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Review: Hercules 3D Prophet II MX (Page 1/5)


Posted: November 2, 2000
Written by: Tuan "Solace" Nguyen

Introduction

Okay, Iím wondering when all the Ultraís are going to start rolling out so I can GET SOME! Anyhow, today weíve got another fantastic review for you and itís another Hercules board.

If youíve never heard of Hercules, it was known for extreme performance and quality in its products. This was back in the NVIDIA TNT and TNT2 days... Now Guillemot Corporation, who also produces other products relating to multimedia, owns Hercules.

So are the Hercules boards still stellar and do they still offer high performance with high quality? Of course they do! Letís take a look at Herculesí latest offering for budget-minded gamers, the 3D Prophet II MX.

GeForce2 MX

If you havenít read our reviews on the Leadtek WinFast MX, ASUS V7100 MX, and the Elsa Gladiac MX, please read them now as they contain important background information on the GeForce2 MX. Before we continue, please, keep in mind that since all three MX reviews (including this one) are basically the same, they will naturally contain redundant information for specifications and features. So please keep that in mind before flaming my inbox. I mean, even that sentence was redundant.

Architecture

The MX is still based on the GeForce2 chip and 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 difference between DDR and SDR is that SDR sends information on only the rising point of each clock cycle and DDR sends data on both the rising and falling peaks. This effectively gives you a double performance improvement in memory bandwidth.

Letís take a look at what Hercules has to offer in its incarnate of the MX.

The Card

The first thing youíll notice about MX cards compared to GTS cards is the size of the cards. The MX is substantially smaller than the GTS and most MX cards come only with a passive heatsink onboard. Passive means that there is no fan attached to the heatsink. Hercules is now well known for differentiating itself from the crowd in terms of how its boards look. Have you ever seen an aqua color video card before? I have, and they are all Hercules boards.

The front side (click on the image to view an actual size snapshot):



For some reason the card we received only had VGA out and is really bare bones. Thereís a nice big fat blue heatsink on it but this time there were no RAM-sinks. A barebones card from Hercules? *gasp*

The back side (click on the image to view an actual size snapshot):



Thereís really nothing special about the back side of the card. I donít even know why I took a picture of it. Itís just like every other GeForce2 MX card. I guess itís the blue color. What do you think?

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