I was playing. That was until I turned up the screen resolution. Imagine running Quake 3 in 1600x1200 on a mere 600Mhz PC. Well, it is possible, thanks to the Gladiac. Producing some of the fastest and smoothest graphics you're likely to see, coupled with fantastic OpenGL support, you're not likely to find a better graphics card in this price bracket. The card comes in a low-priced 32Mb model (~£200) and a more expensive 64Mb version(~£300). At these prices, the Gladiac isn't restricted to hard-core gamers. But be warned, there is another price to pay. Firstly, it's not the best card out there. You'll find the Guilemot/Hercules model a slightly better performer - although you will have to pay more for the extra speed. Secondly, you'll need a fast PC, as after trying it on a Pentium 2 I was horrified at how much slower it was compared to the Pentium 3 I'm used to using. However, if you need a good solid graphics card and have the PC to cope with the GeoForce, then this card comes highly recommended.
What a card! I recently witnessed this card in action, and i have to say i was VERY impressed. Installation was a doddle, with the drivers working streaight out of the box, which makes a change! The card offers outstanding performance in all the games i tested it on, including quake3, UT and others all at high resolutions. The card is a little expensive but you do get value for money. The card runs very well in 2d mode aswell as 3d mode. Also an added bonus is the fact that elsa also have 3d glasses in thier product range which work with all of their cards, and when combining them with this card, wow! the speed and graphics are amazing! Overall i love this card!