Gainward's GeForce3 Power Pack !!! Golden Sample - HotHardware

Gainward's GeForce3 Power Pack !!! Golden Sample

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The Gainward GeForce3
Power Pack !!! Golden Sample
Tastefully Selected GeForce3 Goodness

By Dave Altavilla
9/10/01

GeForce3 cards are in total abundance these days.  As an OEM, to compete in this space and get more than your fair share of the market, one must differentiate.  With the plethora of "reference design" cards on the retail shelves, it is extremely easy for your product to get lost in the crowd, unless you have brand name recognition.

By now you are probably thinking, "what's with the face on the left of this page?".  Take a good look at that face and remember it.  That face is the company logo for a Taiwanese based OEM by the name of Gainward.  Although their "CardExpert" line of products did garner some fairly good recognition and praise since their inception in the late 80s, the Gainward name is still far from a household word.  However, we think you should sit up and take note of their latest product and make sure your remember the Gainward name.  Why is this, you ask?  Because in our humble opinion, they have what could be THE fastest GeForce3 card on the market right now.

This review will show you why we feel this card is currently the fastest GeForce3 we've tested and quite possibly the fastest on the market at the time of this writing.  That dude in the picture above doesn't look too happy does he?  Perhaps that is because he has his "game face" on and Gainward is playing to win.  Let's have a look.

Specifications Of The Gainward GeForce3 Power Pack !!! Golden Sample
Specially selected for top performance and overclocking

 

Architecture & Features

GeForce3 FEATURES:
  • nFiniteFX engine for full programmability
  • Lightspeed Memory Architecture for unmatched performance
  • Surface engine for high-order surfaces and patches
  • Programmable Vertex Shader
  • Procedural deformations
  • Programmable matrix palette skinning
  • Keyframe animation interpolation
  • Morphing
  • Fog effects (Radial, Elevation, Non-linear)
  • Lens effects (Fish eye, Wide angle, Fresnel effects, Water refraction)
  • Programmable Pixel Shader
  • Phong-style lighting for per-pixel accuracy
  • Dot3 bump mapping
  • Environmental bump mapping (EMBM)
  • Procedural textures
  • Per-pixel reflections
  • HRAA?high-resolution anti-aliasing
  • Featuring Quincunx AA mode
  • Integrated hardware transform engine
  • Integrated hardware lighting engine
  • DirectX and S3TC texture compression
  • Dual cube environment mapping capability
  • Reflection maps
  • Accurate, real-time environment reflections
  • Hardware accelerated real-time shadows
  • True, reflective bump mapping
  • Z-correct bump mapping
  • Phong-style lighting effects on bump maps with reflections
  • High-performance 2D rendering engine
  • Optimized for 32-, 24-, 16-, 15- and 8-bpp modes
  • True-color hardware cursor with alpha
  • Multi-buffering (double, triple or quad) for smooth animation and video playback

 

 

  Continued:
  • High-quality HDTV/DVD playback
  • High-definition video processor (HDVP) for full-screen, full-frame video playback of HDTV and DVD content
  • Independent hardware color controls for video overlay
  • Hardware color-space conversion (YUV 4:2:2 and 4:2:0)
  • Motion compensation
  • 5-tap horizontal by 3-tap vertical filtering
  • 8:1 up/down scaling
  • Per-pixel color keying
  • Multiple video windows supported for CSC and filtering
  • DVD sub-picture alpha-blended compositing

Specially Selected Components

  • GPU and DRAM chips are selected for highest performance and yield.
  • High Over-Clocking Potential
  • Included EXPERTool Software for setting memory and GPU timing

  Software Package:

  • Install / Driver CD-ROM manuals.
  • Full of WinDVD
  • Full Ulead Video Studio
  • Full Versions of
    • E-Color 3Deep
    • Adobe ActiveShare
    • Imagemore

 

 

 

 

What makes this card different besides its wild looking red PCB?  The construction is about as good as most top name GeForce3 cards on the market.  Gainward elected to go with an orb like cooler for the GPU and standard heat sinks for the DDR SDRAM.  Of course all of the cooling hardware is painted red.  We aren't sure how this layer of paint may affect performance but remember, this is Gainward's high end card.  They probably wouldn't paint anything on the sinks that would limit thermal conductivity.  We'll look into this a little bit later.  Other than that, things are pretty standard for the Power Pack !!! Golden Sample, with one fairly significant exception.

 

click for full view

 

   

 

 

This card is built of specially selected components.  The folks at Gainward have built a GeForce3 card that has significantly more margin, from a clock speed standpoint, than most standard cards on the market.  The "Golden Sample" is intended to yield higher core and memory clocks and  thus offer better overall "over-clockability". 

 

We know you like the sound of that and so did we.  We'll show you the fruits of Gainward's labor in the pages ahead.  For now, let's finish up with the extras, move out to test setup and eventually, what you came here for, performance testing.

 

 

       

 

This is card is pretty well outfitted.  It has both a TIVO port and a Digital Flat Panel connector.  The bundle is solid but geared towards a professional/multimedia type, with WinDVD and UnLead Video Studio as the main attractions.  Frankly, with a GeForce3 card, most folks are interested in some level of 3D Gaming.  It would have been nice to see one of the new Direct X 8 driven titles like DroneZ, Max Payne etc., included in the bundle. 

 

However, this is only icing on the cake.  The real meat and potatoes for this GeForce3, is performance. Let's see what the Golden Sample is made of.

 

 

 

 

Drivers, Features, and Screenshots

 

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