If a graphics card were to be judged by appearances alone, the 3D Prophet II would be instantly idolised. It’s one cool looking card, from the subtle hue of the blue circuit board, to the bright electric blue heat sinks on the memory chips.
Yes, heat sinks on the memory chips, we kid ye not, not to mention the fan on the main GPU. This will get the overclockers out there excited, because in theory this means the card has extra potential for being clocked up. Such twiddling can cause instability though, and is not recommended unless you really know your graphics card onions.
Cool blue looks and overclocking potential aside, the GTS is the big brother of the GeForce graphics card. Like its sibling, the GTS boasts a video out port and 32MB of DDR memory.
It’s far faster though, and figures from Guillemot claim that it has a fill rate of 800 mega-pixels per second. GTS stands for Giga-Texel Shader, referring to the fact that the card can render over one and a half billion texels (texture cells) per second. These are impressive figures, and indeed our benchmarks showed that it is a speedy performer. It ran Quake 3 extremely fast, and on a mid-spec Pentium III the frame rates were very high.
Full Screen Anti-Aliasing (FSAA) has been introduced with the GTS 2, a process that smoothes out the jagged edges of an image, although the higher image quality does cause the frame rate to slow up a little. There has been some argument that 3Dfx’s FSAA is more effective than this and other Nvidia-based cards, but to be honest it’s difficult to notice any real difference.
The software bundle that comes with the card isn’t anything too special, although the inclusion of PowerDVD, an excellent software DVD player, is a smart move. The drivers are sadly just the Nvidia 5.16 reference drivers, with no customisation or real effort from Guillemot here.
Still, it’s the fastest card money can buy at the moment, although it will snaffle a fair chunk of your bank balance. If you’ve already got a GeForce board in your machine, you’re probably better off sticking with that for now and waiting for the meatier, 64MB (obscene, isn’t it?) cards to come out later this year.
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