Elsa – Erazor III Pro 3D review

AGP nVidia Riva TNT2 2D/3D card
Photo of Elsa – Erazor III Pro 3D
£159.99

Two versions of Elsa’s Erazor III Pro 3D graphics card are available; one with video in and out capabilities and one without. We’ve reviewed the former, though it ought to be noted that the latter is £50 cheaper. Both have 32MB of SDRAM, meaning they can cope with the most demanding screen modes. They are both based on the familiar and respected nVidia TNT2 128 3D graphics processor, which earns its ‘Pro’ tag by being over-clocked. This also means the chip requires a compact cooling fan. The Pro is not to be confused with the slightly different ‘Ultra’ variant, which is more expensive and slightly faster.

It’s possible to find examples of video cards using nVidia’s more powerful new top of the range GeForce 256 chip for around the price of the Erazor III Pro, so how does Elsa justify its pricing? The card itself performs well – on a par with many TNT Ultra-based cards. It’s also compatible with Elsa’s unique 3D Revelator glasses. But key to the III Pro’s price is its software bundle which comprises Corel Draw 7 Select edition (Draw 7 and PhotoPaint 7), the Need for Speed IV car racing game, a CD of 3D game demos and Elsa’s own MainActor video editing suite. The card also sports a six year hardware warranty.

Composite video I/O is provided via a proprietary 15-pin D-connector which accommodates an adapter cable. This sprouts five short leads – in and out S-video leads, two composite video in leads and one composite video out lead. That’s a generous selection of options, meaning you can connect up to three video sources and switch between them as required. The Elsa MainActor editing software is basic but adequate for simple video clips. Corel Draw 7 is two versions away from the current version 9, but a useful inclusion and reasonably valuable when you consider that the full version 9 retails for around £300.

Our review card was missing a DVD movie player, but Elsa assured us that only very early releases of the Erazor III Pro were without the player. It’s available separately for a nominal cost, anyway. On the plus side, the supplied documentation is above average, despite some slightly odd effects of translation from Elsa’s native German.

Company: Elsa

Contact: 08000 563 445


Verdict
The Erazor III Pro is a very capable TNT2 graphics card in its video-enabled version it's definitely a handy video clip editing tool. We think there could be some pressure on the price, so watch out for special offers from retailers - and make sure yours includes the DVD player.