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Review: Hercules 3D Prophet 2 Ultra (Page 2/9)

Posted: December 1, 2000
Written by: Tuan "Solace" Nguyen


- NVIDIA GeForce2 Ultra GPU
- 256-bit graphics engine
- 250MHz core/230MHz memory clock (effectively 460MHz)
- 31 million triangles/sec
- 800 MPixels/sec fill rate
- 2 GTexels/sec fill rate
- 4 pixels per clock
- 1 GPixel/sec
- 8 texels per clock
- 7.4GB/sec Memory bandwidth
- Hardware Anti-Aliasing
- 32-bit colors, Z/stencil buffer
- Max Resolution 2048x1536
- Video Out via S-Video and Composite
- DVI Connection support
- AGP 2X/4X including fast writes and execute mode
- DirectX texture compression
- S3TC support
- Windows 9x/NT/2000 compatible
- 6 year warranty

Not too shabby with the specs huh? :) Check the core and memory speeds out -- 460MHz DDR SDRAM. Smoking! It might interest you to know that NVIDIAís specs call for 500MHz (230MHzx2) SDRAM, but Hercules clocks down the RAM just to make sure their card is nice and stable. Itís strange though because Hercules clocks its Prophet 2 MX higher than the standard specs. But considering that there are nice RAM-sinks on this card, itíll be able to handle some overclocking without too much effort. All you overclockers are probably rubbing your hands together right about now. I know I am.

Architecture and Improvements

If youíre expecting architectural improvements in the Ultra from the GTS, prepare to be disappointed because thatís not what the Ultra was intended to be. The Ultra is intended to be the card that eliminates the bottleneck that plagued the GeForce2 GTS -- memory bandwidth. It does this by equipping faster DDR SDRAM rated at smooth 4ns. Another thing that was improved upon was core speed. NVIDIA upped the ante to a speed 250MHz from 200MHz. This should keep everyone happy for a few more months.

2nd Generation Transform and Lighting

NVIDIA's introduction of the graphics processing unit (GPU) in the fall of 1999 freed the computationally intensive tasks of transform and lighting (T&L) from the confines of the CPU. The release of GeForce2 GTS and the second generation of hardware accelerated T&L made real time, high-polygon count scenes possible. Now, with the GeForce2 Ultra, NVIDIA takes transform and lighting to a higher level. With a triangle rate of 31 million triangles per second, the GeForce2 Ultra delivers the most stunning and realistic scenes ever seen on the PCÖ for now.

Geometrically complex worlds require exceptional processing speed. Under the power of GeForce2 Ultra, the T&L intensive application on the left runs faster than ever before. In addition, a scene's complexity can be doubled, as illustrated on the right -- without sacrificing quality. But speed was reduced though, but it was still viewable. Try this on even a GTS and youíre left lagging.

At first, it appears that the castle is a small element in this virtual world. But as you zoom in, you realize that the second generation T&L engines in GeForce2 GTS have rendered a fully detailed castle, complete with knotty wood doors and craggy rock walls. Check the following screens out.

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