In the Forums...
Posted: May 8, 2001
Written by: Tuan "Solace" Nguyen
If youíve taken a look at my review of the Leadtek WinFast GeForce3 TD, youíll know that I mentioned cleaning my desktop to make way for a slew of GeForce3 cards coming in. After a good day at school studying for finals, I come into the office only to find my clean desk being home to a huge box with ďASUSĒ written on it. Itís the time of the year again, when manufacturers start dishing out graphics cards from left and right.
Coming in two short weeks, is the Electronic Entertainment Expo, or E3. Every year, E3 is hosts a gigantic show where manufacturers and developers gather to strut their stuff. So it wonít be just graphics cards that will be showcased, there will be other interesting things too. However, itís my guess that some manufacturers will have ďultraĒ versions of their GeForce3 offerings. What I mean by ďultraĒ isnít a new GeForce3 revision, but rather extra features.
Asus happens to be my prime example of a company always adding extra features into its video cards. I never had the chances to review the Asus V7700 Deluxe but today Iíll get a chance to examine a deluxe version of Asusí new V8200. Asus usually introduces two flavors to its graphics cards of the same series. For instance, there should be two shipping versions of the V8200. One will have all the bells and whistles while the other one coming in basic with a lower price tag.
Just to bring something up and clarify, I did confirm that the memory on the Leadtek GeForce3 is indeed running at 3.8ns instead of the 4ns I was told. On Leadtekís website, it also says 4ns but I recently spoke to Leadtek and they said they have newer board revisions that contain the faster memory and those will be the ones that are sold in stores.
I contacted Asus and confirmed that it also uses 3.8ns rated DDR RAM on its V8200. It seems that 3.8ns grade DDR modules will be the modules of choice for manufacturers everywhere. I donít have a 4ns board on my hands to test whether 3.8ns modules give extra overclocking headroom.
As far as base technology goes, the V8200 is the same as every other GeForce3 card but it is physically different. Asus chose to go with its own design in terms of board layout. I notice everything seems to be more tightly packed together, thus shortening trace lengths and improving signals. But when it all boils down it, the heart and soul of the V8200 Deluxe is the GeForce3 GPU, offering the following main features:
Fully programmable pixel shader: Ability to program features and functions directly into the GeForce3 GPU
LightSpeed Memory architecture: Removes memory bottleneck
Crossbar memory controller: Uses 4 independent memory controllers instead of GeForce2ís 1 controller
Quincunx Anti Aliasing: Better than 4X FSAA with only 2X performance hit
And Z-Occlusion Culling: Ability to render only those polygons that are seen from the viewer (hidden surface removal)
Iím keeping all the technical aspects of the GeForce3 simple so I donít have to repeat myself for 2 pages in every GeForce3 review I do. So if you want, please read our GeForce3 Technology Preview and our GeForce3 Vertex and Pixel Shading articles to find out more about what goes on behind the scenes in NVIDIAís GeForce3.
All that out of the way, Iíll be taking a look now at whether all the bells and whistles that Asus packs into the Deluxe justify its price or whether they just bloat your card and but your wallet on a diet.