Today we are reviewing the VisionTek Geforce2 GTS 64meg video card. If you are a regular visitor of this site, you will already know that we here at the OCA look for 2 things when it comes to our hardware. Price and Performance. Pricing preferably low, and performance of course, high. The main thing that caught my eye when I was looking at this card was the incredible low price. $299 Duckets. Considering many 32meg GTS2's and DDR boards are going for about the same, this is quite a steal. We are talking cream of the crop, as good as it possibly gets as of the time of this review. For only $299 smackers. Good stuff.
Street Price:?? Have not seen this card in retail stores. $299.00 on pricewatch OEM. Manufacturer: VisionTek www.visiontek.com
Reviewed: August 2000
Introduction: Today we are reviewing the VisionTek Geforce2 GTS 64meg video card. If you are a regular visitor of this site, you will already know that we here at the OCA look for 2 things when it comes to our hardware. Price and Performance. Pricing preferably low, and performance of course, high. The main thing that caught my eye when I was looking at this card was the incredible low price. $299 Duckets. Considering many 32meg GTS2's and DDR boards are going for about the same, this is quite a steal. We are talking cream of the crop, as good as it possibly gets as of the time of this review. For only $299 smackers. Good stuff.
Overview: I have not even heard of VisionTek until very recently, so I cannot give anyone an opinion on how I feel about them. But I do know one thing. They are making cheap/quality cards, at least from what I can tell. And my guess is that this is a good thing. Now the card we are reviewing here today is the "Plain Jane" vanilla GTS2. There are no frills whatsoever to be found on this card. But I'll be honest with you peeps. Who the hell uses video out? Yes, it is a novelty to play around with when you first get a card with that capability, but after the novelty wears thin, (very soon in my case) there is just no use for it. So I have relegated myself to buying a card that is going to produce the best quality graphics, and the fastest framerates for the lowest price. And again, this is where the VisionTek seems to excel.
The next thing I noticed was the heatsink/fan combo that came installed on the card. I think it is a pretty standard unit and I have seen similar units on different models and brands of cards. However, I could not wait to pull it off and install a respectable unit to cool down this chipset, as seen below.
Here you see the "ASpeed" heatsink and fan unit that I purchased at our local computer shop Intrex. We have had good dealings with these folks so if you are in the Raleigh/Durham NC area, please stop in and tell em the OCA Junkies sent ya. I am actually impressed with this unit as it was only $5.99 and seems to be a pretty solid piece. It's no Alpha by any means, but then again, it didn't cost me $30 bones either. Also, you see the original unit sitting below the card. I wanted to give you peeps a representation of what the the differences were here. The stock unit was mounted with the same Crappy glue that I have seen on a lot of cards and I believe it may have been more of a hindrance than a help to cooling the chipset.
The card itself came in the mail as plain as it gets. Plain brown box, plain old static bag, nothing exciting about it. No big deal. The card did not even come with drivers, again no biggie, since Nvidia is VERY good about keeping their drivers up-to-date. Infact the 6.18's were coming out while I was doing this review, but for stability and integrity purposes, I chose to stay with the 5.32's. I may go back later and compare what differences we see between the two. The 6.11's were just too buggy for me to even consider. Here a few quick snaps of the video properties that i'm sure a lot of you see on a daily basis.
Geforce GTS2 Properties Screen. Notice the 64meg onboard memory. Now that is sweet.
Chip Frequency Properties. These are default Core and Memory settings that are made available by a nifty little registry hack called CoolBits. Can't live without it. Thanks go's to Christopher Hill who maintains the Geforce FAQ page.
Ok, that is about all i'm going to cover as far as the properties of the card and drivers. Most of you are very familiar with these by now, and even the "non-Geforce" owners know all this stuff just from the gazillion reviews posted among the web.
Technical Specs and Features:
8 Texels Per Clock with Hypertexels
2nd-generation Transform & Lighting engines
256-bit graphics architecture
Double Data Rate (DDR) Memory
AGP 4X with Fast Writes
Cube Environment Mapping
DirectX Texture Compression
Order Independent Full Scene
1000+ Mtexels Fill Rate
20+ Mtriangles/sec through T&L and setup
5GB+/sec Memory Bandwidth
Maximum 3D/2D resolution of 2048 x 1536 @ 75Hz
Complete DirectX 7, DirectX 6 and DirectX 5 support
NVIDIA Unified Driver Architecture
Industry's First fully 1.2 compliant professional OpenGL support for Linux
Integrated 720p, 1080i HDTV Playback
WHQL-certified Windows 2000, Windows NT4, Windows 3.5, Windows 98 and Windows 95
Visually Stunning Interactive 3D
Optimized Direct 3D and OpenGL acceleration
Complete DirectX 7, DirectX 6 and DirectX 5 support
256-bit graphics engine
8 texture-mapped, filtered, lit texels per clock cycle
Single pass multi-texturing
32-bit Z/stencil buffer (floating point or integer)
Anti-aliasing: full scene, order independent
32-bit ARGB rendering with destination alpha
High Quality Texture Filtering, including Anisotropic
Advanced per-pixel, perspective-correct texturing
Cube environment mapping
Multi-texture and multi-pass
Per-pixel bump mapping
BRDF support: bi-directional reflectance distribution functions
DX6 texture compression
Fog and depth cueing
Radial or linear
Per-vertex or per-pixel
Ok, I wanted to get the technical jargon out of the way first, there are a few more specs posted on the VisionTek home site, but I figured I have bored you guys enough with this. Like I said previously here. We are looking for a cheap card that performs well, and we will give you a good impression on how that pans out by the end of the article.
Also of noteworthy cementation. VisionTek does state that they have a full 3-year warranty on all their video products. Now whether this holds true for OEM products i'm not sure. However since OEM is all they seem to deal in primarily, we may be in luck. I know one thing for sure. Do not try to contact INTEL if you have burned up your chip and you purchased it as OEM. Another of our resident reviewers, Bustercaps tried this and basically got the DOOR slammed shut in his face.
Another thing that did impress me about VisionTek is they have direct linkage on their site to the most current "Sanctioned" Detonator Drivers. Good stuff.
Alright...lets get on with the Benchmarking of this bad boy.
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