iXBT Labs - Computer Hardware in Detail






March 2002 3Digest - NVIDIA GeForce2 MX 32 MBytes 5ns AGP

By Andrey Vorobiev

This chip is presented by Leadtek WinFast GeForce2 MX SH Pro 32 MBytes, AGP videocard.


  • NVIDIA GeForce2 MX chip, 175 MHz clock rate;
  • 32 MBytes SDR SDRAM memory in four EtronTech 5ns microchips, 200 MHz clock rate , 128-bit bus;
  • Peak fill rate in the multitexturing mode is 350 megapixels/sec and 700 megatexels/sec.

Wasn't overclocked.

Already in 1999 3D accelerator brands understood that it's unprofitable to release only one top model as it would cost much, and to reduce its price to the mainstream level ($100-150) means deprive yourself of superprofits. Therefore they decided to release a whole line of products with different capabilities and prices. After the release of GeForce2 GTS in the spring of the year 2000 for about $350 in the beginning, it as necessary to release something new for the mainstream market as well. So the summer brought GeForce2 MX, being a pared-down GeForce2 GTS. We've written many reviews about these cards, and everybody can find them in the video section.

Memory was the most vulnerable part of the new product. Despite relatively high chip clock rates (175 MHz) it was supplied with 166 MHz memory, slowing it down. So a number of manufacturers, wishing to stand out, began to release "improved" versions of such cards, supplying them with fater memory (despite NVIDIA didn't approve it at all, as it was unprofitable to get the perfomance of GeForce2 MX close to that of GeForce2 GTS). Leadtek was one of the first companies to release such "improved" cards. However, the after NVIDIA's indignation Leadtek engineers were forced to reduce the clock rate back to 166 MHz. So...

WARNING! GeForce2 MX/MX400 cards with the 5ns and faster memory can be clocked at standard clock rates and not at those nominal for such memory!

Now, after the release of GeForce4 MX and with GeForce2 Ti prices reduction, the destiny of GeForce2 MX cards is predetermined. We now see the price of these expensive 5ns models to be higher than that of GeForce2 Ti cards.

For the 10th of March 2002 the latest drivers from NVIDIA are 27.50, 27.70 for Windows 9x/ME and 27.50, 27.51, 27.70 for Windows XP. As the drivers differences are equal for all MX/MX400 cards, there's no sense in comparing drivers separately for each of these cards. See NVIDIA GeForce2 MX400 32 MBytes section for more information about drivers.

You can compare screenshots with reference ones (NVIDIA GeForce3).

Games / Cards 1 2 3 4 5 6

Games / Cards 7 8 9 10 11 12

Games / Cards 13 14 15 16 17 18
NVIDIA GeForce 2 MX -

Games / Cards 19 20 21 22 23 24
NVIDIA GeForce 2 MX - -

Games / Cards 25 26 27 28 29 30

Game list:

  • 1. Return to Castle Wolfenstein
  • 2. Unreal2 - for GeForce cards, Unreal - for all other
  • 3. Comanche4
  • 4. No One Lives Forever
  • 5. Serious Sam
  • 6. Colin McRAE Rally2
  • 7. Red Faction
  • 8. Rally Trophy
  • 9. Sacrifice
  • 10. Venom
  • 11. Need For Speed V (Porshe 2000)
  • 12. Real MYST
  • 13. Blade of Darkness
  • 14. Giants
  • 15. 3DMark2001: Game1
  • 16. 3DMark2001: Game2
  • 17. 3DMark2001: Game3
  • 18. 3DMark2001: Game4
  • 19. 3DMark2001: Dot3
  • 20. 3DMark2001: EMBM
  • 21. 3DMark2001: Vertex Shaders
  • 22. 3DMark2001: Pixel Shaders
  • 23. Black & White
  • 24. Undying
  • 25. Command and Conquer: Renegade
  • 26. Max Payne
  • 27. AquaNox
  • 28. Serious Sam II
  • 29. IL2: Shturmovik
  • 30. MoHAA

There are some games that require something more powerful than this card. Look at Rally Trophy screenshot - we've had to lower quality, but the game was very slow even at medium settings and disabled reflections.

I shall mark that these cards sometimes have Z-buffer working incorrectly in 32-bit mode when Z-buffer itself is 16-bit, what causes artefacts. Such problems were noticed on some games with Unreal Tournament engine. Thus I recommend you to use utilities like Riva Tuner for fine tuning, and pay attention to Direct3D settings of such games.

2D quality is excellent. Soaping effects can be seen only on some low-quality monitors in 1600x1200. But there are some low-quality cards present that give soaping effect on good monitors. And I shall mark that 6.* version drivers are not compatible with the software for sound cards based on Yamaha processor, as well as with SoftXG100 software synthesizer. Start or Close Window buttons can be spoiled by some "garbage" in 2D mode. So we recommend to look for the latest WDM drivers from Yamaha.

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