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Posted: May 30, 2000
Written by: Tuan "Solace" Nguyen
Last time we brought you an in-depth review of the Elsa Gladiac. This time around, we have the Hercules 3D Prophet II GTS.
Hercules is known for cutting edge graphics cards that are custom designed. For some reason, they seem to be about the only company that doesnít follow reference designs. Now, it can be debatable whether going with a reference design or designing your own layout is better. Thankfully with the GeForce 2 GTS, NVIDIA has done an excellent job of making the reference design, and we all know how well it performed from the Gladiac review.
A brief step back in time tells us that Hercules stomped on the competition with their Dynamite TNT 2 card. Then they slowly trailed off somewhere (well, you know this story) and now theyíre striking back, under ownership of Guillemot, with the 3D Prophet II GTS. There are plenty of things that make this card stand out from the competition. But first, letís start at with the basics.
By now, I am assuming that you have read about the GeForce 2 GTS, and know pretty much everything about it. But just incase you havenít been reading or are new to this, Iíll cover you too.
FedEx comes to the door, and delivers an unassuming white box with "FedEx" stamped all over it. "Probably some crap" I say to myself. But when I open it, the retail box of the 3D Prophet II sits snuggly inside. Itís anything but "crap"! Itís the best looking card out!
Hereís some snapshots of the board:
The front side (click on the image to view an actual size snapshot):
What is the first thing you notice about the card? The first thing I noticed was that itís an aqua color. Thatís a nice step away from the usual green PCBs I always see. The next things that pop at my eye are the odd looking RAM modules. Wait! Those are mini heatsinks! This is one feature that is truly appreciated. In theory, this should enable us to overclock the memory speed higher than the other cards. We didnít want to take off one of the heatsinks and even harm this masterpiece to check the RAM make, but since the memory specs are the same as the Gladiac (6ns DDR @ 166MHz) we will assume itís Infineonís memory. We will see if those heatsinks actually help leverage higher speeds or not.
The back side (click on the image to view an actual size snapshot):
Here we see the backside of the card and notice that the memory heatsinks are also implemented here. Here we also notice something thatís not on other GeForce 2 based cards -- that little chip on the top right of the card.
The Conexant chip is the video out decoding chip which outputs to your VCR or TV via S-Video or Composite. The 3D Prophet II has a S-Video out connector but includes an adapter to switch to Composite for those of us who do not have a S-Video compliant input device.
Speaking of all these neat features, letís take a look at the specs of the card.