Hercules 3D Prophet II Ultra

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The Hercules 3D Prophet II Ultra
So Cool...it's blue...

By, Marco "BigWop" Chiappetta
January 4, 2001

Installation Of The Hercules 3D Prophet II Ultra
Piece of Cake...

Well, what is there to say about the installation of the 3D Prophet II Ultra?  Fortunately, not much!  Now that "Plug-and-Play" has had some time to mature and shake the "Plug-and-Pray" moniker, hardware installation has become much easier.  The 3D Prophet II Ultra installed without a hitch.  We plugged the card into our AGP slot, turned the system on, inserted the driver CD when prompted and one re-boot later we were off and running. One thing we were really happy to find was that the included drivers were based off revision v.6.35 of nVidia's Detonator 3 drivers.  We were glad to find this because the latest "official" revision available from nVidia's site is v.6.31.  This demonstrates to us that Hercules is committed to providing new driver updates in a timely manner.  When nVidia releases a new official driver set, you can bet Hercules will have an updated version available quickly.  With the exception of a few graphical tweaks, the Hercules drivers are very similar to the reference drivers.  Let's take a look...

     

     

I'm sure if you're familiar with nVidia reference drivers you noticed we didn't take a screenshot of the "Hardware Options" tab and for good reason.  The 3D Prophet II Ultra comes with a very simple utility called the "Hercules 3D Tweaker"

We liked the Hercules 3D Tweaker quite a bit because is gave us quick access to our overclocking, V-Sync and FSAA options.  The Hercules 3D Tweaker places a simple icon in your system tray.  A double-click and you've got your options all in one place.  With nVidia based cards from different manufacturers being so similar, the "little" things like this are sometimes what makes us prefer one card over another.

We've been using the 3D Tweaker in conjunction with the v6.35 drivers for over a week now and no problems are readily apparent.  Quite a bit of gaming was gone and the compatibility and visual quality was excellent.  We enabled 2X2 FSAA and snapped a quick screenshot during a game of Quake 3 Arena to give you an idea of what to expect...


Click to enlarge...but beware modem users...this is a big file.

This shot was taken at 1024x768x32 with all texture quality and geometry settings at maximum.  At this resolution with FSAA enabled, the game slows down a bit too much for our liking but the visuals are absolutely fantastic. 

We'd quickly like to mention that 2D image quality was excellent thanks to the fast RAMDAC.  Text was crisp and colors were vibrant.  If nVidia would implement their Digital Vibrance feature into the GTS / Ultra chip, 2D image quality would be even better.  My last review was of a GeForce 2 MX based card and now that we're without the Digital Vibrance control, we miss it. :(

Quality and Comparisons

 

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