NVIDIA company has done a lot to maintain its status of leader in 3D graphics mainstream market. Here you can see what caused their success:
Today a flagship series of GPU from NVIDIA is GeForce2, that's why we present the list of products on this processors under sale once more, we'll just add to it a card on GeForce 256 DDR which remains still popular:
As you can see there is everything you might think of (note that NVIDIA produces GPU GeForce2 GO for mobile computer sector).
Video cards on GeForce2 Pro are equipped with a graphics processor with the core working at 200 MHz, that is alike as GeForce2 GTS, but these cards possess a faster DDR-memory that operates at 200 (400) MHz. But the main thing is that GeForce2 Pro based cards cost approx. $100 less than GeForce2 Ultra based cards. Besides, note that GeForce2 Pro can be installed in video cards with local memory size only of 64 MBytes (alike GeForce2 Ultra based cards, though).
Today we will talk about another GeForce2 Pro based card from Leadtek - WinFast GeForce2 Pro.
GeForce2 Pro based cards excel in having a faster memory as compared to their predecessors, what allows to play at higher resolutions. This means that 64 MBytes memory may be required by some games.
Leadtek WinFast GeForce2 Pro features:
Here the card itself:
The card is equipped with AGP2x/4x interface, 64 MBytes 5 ns DDR SDRAM located in 8 chips on the right side of PCB:
The chips of memory are produced by EliteMT and work at 200 (400) MHz. Note that sometimes specifications contain only effective clock speed of DDR memory, which are two times more. That is, if you read that DDR-memory frequency is 400 MHz, in fact it works at 200 MHz.
The card has a huge black radiator with a fan which is similar to that of Leadtek boards of GeForce2 family. Unfortunately, this powerful radiator is equipped with quite a weak fan as far as airthrough is concerned. It means that overclockability of GeForce2 GTS boards is not that good. The cooler lacks for a tachometer. Easy notice that Leadtek company used a reference design from NVIDIA when developing its card.
We should notice that, alike GeForce 256, the same chip which is installed on boards with different local memory types is marked differently. For example, GeForce 256 chip which is mounted on the boards with DDR-memory is marked as NVIDIA GeForce 256 DDR. In case of GeForce2 Pro it is the same: the same GeForce2 GTS chip, but with another marking. Perhaps, it has been done to bring in order in deliveries of GPU complete sets with memory chips to board manufacturers.
The board is of legacy lemon-yellow color. The PCB is equipped with a daughter board featuring a TV-out (Conexant BT869 chipset). Besides, the video card provides a blank space for a jack for digital monitors.
The card sells in a box of a usual Leadtek design that shows some crawler. Unlike GeForce2 GTS box, it has "Pro" and "64 MBytes" stickers:
The complete set includes a user's manual, S-Video extension cord, S-Video-to-RCA adapter and two 2 CDs with the following software:
In the box you can also find a sticker for you monitor in order to calibrate colors.
With this card we managed to make the graphics processor work at 230 MHz, and memory worked stable as high as at 480 MHz (effective) (!). It's practically a record in 200 MHz memory overclocking! That's why you can expect significant performance gain when at high frequency.
Installation and drivers
Now comes a practical part of our research, that starts as usual with the configuration system:
monitors: ViewSonic P810 (21") and ViewSonic P817 (21").
The card is supplied with a driver based on the NVIDIA reference driver 6.27 and a company utility WinFox which offers additional settings. Let's take a close look at this possibilities.
WinFox starts with a pictogram in a control panel at the bottom right which launches Setting&Option Manager:
The main items are "Advanced Tools" and an acceleration utility "Speed Runner":
The second (disabled in this case) item says that Leadtek has also set about a video card monitoring. Though, so far it has been realized only in one board on NVIDIA GeForce2 MX (it will be considered in the nearest time).
Further go color adjustment and screen settings:
WinFox helps to enter another interesting menu:
Here you can see both information panels...
...and humorous one, where you can set the time for a comic picture to appear on your desktop:
Besides, you can find there other helpful diagnostic utilities similar to the famous NOKIA Test:
The other settings which concern 3D-functions don't differ from those that included in Detonator3 drivers from NVIDIA.
As usual we will start with 2D-graphics. Again 2D quality of GeForce2 based video cards is perfect. And I can only state that all results of Leadtek WinFast GeForce2 Pro in 2D have achieved the same high level (there tells upon almost complete following the reference design from NVIDIA).
The following three games will help us estimate speed results of Leadtek WinFast GeForce2 Pro in 3D-graphics:
These tools are enough to assess video card performance when working via two main API. For you to compare we have included results of two more video cards: Creative 3D Blaster Annihilator2 Ultra based on GeForce2 Ultra (as the fastest accelerator for today) and ASUS AGP-V7700 Pro on GeForce2 Pro. Besides, we will show the performance enhancements of Leadtek WinFast GeForce2 Pro while overclocking in the following two cases: when increasing the frequency both of the chipset and the memory, and when increasing only memory working frequency.
Note that in 16-bit color mode in Expendable the GeForce2 Pro based boards are tight similar to their more expensive brothers on GeForce2 Ultra, and the performance of the both cards are limited by the CPU system performance. Only in Quake3 you can notice some speed decrease with the resolution going up. If in 16-bit color the graphics core frequency still matters (look at the differences between the performance of overclocked Leadtek WinFast GeForce2 Pro up to 200/480 MHz and its speed at 230/480 MHz), in 32-bit color there is the same bottleneck connected with the memory speed (its bandwidth). Change in graphics core frequency doesn't have much effect on speed increase. Interestingly that there is left not so much difference in 32-bit color between the cards on GeForce2 Pro overclocked and GeForce2 Ultra. It's very important considering that GeForce2 Ultra based cards cost more.
In general, the performance of Leadtek WinFast GeForce2 Pro video card is quite high and it should satisfy the most cool gamers.
Note that when working at irregular frequencies (in overclocking mode) the card from Leadtek worked with minimum extra cooling (there was only one additional fan in the case). Of cause I can't generalize the results in overclocking this certain card on all GeForce2 Pro based boards.
Judging by the provided performance results of GeForce2 Pro (out of overclocking) the whole speed increase, comparatively GeForce2 GTS, was achieved thanks to the faster memory. In case the memory works at irregular frequencies, the performance gain gets much more.
So, the card Leadtek WinFast GeForce2 Pro showed perfect results as far as performance is concerned. The game possibility is acceptable at practically all resolutions, and even at 1600X1200X32 you can play some single player games. And for all these things a customer pays much less (today you can save as much as $100) than for a GeForce2 Ultra based board.
As the experience show, the memory that is installed in such boards features quite promising overclockability. And it allows achieving a GeForce2-Ultra-board-performance level when working at irregular frequencies.
We were informed that memory modules different from those of EliteMT wouldn't be installed on video cards of such class, that's why you may be sure in good overclockability of the GeForce2 Pro based cards.
On the whole, the card Leadtek WinFast GeForce2 Pro is a bright member of GPU second generation family from NVIDIA, and it takes the first place at the ratio "price/performance" among all modern 3D accelerators.
Write a comment below. No registration needed!