In the Forums...
Posted: November 19, 2000
Written by: Tuan "Solace" Nguyen
There are certain things in life that you just have to lay down a mountain of cash for... This is true if you want to purchase a luxury car to drive, or a nice house to live in. Thankfully, not everything in life requires tons of money to be enjoyed. Case in point, the NVIDIA GeForce2 MX.
The MX is still based on the GeForce2 card and it shares the same features as the GTS. However, the core speed of the GPU has been reduced from 200MHz to 175MHz. But thatís not where the reduction ends. The memory bandwidth has also been reduced. The original GTS cards uses DDR (Double Data Rate) SDRAM to help keep data flowing without congestion. With the MX series, NVIDIA has declared that they will use SDR (Single Data Rate) SDRAM. This dramatically reduces overall performance of board. The point of this guide is to bring back some of that performance to the GeForce2 MX.
The GeForce2 MX to the GTS is like the Duron to the Thunderbird and like Celeron to Pentium III. Does this mean that the MX is a poor performer? Far from it. People who have Celerons and Durons know first hand that their processors can wipe the floor clean along with the fastest processors out there.
Right now, the fastest card out there is the GeForce2 Ultra. It is the pinnacle of speed! For now at least. But are there really other alternatives for gamers on a budget? Or perhaps youíre not on a budget at all but youíre a person who spends your money to its fullest potential. Whatever the reason, there is no reason not to consider the GeForce2 MX. But if you're reading this guide, you probably already own a GeForce2 MX, right?
Letís take a look at our cardís specs, before we tweak it out:
0.18 micron manufacturing process
175MHz core clock
166MHz memory clock
2 pixels per clock cycle
350 Mpixels/s fill rate
4 texels per clock cycle
700 Mtexels/s fill rate
2.8 GB/s memory bandwidth
20 million triangles/sec
128-bit Single Data Rate (SDR) or 64-bit Double Data Rate (DDR) memory
Digital Vibrancy control
NVIDIA Shading Rasterizer (NSR)
High-Definition Video Processor (HDVP)
AGP 4X with Fast Writes
32-bit Z/stencil buffer
Cube environment mapping
DirectX and S3 texture compression
The most limiting factor of any GeForce2 MX card is the type of memory it uses -- low speed SDR (single data rate) SDRAM. The memory just doesnít have enough bandwidth to keep data flowing smoothly. The GeForce2 MX pumps too much information to be stuffed down an SDR pipeline. Since we now know that MX cards inherently use SDR SDRAM, weíre going to have to find another way to improve bandwidth. Thereís only one-way -- overclock the RAM.
Let's take a look at our card.