Street Price: $349 Retail and up! Manufacturer: Hercules Website is http://www.hercules.com/ Availability: Now in many stores, and on-line. Reviewed: June 2000
More Benchmarks: Ok, here is something I have not seen much on the web, but thought it would be a good demonstration of how these 2 cards ran on an officially sanctioned Quake3 map. What I'm talking about is the NV15 demo/map that can be found on Nvidia's home site right here. I'm here to tell ya, this map is a Ballbuster!
Yes yes, I know. You are wondering, Holy CRIPES!! the GTS2 is being matched by the lowly 3d Prophet SE?? No friggin' way!! Well....YES WAY, this is what we are seeing at fastest and normal display settings. However, soon after that, with the HQ and higher resolutions, we see the GTS2 pull far ahead, again, nearly doubling the framerates of the 3d Prophet SE at 1280x1024 and 1600x1200.
Visual Quality: I wanted to post just a couple of pics from Q3 here. Here I am showing you the tab where you enable FSAA (full screen antialiasing).
Would you know which was wich if I hadn't told you?? Probably not. I honestly could not tell the difference while playing whether FSAA was enabled. Lets see what happens when we benchmark Q3 in demo1 with and without FSAA enabled.
Quake3 Demo2 High Quality
A few comments here. Does the Geforce GTS2 boast Full Screen Antialiasing?? Yes. Does it perform this at the cost of framerates and playability?? Well, I will leave that for you peeps to decide. It is obvious the scores take a severe dive when FSAA is enabled. Honestly anything below 60fps is slowing you down. I benched at what I believe to be the 3 most common resolutions. We are just seeing too big of a performance hit at this point to actually justify the use of FSAA. Maybe it is just ahead of it's time for this hardware. Maybe with the release of the next NVIDIA chipset will bring with it more horsepower in order to run FSAA without such a drastic loss of performance.
Overclocking?? Yes....this is something we do here at the OCA. While we cannot officially condone the act of Overclocking say, a video card or processor, we gotta wonder who can buy a shinny new item like that and not push it to, and well beyond it's limits?? So lets cut the crap and get down to BIZ!! I was able to run Q3 looped and 3dmark looped with no screen artifacts or lockups at all, at what your seeing here below.
Now this is by no means a revolutionary leap in the overclocking department, but it's nothing to snuff at either. I am actually pretty impressed with these results. I have basically been able to push the core clock up 13% and the memory clock up 20% in speed. This is not bad, considering this card is already ballbusting fast!! I have read some other reviews where this card was not very overclockable, and personally I would not run it overclocked, but we have proven there is some leeway here if you really want to get your hands dirty and play around a bit. Also, just for the record, I tried 220mhz core clock and she locked up on me tight.
Conclusions: The Hercules GTS2 32meg is a product that I can whole heartedly recommend to anyone to have in their box. Lets face it, this is a badass card and will let you rip through Quake3, 3dMark and just about any other D3d or OpenGL application on the market at blinding speeds. And isn't this what we all want out of life?? Yesh, I think so. However, this performance comes at quite a cost. We are talking $350 smackers of your hard earned Duckets for this baby. Now this sets me to thinkin'. $350???? That's alot of jack!! I could get a nice car stereo, A 27" television or even a new 19" friggin' monitor, with some pocket cash leftover!!! Infact, my homedog passed up a 19" monitor in order to get this baby. Maybe he is smoking crack, but he is definitely smoking me in framerates!! But he is also squinting a little harder to see that ol' 17" monitor. Oh YES! I do love this videocard nevertheless and believe this to be a high quality item, I'm just not sure if I would be willing to part with that kinda cash to get it.
Beautiful blue PCB
Excellent Driver support
Inadequate FSAA support
Very small stock cooling fan
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