Skywell Magic TNT

Article Index:   
 

The Skywell Magic TNT

TNT Power at bargain basement prices!

 
When nVidia's first generation TNT Video Chipset came into the market place, the industry was amazed at the raw performance of a product that actually had the ability to rival 3dfx's Voodoo 2 chipset. Time marched on at the fast and steady pace that drives the PC industry and newer technologies are now coming to fruition that will surpass the original TNT chipset. Ultra TNT2, Voodoo 3 and S3's Savage4 products will be on the shelf by mid April. As a result, the legacy technology of yesterday (which was not so long ago) now has it's cost driven down to very attractive prices. This scenario fairs well for the original TNT because of its solid performance which today is still very respectable. The Magic TNT from Skywell brings a low cost / high performance solution to users who do not have the spare change to spring for today's latest a greatest graphics products. Here's why...

SPECIFICATIONS


NVIDIA RIVA TNT

  • True 128-bit
  • Bus Type:
  • PCI 2.1 compliant
  • AGP 2X/1.0 compliant
  • Memory:
  • 16MB 125MHz SDRAM
  • Integrated RAMDAC
  • 250MHz
  • Horizontal Sync Signals:
  • 31.5KHz-108.5KHz
  • Vertical Refresh:
  • 60Hz-200Hz
  • Maximum Dot (Pixel) Rate:
  • 250MHz RAMDAC
  • Monitors Supported:
  • Standard and Multi-frequency Analog Monitors
  • DDC2B Plug and Play
  • Video Playback:
  • MPEG-1, MPEG-2 (AGP only, U.S. and Canada only), Indeo & Cinepak
  • Multi-tap X and Y scaling and filtering
  • Color space conversion
  • Connectors:
  • DB-15 analog monitor connector (VESA DDC2B)
  • Performance
    - 180Mpps fillrate (180Mtps)
    - 6Million triangles/sec throughput

3D FEATURES

  • Alpha-Blending
  • Anisotropic Filtering
  • Anti-Aliasing
  • Bilinear Filtering
  • Bump Mapping
  • Environment Mapping
  • Fogging
  • Gouraud Shading
  • Hardware Triangle Setup
  • MIP Mapping
  • Perspective Correction
  • Specular Highlights
  • Subpixel Precision
  • 9GFLOP Floating Point Geometry
  • Texture Mapping
  • Transparency
  • Trilinear Filtering
  • TwiN Texel Engine
  • Z-Buffering


2D FEATURES

  • True 128-bit, 125MHz Single-cycle Windows Graphics User Interface(GUI) Acceleration
  • Hardware Accelerated 2D Drawing Primitives
  • Full featured 128-bit BitBLT Engine
  • Full Hardware 256 ROP(Raster Operation)


VIDEO ACCELERATION

  • MPEG-1, MPEG-2 (AGP only, U.S. and Canada only), Indeo & Cinepak
  • Multi-tap X and Y scaling and filtering
  • Color space conversion
 
Skywell ships this board with the standard reference drivers from nVidia. We got the version .48 with our board so we quickly installed the Detonator 1.20 version drivers recently released from nVidia. For a complete review of the performance of this board we wanted to compare it to its more costly cousin from STB, the Velocity 4400. The cost savings of going with the lesser known name of Skywell may prove to be this boards best asset. Lets take a look how it stacks up!
     

 Our Test System

Full Tower ATX Case w/ 300W PS, Pentium 2 -333 Overclocked to 525, Shuttle HOT-649A Dual Processor Motherboard, 128 MB of PC100 CAS2 RAM, IBM Deskstar 10GXP 10GB 7200 RPM EIDE UDMA Hard Drive, IBM 4.5GB DDRS34560D 7200 RPM Ultra SCSI 2 Drive, STB Velocity 4400 TNT w/ 16 MB AGP Video Card or Skywell Magic TNT AGP Video Card w/ 16 MB, Monster Sound MX300 PCI Audio Card, Toshiba SDM1202 3rd. Gen. 4.8X DVD/32X CDROM, TNT Detonator Drivers Version 4.11.01.0120.

     

Overclocking

We overclocked both the Magic TNT and Velocity 4400 at 100 Mhz. Core Processor speed and 120 Mhz. memory speed. This was the fastest we felt we wanted to go without sacrificing stability. Both cards tended to produce artifacts at higher clock rates both within Windows and in 3D Games. The Magic TNT held up strong against the Velocity in this category and the Velocity historically has been the TNT overclocking champ!

     

 

2D

The 2D on the Magic TNT is a crisp, bright and clear as with any other TNT card. We twisted the resolution up to 1280X1024 and were impressed with the clarity. Here are some basic Windows benchmark numbers.

Wintune 98 Offline Test Results

 

CPU (1) Intel Pentium II with MMX@500 MHz (1) Intel Pentium II with MMX@500 MHz
Video Board Skywell Magic TNT STB Velocity 4400
Video Mode 1024x768@16bits/pixel 1024x768@16bits/pixel
RAM 128 MB 128 MB
OS Windows 98 4.10.1998 Windows 98 4.10.1998

 

Area Tested

Magic TNT

Velocity 4400

CPU Integer 1516.291 MIPS 1516.685 MIPS
CPU Floating Point 607.773 MFLOPS 601.9473 MFLOPS
Video(2D) 87.4554 MPixels/s 99.38857 MPixels/s
Direct3D 140.5782 MPixels/s 140.6612 MPixels/s
OpenGL 81.62524 MPixels/s 82.71684 MPixels/s
The Magic TNT lags slightly behind the Velocity in the 2D Video test but closes the gap in D3D and OpenGL.
     

3D

Image quality for the Magic TNT is perfect. We tested Quake 2, Half Life, Falcon 4 and Kingpin. All looked amazing with good saturation and detail. This is to be expected from a TNT based board. Let's look at the frame rates vrs. the Magic's competition.

 

Quake 2 Version 3.20

 

Again, as we can see here, the Magic TNT lags be a small margin. These types of differences are imperceptible during a typical game session.
     

Falcon 4

(Tested w/ Frame Counter on runway and stopped)

 

This is a very close race indeed. Falcon 4 can be very demanding in certain spots in a given theater. We started with the "Take Off" training mission which has lots of ground activity at the point of departure. This causes a worst case scenario with respect to frame rate.
     

 3D Mark 99 Lite

 

The Magic again comes in a nose length behind the Velocity but this is truly in the "photo finish" category!
 
Over all the Magic TNT is a quality built product with very respectable performance numbers to back it up. If you are in the market for a low cost graphics accelerator with few compromises, this is your card. The Magic TNT from Skywell can be found at various on line vendors for well under $100 !
 

The Skywell Magic TNT earned a Temp-O-Meter Rating of....

85 Light the fuse and stand back!

-Davo 
Tags:  TNT, Mag, magic, AG, sky, K

Related content

Comments

Post a Comment
or Register to comment