by July 31, 2000 0 comments
Asus AGP V7700
AGP graphics card. Rs 23,950
Features: 200 MHz clock speed; 25 million triangles/second; per-pixel shading; four rendering pipelines.
Pros: Excellent performance; gives high frame rates even at very high resolutions.
Cons: None.
Source: Zeta Technologies
A/2 Shriji Niketan, 541/D
Dr Ambedkar Road, Matunga (C Rly), Mumbai. 
Tel: 22-4102288 Fax: 4102277 

being a relatively unknown name less than two years ago, to being the leaders in
3D graphics chip technology, nVIDIA has come a long way since it launched the
original TNT. They followed it up with the TNT 2 and then the more powerful
GeForce. So when we received the Asus AGP V7700, which is based on the GeForce 2
GTS chipset–nVIDIA’s latest offering, we were itching to take it for a spin.

Before we get into how the card performed, let’s find out a
little more about what the latest GPU (Graphics Processing Unit) from nVIDIA has
to offer. The chip is clocked at 200 MHz as compared to 120 MHz of its sibling,
the GeForce256. The number of transistors has gone up to 25 million, and the die
size has been reduced, using the 0.18-micron technology.

Performance features have also gone up, with the chip’s
Transformation and Lighting engine being able to deliver 25 million lit polygons
to the screen per second. This is a massive jump over the 15 million triangles
per second of the earlier GeForce. It uses four parallel rendering pipelines,
each one of which can produce one pixel per clock, that can also be combined for
stuff such as multi-texturing. All this translates to finer graphics details
without compromising on speed.

But according to nVIDIA, the chip’s hottest feature is
per-pixel shading. Most games these days use a technique called Vertex Lighting,
where a pixel’s shading is calculated using the three vertices of the polygon
it’s located on. This is quick and simple, but doesn’t offer great quality,
especially for large polygons. Per-pixel shading allows the rendering to be more
accurate and thus the overall image is of higher quality.

Now, let’s take a look at the card and how it performed in
our tests.

The Asus card with the GeForce2 GTS comes with 32 MB RAM and
includes support for multiple-buffering, vertical refresh rates ranging from 60
Hz to a whopping 240 Hz, and screen resolutions up to 2,048×1,536 (at a refresh
rate of
75 Hz), along with AGP 4x with fast writes for faster data transfers.

The card also has a decent set of drivers, utilities, and
other software. It’s plug-n-play, and has drivers for Win 98/NT/2000, some
motherboards, and DirectX 7. All this is well supported by a detailed manual.
Utilities included are Asus SmartDoctor for monitoring your card’s health, and
Asus Tweak Utility to overclock your card. Also included are AsusDVD 2000–a
multiple file format player, and two complete games–Drakan and Rollcage, and
demos of 12 other games.

As there aren’t too many cards available in the Indian
market with this GPU, we used the Creative GeForce256, which uses the first
GeForce chipset, as reference. We ran Quake III Arena, 3D Winbench 2000, and
3DMark99 Max on them. The performance boost provided with the new GPU was
clearly visible. In the Quake III tests, the Creative GeForce, though a steady
performer at lower resolutions, failed to perform well at resolutions above
1,280×1,024. However, the Asus AGP V7700 was as steady as a rock even at such
high resolutions. It scored nearly twice that of the GeForce in the 3D Winbench
2000 tests and was even better in the 3D Mark99 Max.

However, to get best performance out of this card, you’ll
need the latest hardware in your machine. This means at least a PIII/600 MHz and
more than 128 MB RAM. The only drawback of the card–as with any newcomer–is
the unavailability of software to use its full potential.

As the card is very expensive, it isn’t everybody’s cup
of tea. The first GeForce gives an ample performance boost over other cards.
However, if you’re someone who believes in having the latest and the greatest,
then this one is right up your alley.

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