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Posted: September 26, 2000
Written by: Tuan "Solace" Nguyen
Welcome back to another fine GeForce2 MX review. Today weíll be taking a look at Leadtekís WinFast GeForce2 MX which stands out from the crowd in a few ways. But weíll get to the features shortly. For now, letís get you primed on some of the technical aspects of NVIDIAís brutally cheap yet punchy GPU. Some of the following information will be redundant from our ASUS V7100T MX review so if youíve read that, you can skip ahead. If not, please read our backgrounder ahead.
Almost everyone knows that the GeForce2 GTS is NVIDIAís flagship GPU (other than the GeForce2 Ultra that isnít available in stores yet) and thus would be the best performing. But what about the GeForce2? Is it simply a value version of the GTS? Or is there something more? Or rather, less?
The MX is still based on the GeForce2 care and share 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 the Leadtek WinFast GeForce2 MX and examine what makes this card different from the rest.
Right up front, youíll see that the WinFast MX is large. Itís the same size as the GTS cards. Other MX cards are about half the size of this one and for good reason; they donít require all the extra circuitry. So why is this card so big? First of all Leadtek could have incorporated the video out circuitry right onboard but decided to use the reference connector module.
The front side (click on the image to view an actual size snapshot):
Other noticeable differences that set the WinFast MX apart from the rest of the reference folks is the inclusion of a HSF or heatsink-fan combo. Previously, all MX cards only came with a passive heatsink but the WinFast MX takes the high road and gives you some extra cooling measures to back you up when you get that MHz itch.
The back side (click on the image to view an actual size snapshot):
There really isnít anything special about the back. Youíll notice that there are no RAM chips on the back like GTS cards. If you didnít know that, then the regular GeForce2 GTS cards have RAM modules on the back. Do you see that missing chip spot on the card? Letís take a closer look.