iXBT Labs - Computer Hardware in Detail






October'2001 3Digest:
NVIDIA GeForce2 MX 16 MBytes AGP

By Andrey Vorobiev

This chip is presented by ASUS AGP-V7100/16 16 MBytes AGP:


  • NVIDIA GeForce2 MX chip, 175 MHz clock rate;
  • 16 MBytes SDR SDRAM memory in 2 Hyundai 6ns microchips, 166 (333) MHz clock rate , 64-bit bus;
  • Peak speed of scene drawing in multitexturing mode is 350 megapixels/sec and 700 megatexels/sec.

Wasn't overclocked.

After the release of GeForce256 cards, NVIDIA representatives have began to understand that following releases wouldn't replace previous cards due to the short period between the new releases. Therefore it has been decided to build a so-called 'ladder' of the market niches, so that every accelerator would have belonged to one of them according its price and perfomance. The release of GeForce2 GTS has been marked by a much higher price for them than for any other of the previous cards. It has been meant that a cheap solution named GeForce2 MX would follow the release of more expensive variants to occupy a low cost niche and to replace more expensive and less faster GeForce256 cards. So, the Summer'2000 has brought us GeForce2 MX that is still very popular today. But this exact model has no chances to become popular. The reasons are described below.

For the 20th of October'2001 the latest drivers from NVIDIA are 15.50, 20.80, 21.83 and 21.85.

Due to the fact that prices for these cards have lowered below $80, and due to test platform changes this card was tested on several testbeds.

ATTENTION READERS! Note that this card differs greatly from many other card manufactured in both 16/32 MBytes variants. First of all it has 64-bit bus, you can see from the photo that PCB design remained the same, it just lacks two memory chips, BIOS has been changed and that's all. Having in mind that 128-bit bus must "coincide" with no less than 4 memory chips due to PCB design, halving memory chips also halves the bus, and that leads to catastrophic results. You can see that this card was outrun not only by NVIDIA GeForce256/GeForce2 MX cards, but also NVIDIA Riva TNT2 cards! E.g. it loses more than twice to 32 MBytes variant in some resolutions. And the price is only a bit lower. You should also note that the graphic chip is the same as in 32 MBytes variant, unlike NVIDIA Riva TNT2M64 comparing to Riva TNT2, for example:

Memory bandwidth cuts all GeForce2 MX advantages, so the 16 MBytes variant has existed long before the appearance of GeForce2 MX200 cards. Moreover there are 32 MBytes variant specifications on the product box including 2.7 MBytes/sec bandwidth and that's a blatant lie. There's just a "16Mb" sticker on the box and no other info. I don't advise anyone to buy such cards if you want to get some "power" from your purchase.

I want readers to note 7.16, 7.17 version drivers, they are just "raw" and can't functions properly even on beta level. Direct3D games show big speed falloff along with lots of visual artefacts. 6.66, 6.67 and 12.41 WHQL versions are shipped with NVCPL.DLL that "doesn't know magic Coolbits variable" that makes it impossible to tune frequencies and VSync for D3D in the display settings. As we began to use S3TC in this digest, 12.60 drivers are presented twice: with and without S3TC. And the situation with the latest drivers is rather strange, though 14.* versions demonstrated higher perfomance, however some resolutions were disabled. This doesn't concern 21.* drivers that demonstrated that optimization can speed up even such "castrate".

I shall mark that overlay settings tab is disabled in a number of 14.* versions. It may be enabled with RivaTuner utility.

Perfomance falloff in Serious Sam was caused by strict 100% usage of 32-bit color in the Quality mode, and before we have used the default Quality settings and not all effects have been actually 32-bit.

3D quality is the same as on 32 MBytes variant, so you should look for some screenshots in the regarding article.

2D quality is very good. Soaping effects can be seen only on some low-quality monitors in 1600x1200. But there are some low-quality cards present that cause soaping effects 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.

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