Date: June 2nd, 2004
Article by: Nathan Glentworth (Owner, Head Editor & Hardware Reviewer)
Product was donated by: Hightech
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PRODUCT PICTORIAL & WALKTHROUGH
As I have said previously, this is a very simple videocard. Everything is kept to a minimum to keep costs down.
The VPU cooling is handled through this standard branded aluminum heatsink. Active cooling is not required on a lower end cards seeing the core clock is not pushed exceedingly hard. Even after two hours of benchmarking, the heatsink was warm to the touch, but not warm enough to be concerned about. Overheating shouldn't be a problem if your case has adequate airflow.
From left to right you have the DVI, VIVO and analog connection. This card is fully dual display capable and a quick trip to your videocard driver settings should have you configured in no time. Just as a side note, I would not suggest you use a TV for anything other than movie viewing. Standard televisions do not have close to the resolution of a computer monitor.
One interesting feature I was able to exact is the ability of the TV-Out to be configured for European PAL or North American NTSC with a quick change of an onboard jumper. This is always a smart option and give one single card the capability to work in both regions where in the past you would need two separate cards.
The 128Megs of onboard memory consists of four 32meg Elixer memory chips clocked at a very conservative 133Mhz (266Mhz DDR). When it comes to videocard memory, 266Mhz DDR is very slow and will definitely contribute to lower gaming performance. Memory bandwidth is the key to gaming performance and without it you are essentially handcuffed.
The bottom of the card is pretty standard with no extra cooling for the slower memory. It can be summed up as just a standard videocard.
In most cases I am not too concerned with lower memory and core clock frequencies seeing I can usually eek out a little more performance through overclocking. Using my uber favorite Radeon Overclocker Rage3DTweak (Grab it HERE), I set off to see just what I could extra performance I could squeeze out of this basic videocard. Was I successful? Not in the slightest.
Every time an overclock was set it would be set back to driver defaults as soon as any 3D application, benchmark or game was fired up. Any overclocking is completely blocked probably because of a videocard BIOS override. To be honest, I wasn't surprised seeing that most lower end cards I have tested in the past are all clock locked.
Too bad, I was hoping to get a little more performance. Let's see how it made out with the benchmarking.