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- AMD Unleashes Six-Core Desktop CPU
- WD Doubles Capacity of Fastest SATA Drive
- Nvidia Announces Blazing GeForce GTX 480, 470 GPUs
- SanDisk's SSD As Rapid As It Is Reliable
- OCZ Launches Limited-Edition SSD
News Archives


- July Entry-Level Gaming PC Guide
- PC Buyer's Guide for Gaming Enthusiasts
- SharkyExtreme.com: Interview with Microsoft's Dan Odell
- SharkyExtreme.com: Interview with ATI's Terry Makedon
- SharkyExtreme.com: Interview with Seagate's Joni Clark

Buyer's Guides

- February High-end Gaming PC Buyer's Guide
- November Value Gaming PC Buyer's Guide
- September Extreme Gaming PC Buyer's Guide


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  • Video Cards

  • There are four video cards in this roundup based on NVIDIA's GeForce2 MX core. The NVIDIA GeForce2 MX GPU uses a .18 micron process and clocks in at 175MHz. In reference form, it comes matched to 32MB of 166MHz SDR SDRAM via a 128-bit memory bus. This provides about 2.7GBps of theoretical peak memory bandwidth. The GeForce2 MX GPU can render two pixels per clock with up to two textures per pixel, which yields a 350Mpixels per second fill rate and a 700Mtexels per second texel rate. The ELSA GLADIAC MX, Leadtek WinFast GeForce2 MX, Hercules 3D Prophet II MX, and MSI MS-StarForce 816 cards all use the GeForce2 MX technology.

    The Hercules 3D Prophet II MX does set itself apart by using 183MHz SDR memory, giving itself an extra 17MHz memory clock and about .3GBps of memory bandwidth. The Leadtek WinFast MX sets itself apart with a dual-head TV output. This allows a second image to be displayed on a second TV display. The image can reflect what is on the primary display or have a completely separate image.

    All the NVIDIA GeForce2 cards have a feature called the NVIDIA Shading Rasterizer (NSR), which is essentially a programmable pixel shader. A programmable pixel shader allows developers to perform programmable per pixel shading effects in hardware. The most impressive per-pixel effect we have seen is per-pixel bump mapping, though we have yet to see a game we want to play that actually makes use of the NSR.

    The GeForce2 cards also include a hardware transformation and lighting engine. The MX card is capable of rendering a peak of about 20 million polygons per second. Hardware T&L can help render highly complex scenes and removes the burden of T&L calculations from the CPU. Many current games gain some benefit from hardware T&L, but few games gain a massive benefit and none we know of require hardware T&L. For a more in-depth look at the technology please refer to our GeForce2 MX Guide.

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