In the Forums...
Posted: August 4, 1999
Written by: Sangfroid
Estimated retail price: $139.99
Traditionally, no self-respecting gamer would buy a video card featuring TV-output. Usually the addition of TV output was tantamount to a company admitting that the rest of the product was deficient or feature lacking. This was coupled with the appalling performance of first generation attempts at TV output. My original Canopus Pure3d was an excellent video card, marred by sub-standard TV-Output. It produced a fuzzy, flickering image at a maximum 640x480 resolution. It was also buggy and a nightmare to set up.
Thankfully, the Winfast S320 II was a different matter altogether- On my 68-cm Sony Trinitron and using the S-Video connection adapter, the picture quality was outstanding. It doesn't offer anywhere near the clarity or the refresh rate of a large monitor, but one couldn't expect any more, on account of the obvious technological limitations of CRTs.
The question remains, however, why anybody would want TV-output in these days of mammoth monitors and ridiculous resolutions. Realistically, the only people who should pay for TV-Out are those with outrageously large televisions, or conversely, 14 inch 'fishbowl' monitors. Regardless of this, you shouldn't expect a gaming experience even close to what you would get from a decent 19 or 21 inch monitor. As you probable know, most TVs have a maximum resolution of 640x480 resolution at interlaced 60hz. Hardly the most impressive specifications. With monitor prices at an all time low, owners of small monitors should probably focus on getting a new screen rather than spending that little extra for a gimmicky extra like TV-Out.
Really, the fact of the matter is that almost all TNT 2s are identical, with the only differences being overclocking potential, default clock speed, drivers, support and software bundle. When deciding upon a TNT2 board, customers should really look towards price, as all the other differences are so negligible. Whilst not the most fully featured or particularly interesting card, the Winfast S320 II offers a competitive price and competent performance right across the board.
If you already own a TNT, the performance difference is noticeable, but not huge. Unless you have oodles of money (in which case you would buy a TNT2 Ultra), the move from TNT 1 or an SLI rig to a plain TNT2 just isn't worthwhile. However, if you are building a new system or upgrading from an obsolete card (Riva 128, Savage 3, Voodoo1) the TNT2 might be the right choice.
Voodoo3 3000 or TNT2? For most people, I would stick to the TNT2. If you are resolute that you need Glide support, the Voodoo3 is the ticket. People who use AMD systems should also stick to 3dfx products for the moment, as nVidia has almost no 3dNow! support and largely incompatible drivers for Via chipsets. The price issue should also be taken into consideration. However if you own an Intel based motherboard, want a cheaper solution, with better Open GL performance, 32 bit colour and AGP texturing, I would stick to the TNT2.