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Nvidia GeForce2 MX400

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    2 Reviews
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    • More +
      26.08.2010 16:53
      Very helpful



      Give a bit of life to your old computers

      It's quite a while now since new PCs would have been expected to have had their graphics card seated in an AGP slot, even if some of we grizzled old-timers can remember when they were whizz-bang new technology. However, if you're doing up an older machine, or if like me you keep an old PC as a backup just in case, and don't quite have the nerve to chuck it out or stick it in the small ads, then you still might benefit from finding a half-decent one. And such a one is the GeForce2 MX. Well, it is if you get the right version - ie the one I'm reviewing here! - otherwise you might just come to regret it.

      There were a number of special editions available, usually with showcase game demos, coloured boards and other minor variations in the go-faster stripes mould. Some of them also came with DVD decoder programs, though you shouldn't expect miracles, especially if your PC has a CPU slower than about 400 MHz. The really important thing to know, though, is that the MX came in four major variants: you could have either 32 MB or 64 MB of memory onboard, and you could have those in either MX 200 or MX 400 form. The one you want is the 400: in fact, even the 32 MB version of this will generally outperform a 64 MB 200, though of course a 64 MB 400 is the best choice.

      As I have found with my trusty old IBM 300PL, one of the other attractions of this graphics card is that it was one of the few really useful ones that was made in any great numbers in a low-profile form factor, allowing it to fit into the less than full-height space allowed for it by the IBM's architecture. Considering that the card which came with the IBM was a Savage4, not perhaps the worst graphics card ever sold but a very long way indeed from being the best, this was a tremendous boost to me when I was doing up the old machine. Replacing it with an MX400 absolutely transformed the machine's game-playing ability, no doubt about that.

      Fitting the card was straightforward, although it did help that despite that low-profile socket the IBM is a tank of a machine with a nice big case to work inside. The computer was running Mandriva 2008 or so at the time (perhaps not the best choice for a slow PC, but I didn't really know any better then) and apart from having to reboot once or twice, I had no difficulty in getting it recognised by the operating system. Windows 98SE, with which I was dual-booting, required a bit more messing around, including downloading drivers from one of those irritating driver database websites, but did work very nicely in the end.

      And so on to games. Naturally you're not going to be running Crysis on a card like this, at least not unless you're one of the "because it's there" crowd who enjoy seeing how slowly they can make their software run! However, almost any game published up to about a couple of years after this card's 2001 release works nice and smoothly on my 533 MHz machine at the then-popular 800x600 resolution, and indeed many games are perfectly playable at 1024x768 if you don't get too greedy with the detail settings. For example, Midtown Madness 2, quite a demanding game for its vintage, is very enjoyable, and Mercedes-Benz Truck Racing (does anyone other than me still have that?) is quite acceptable even at 1024x768.

      In its day (admittedly some years ago now) this was one of the foremost budget graphics cards, being relatively cheap yet powerful enough to play most games. The crucial point for those seeking one out now is that these things were churned out in their absolute millions, and that means that they are very easy indeed to pick up second-hand today. Even after sifting out the inevitable dodgy examples you always find on eBay, you shouldn't have a great deal of trouble in finding one for well under ten pounds, which is a blessed relief compared to some of the overpriced "rare classic" stuff that people try to palm off on unsuspecting enthusiasts. If you have an old PC with an AGP slot, one of these can bring quite a few nice older games within reasonable reach.

      [Question: why are there *two* sub-ratings for "Installation"?]


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      • More +
        28.06.2005 13:56



        This is a card that deffinitly is not worth to spend money on atm.
        IT had its time in the early years like 2 years ago , then this was considered a good
        card , but now you have much better cards with a difference value of 30-40$
        so its better to spend it on them .

        Let´s start with the MX200 the slowest and cheapest of the two new additions to the MX series . The MX200 has the exact same 175MHz core clock, 166MHz memory clock and fill rates as the original GF2 MX. The difference has to be found in the slower 64bit SDR memory data bus and the even more limited 1.35Gb/s memory bandwith. So they made another one .. the MX400 .. the clockspeed has been increased from 175MHz to 200MHz. the fill rates have been increased fromm 350 Mpixels/sec and 700 Mtexels/sec to 400 Mpixels/sec and 800 Mtexels/sec but .. the bandwith is still the same which .. acually is important for most people .

        but hey , if your not a pc gamer and just use your pc for limited stuff like office , windows media player and chatting this is enough to buy if your old one breaks.
        I bought it also because my old one broke , was quite allright until i started gaming .
        So its a big nono for the gamers today


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