Leadtek's WinFast GeForce256

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Needless to say, there sure has been a lot of hype and fan-fare on the net these days with respect to NVidia's next generation technology in 3D Graphics, The GeForce256 chip. High hopes have been built up on new levels of performance with this new technology. In addition new features are being touted as ground breaking enhancements in speed and image quality. We were pleased when Leadtek asked us to be one of the first review sites on the net to put their new GeForce256 based card through its paces. Let's take a look at Leadtek's WinFast GeForce256 and see what all the fuss is about!
     

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Physically, the WinFast GeForce doesn't vary much from Leadtek's prior design with the WinFast S320II TNT2 card. However there are a few obvious changes of note. The memory on this card is 5ns. SDRAM from ESMT. Also, it goes without saying that this board is based on the all new NVidia GeForce256 GPU (Graphics Processing Unit). The chip itself is clocked to 120MHz. Core and the memory subsystem is clocked to 166MHz. However, let's not get caught up in the MHz. game here folks. The new GeForce256 chip from NVidia is capable of processing four 32 bit pixels in a single clock cycle. Obviously that means you get more processing power per clock cycle and thus GPU clock cycles exponentially are used more efficiently.

Here are rest of the features of the WinFast GeForce256.

    Key Specifications

  • NVIDIA GeForce 256 GPU (Graphics Processing Unit)
  • 32/64MB high-speed SDRAM on board (5ns or faster)
  • 350MHz RAMDAC, up to 2048x1536 32-bit resolution
  • AGP 4X with Fast Write (30% faster transfer speed)
  • Transform, Lighting, Setup, Rendering Quad-Engine design
  • Microsoft Windows 9x, Windows NT4.0, Windows 2000 driver support
  • Microsoft DirecX7.0 for Windows 9x/2000, OpenGL? ICD for Windows 9x/2000/NT4.0
  • Dirvers optimized for Pentium III SSE? and AMD 3D NOW?
  • DVD software package
  • TV-Output, optional DVI connector for digital flat panel
  • Overclocking Utilities

    2D/3D Feature Set

  • NVIDIA GeForce 256, 256-bit GPU
  • Quad-Engine? Design for complete 3D pipeline
  • Transform Engine
  • Lighting Engine
  • Setup Engine
  • Rendering Engine
  • 15 Million triangles/sec
  • 480 Million Pixel/sec Fill rate
  • 350 MHz RAMDAC support display resolution up to 2048x1536
  • 32-bit Z-buffer/stencil
  • Optimized for Direct3D acceleration with complete hardware support for DirectX 7
  • Cube Environment Mapping
  • Hardware Supporter Transform and Lighting
  • Full OpenGL 1.2 ICD driver support.
  • 32 bits true color texture mapping support.
  • Optional Digital Flat Panel interface with scaling and filtering for flat panels up to 1600x1200
  • TV-out support up to 800x600 resolution
  • Full PC99 and PC99a compliant

    Video Feature Set

  • DVD and HDTV-ready motion compensation for MPEG-2 decoding
  • DVD sub-picture alpha blended composting
  • Hardware YUV 4:2:2 and 4:2:0 color space conversion support
  • Multi-tap X and Y filtering
  • 8:1 up and down scaling on video overlay
  • Industry's first 5-tap horizontal by 3-tap vertical video filtering
  • Supports planar YUV12 (4:2:0) to /from packed (4:2:2) conversion for software MPEG acceleration
  • Video acceleration for DirectShow?, MPEG-2 and MPEG-1
 
The GeForce chip provides serious enhancements over the TNT2. This version of the WinFast card is the SDR (single data rate) SDRAM version and has a Fill Rate of 480 Million Pixels/sec. DDR SDRAM (double data rate SDRAM) versions will have even better figures. Also, the addition of hardware supported Transform and Lighting processing adds additional headroom for the card since it will off load the host processor in this area. There aren't many games out yet which support hardware transform and lighting processing, so we'll have to wait and see how much of a benefit this will be. Here is a link to NVidia's list of games scheduled to support Hardware T&L.

This technology should allow very significant increases in polygon count and also add capability in various methods of lighting, accenting and enhancing the images with greater flexibility. Cube Environment Mapping is yet another way to add reflections and other environmental impact on an object.

Please
check out the NVidia web site for a full technology demo on these features. We decided there was no benefit to re-posting the information here.
 
Let's move on, shall we? 
 
 

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