Leadtek Winfast GeForce 2 MX - HotHardware

Leadtek Winfast GeForce 2 MX

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The Leadtek Winfast GeForce 2 MX
Worth every cent...and then some...

By Marco "BigWop" Chiappetta
10/10/00

 

Quality and Installation Of The Winfast GeForce 2 MX
Let's get to it...

Physical inspection of the card yields some good and bad aspects.  All traces and solder points were clean and intact.  The problems found certainly are not problems with the workmanship of the product.  The quality is very high but some rather dubious design decisions were made... 

nVidia's reference MX board does not require any sort of heatsink or cooling solution because the power requirements for the MX chipset are very low.  Low power requirements equate to low temperatures but in an effort to insure cool operation (and be sure provide some leeway for the overclocking crowd) Leadtek opted to mount an active heatsink / fan combo to their card.  This in general is good news but there are some flaws in their implementation.  First of all, if you look at this picture, you'll notice that power leads for the fan are soldered to the board.

If you check out Davo?s review of an nVidia reference board, you?ll see that the default layout doesn?t have any fan headers.  So, instead of requiring a user to connect the Winfast GeForce 2 MX to their power supply, Leadtek soldered the fan leads right to the board. 

In practice, solder does make for a better connection, but this makes replacing the stock cooler a much harder task and any tampering with this setup will surely void your warranty.  Another problem is that there was way too much thermal paste used.  Not only that but it seemed to be very thin and oily.   We normally would applaud the use of thermal paste over the more popular thermal epoxy but feel Leadtek should have been a little less "sloppy" here and used a higher quality paste.  In all fairness though, nVidia doesn't call for any cooling at all, so Leadtek did at least take some initiative to improve over the reference design.

Looking at the front and back pictures of the card, you probably also noticed the amount of real estate that is not used on the board.  Looking at the front of the card you'll see that almost 20% (look at the upper right) of the board is free from any traces or connections.  This isn't necessarily a bad thing, modifying their manufacturing process the cut down on the size of the boards probably would have raised the prices considerably but making the overall size of the card smaller would make for some improved airflow in your case, which I'm sure overclockers would appreciate.  On the flipside, having all that space could make for some interesting cooling solutions.  I can already see someone mounting a huge heatsink on the RAM with a down-firing fan stuck to the blank space with some double-sided tape.  (The first one to send me a pic of a setup like this get's some recognition on the main page!) :)

The drivers that came in the box offered some nice options, but were based of an earlier revision of the nVidia reference drivers...

                   

These are shots of the tabs available under Display Properties, but you'll probably want to go with the nVidia Detonator 3's.  The performance, features and compatibility of the Detonators is much better.  Leadtek will surely release a set of drivers based on the newer Detonators, but for now, reference drivers it is.

Overclocking and Gaming Performance

 

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