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3D Spotlight : Hardware : Diamond Viper II Z200 review

Diamond Viper II Z200 review
Posted by Adam Klein on March 24, 2000
Company: Diamond     Product: Viper II Z200

Ever since S3 announced their Savage 2000 chip I have been curious as to how this chip would perform and look. I am lucky enough now to be able to see just how the Savage 2000 performs and looks with the Viper II.

Now that S3 has acquired Diamond, they have a lot of market push behind them. Instead of S3 just making the chips, they are now able to make the whole board and sell it under Diamonds very popular Viper name.

The Diamond Viper II Z200, with its Savage 2000 chip, is a 4th generation board sporting features like S3’s popular S3 texture compression, hardware transform and lighting, 32 MB of RAM and tremendously high fill rates. In fact, The Viper II has proven to have one of the highest fill rates around for a video board, but is it a true performer?

While in the past the Viper II wasn't originally planed to compete with NVIDIA’s GeForce boards, with its impressive performance it proves that it can indeed compete with the GeForce SDR line.

The Viper II can now be bought for as little as $140, making it a great deal for anyone who wants great performance without the high price. One question still stands, "Has S3's driver support got any better with the Savage 2000?"

This is one important question that remains on everyone’s mind that have previously owned an S3 based board, such as the Savage 3D and Savage 4. While S3 can claim that the board offer certain features and can deliver amazing graphics, that doesn't amount to anything if the drivers do not keep up.

The board is clocked at 125MHz for the core and 143MHz for the memory. The Diamond Viper II also has a very impressive feature and that is to be able to process four textures at once. The Savage 2000 is based on a .18 manufacturing process, but it still cannot run at high frequencies like previous chips could.

This is most likely due to the large amount of transistors needed for the chip. The Savage 2000 still runs very very cool. In fact, the board does not require a fan for the heatsink. With the Savage 2000's ability to process two pixels per clock and each one with dual texture engines, this makes it one of the fastest chips available. The GeForce 256 can process 4 pixels per clock, but does not have to dual texture engine like the Viper II has.

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