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3D Spotlight : Hardware : ASUS AGP V-3800 TNT2 review

ASUS AGP V-3800 TNT2 review
Posted by Julio Franco on May 7, 1999 - Page 3/6

Installation and First Impressions

I installed the V-3800 card after a Windows 98 Clean Install and I had no problems configuring the card, Windows just asked me for a disk with the drivers and that was it. ASUS also provided me with a little overclocking utility, it was a snap to overclock this card, the utility is slider based, I think you know what to expect (see the image below), it's very probable that ASUS will include this in the final product or maybe make it available through the net.

oc-it.gif (4838 bytes)

So... you want to overclock the card, right ?

As I said before the V-3800 comes default clocked at 125/150mhz which is the basic spec for the TNT2, I tried overclocking the card and I found that it ran very stable at 150/175mhz, apparently heat is no problem at this speed, notice that the card comes with a generous heatsink/fan combo.

I tried overclocking the card even further but the gain was minimal, I couldn't push the memory any higher and I got stucked at 165/175mhz, anything more would cause a lock-up.

Although the drivers I'm using with the card now aren't the ones that will come with the retail version, they are very stable, actually I had no problems with them, no random lock-ups or anything, consider that TNT2 drivers are very mature since they're based on the TNT1 Detonator drivers, you can even use these drivers on your TNT1 card and get a speed boost, this shows that there have been a lot of improvements in the software side of the things as well.

I think you know what to expect from Detonator drivers, Pentium III SSE extensions and AMD 3DNow! optimizations are included, NVIDIA is working in some new drivers with much better 3DNow! support though, remember that the K7 is going to use the same instructions.

drivers.gif (31389 bytes)

And of course, I just couldn't resist to mention the wonderful OpenGL ICD (the truth is that there are very few 3D chips out there with a non-beta OGL ICD), you don't have to worry about installing a MiniGL and putting it in the folder of the game you want to run or anything, just run the game and select OpenGL rendering.

I tried the TV-Out and I've to say it's one of the best I've ever seen, although you can't go higher than 800x600, the image quality was very nice for a TV, by the way, in case you were wondering, you can use the TV output and your CRT screen at the same time.

Along with the launch of the V-3800, ASUS is introducing the Virtual Reality Stereoscope. Designed in-house by ASUS and based on the H3D glasses, you'll notice the effect you get is pretty much like the one in the W3D eyeSCREAM. Although you can't adjust the size of the image, the glasses are big enough to satisfy most if not all of the users, they're a bit heavy though. ASUS is offering support for all Direct3D games, hopefully OpenGL games will be supported soon, anyway when I tried running some games using the glasses the computer hanged up, hopefully this will corrected in the drivers that will ship with the retail version of the card.

On the image quality, there isn't a lot to say about it... it's similar if not identical to the TNT1 which isn't bad, consider that now using 32bit rendering doesn't cost you as much performance as it did with the TNT, anyway the Matrox G200 chip is still the king in the visual quality arena.

Finally... speed. There is no doubt of it, the TNT2 is faster than the original TNT and I consider it a must upgrade for the hardcore gamer, features haven't changed at all but is raw speed what makes a difference between these chips, I'll let the benchmarks speak for me...

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