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Elsa Gladiac 920 Video Card Review
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Date: Dec 15, 2001
Section:Graphics/Sound
Author: HH Editor
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Elsa Gladiac 920 Video Card Review - Page 1

 

Elsa Gladiac 920 Video Card
More GeForce 3 Action!

By, Jeff Bouton
October 11, 2001



 

 

When it comes to graphics cards, there is no arguing that ELSA is among the industry leaders.  For over 20 years they have been producing top quality graphics cards, as well as other computer peripherals geared toward both the commercial and industrial markets.  For years they have been specializing in professional level graphics boards engineered for use with graphically intensive design applications such as CAD.

 

Today we will take a look and one of their latest commercial boards geared for folks like you, that just want our games to run smoothly and look great.  The ELSA Gladiac 920 answers the call for higher gaming frame rates, with the incorporation of the nVidia GeForce3 GPU and 64 MB of DDR-SDRAM into its design.  Let's start by taking a look at what the 920 has to offer....
 

Specifications of the Elsa Gladiac 920 Video Card
The Run-down...

 

Equipment

  • Graphics processor NVIDIA GeForce3, processor clock: 200 MHz
     

  • Memory equipment 64-MB DDR SDRAM,
    access time 3.8 ns, 460-MHz effective memory clock,
    Lightspeed Memory Architecture?
     

  • RAMDAC/pixel cycle 350 MHz
     

  • BIOS Support of VESA BIOS 3.0
     

  • Bus-System AGP 2x/4x, including fast writes and execute mode

Features

  • Graphics standards DirectX 8, DirectX 7, OpenGLĀ® API "
     

  • 2D features 256 bit 2D acceleration, optimized for 32, 24, 16, 15, and 8-bit color depth,
    hardware cursor in TrueColor, multi buffering (double, triple and quadruple for fluid movements and video playback)
     

  • 3D features 256-bit engine with HyperTexel architecture, optimized acceleration for Direct3D and OpenGL API, complete DirectX8 support, 32-bit Z and stencil buffer, single-pass multi texturing, full-scene anti-aliasing, high-quality texture filtering, including anisotropic; advanced per-pixel texturing for perspective correction, fog and depth cueing, texture compression
     

  • nFinite FX? engine fully programmable effect processor for realistic 3D representation, e.g. volumetric fog, particle effects, reflective bump mapping and animated water
     

  • HDTV- und DVD-Playback Extended motion compensation for full screen video playback in all DVD and HDTV resolutions, video acceleration for MPEG-1, MPEG-2 and Indeo
     

  • TV-out (optional) Connection for S video and Composite/FBAS (with included adapter);
    PAL (max. 800 x 600 pixels), NTSC (max. 640 x 480 pixels)
     

  • Standards DPMS, DDC2B, plug&play
     

  • Connectors Monitor: VGA-D-Shell (15 pin),
    1 x video-out (S-video connection, FBAS via the included adapter)
     

  • Dimensions 173 x 108 mm (ATX format, plus mounting bracket)
     

Along with the ELSA Gladiac 920, the package we received for review included the following:

  • One CD containing an Online manual, ELSA Screensavers, Feature Demos and a Full Version of 3DMark 2001 Pro.
     

  • One CD which includes ELSA Movie 2000, a fully functional software DVD player.
     

  • A Full-Version copy of the second release of "GIANTS - Citizen Kabuto", re-mastered to take full advantage of the GeForce 3 GPU.


Now that we've seen all the goodies that you get when you purchase a Gladiac 920, let us move on and take a closer look at the card itself...
 

Quality & Setup of the Elsa Gladiac 920 Video Card
Very Nice...


 

The Elsa Gladiac 920 is based on the standard GeForce 3 reference design, no flashy colors or fancy coolers.  The sample we received for review came equipped with an analog monitor output and TV-OUT.  Other models have optional support for Digital Flat-Panel displays.  The overall construction is consistent with nVidia's base reference design and doesn't stray from the norm.

 

      
 

    

 

Before we installed the card and began overclocking it, we wanted to take a peak and see what was under that fan assembly.  Elsa has chosen to use a standard thermal pad between the GPU and the fan rather than a high quality thermal paste.  Before we began our benchmarking of the 920, we cleaned everything off and used high quality Arctic Silver II Thermal Paste in place of the thermal pad.  We went to unplug the fan from the card, so we could clean it up but both the plug and the base came off in our hand.  We had no difficulty reapplying the plug, but it would've been nice to see the base stay put.

 

 


Setup, Screenshots and the Test System...

 
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Elsa Gladiac 920 Video Card Review - Page 2

 

Elsa Gladiac 920 Video Card
More GeForce 3 Action!

By, Jeff Bouton
October 11, 2001



 

Quality & Setup of the Elsa Gladiac 920 Video Card Continued...
Very Nice...


 

Installation of the Elsa Gladiac 920 was as easy as could be expected.  We started with a fresh install of Windows ME and installed the drivers.  The drivers included with the Gladiac 920 were the standard reference 12.41 Detonators, since there were no extra features added to these drivers, we opted to use the latest 21.81 Detonators instead.

 

      

 

      

 

Here you can see the 21.81's in all their glory.  Not much out of the ordinary here, the benefits are diplayed in the performance gains over previous driver versions.  So let's move on to some Anti-Aliasing action...
 

 

DirectX 8 and Quincunx AA Screenshots
Very Nice...


 

One of the things we like to do from time to time is to show the differences in quality between the different Anti-Aliasing settings.  Below are several screenshots from "Giants - Citizen Kabuto" to demonstrate the variance in quality with each setting. 

 

No AA

 

2XAA

 

Quincunx

 

4XAA

 

Giants is certainly one of the nicest looking games around.  The scenery is stunning, particularly with AA set at either Quincunx or 4X. 

 

Now we'll move on to some overclocking before we start running the benchmarks...
 

 

Overclocking The Elsa Gladiac 920 GeForce 3 Video Card
Taking it to the limit...


Using the coolbits registry tweak, we were able to raise the core speed from the default 200MHz. to an impressive 245MHz.  The DDR-RAM shipped at a default 460MHz. which we were able to push to an equally impressive 555MHz.  Overall, we were looking at a performance increase of over 20%.  This may not be the highest we've overclocked a GeForce 3 but these gains are very respectable surpassing the default clock speeds of the new Ti 500's.  One thing we must note however, is that the thermal interface material used was in fact Artic Silver compound, since the thermal pad that Elsa applied at the factory, was essentially destroyed, when we went to inspect the junction area between the GPU and the sink.


Benchmarking with 3DMark 2001... 

 
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Elsa Gladiac 920 Video Card Review - Page 3

 

Elsa Gladiac 920 Video Card
More GeForce 3 Action!

By, Jeff Bouton
October 11, 2001



 

 

DroneZ Benchmarks
OpenGL....


 

When is comes to a colorful OpenGL benchmark utility, I think DroneZ comes out on top.  Not only is it beautiful, it also does its job of stressing a video cards OpenGL capabilities quite well.  Let's take a look and see how the Gladiac 920 faired at both default and overclocked settings...
 

 

Once again, the Gladiac has put on a good show.  We just broke the 60 FPS minimum at 1600 x 1200 x 32, a few months ago that would've been impossible.  Once we kicked the MHz. up a few notches, we saw an increase of 23% at the same resolution.  There is no doubt that the Gladiac 920 will be able to play the most graphically intense games at high resolutions.

 

Next up is GL Excess/XSMark and Quake 3...
 

 

OpenGL with GL Excess/XS Mark
Pushin' It...


 

GL Excess is a new comer to the Hot Hardware Labs and consists of up to twelve separate tests.  These tests stress all aspects of a systems ability to render OpenGL graphics.  Its main functions focus on four key components of a systems abilities, Fill Rate, Polygon Count, VRAM, CPU/FPU.  The beauty of this benchmark is the results are automatically entered into an HTML document for easy reading.  Click on the image to see the full results...

 


 

There is no arguing that it is a lot to read, but this benchmark gives a good idea of how this card and system will perform in OpenGL gaming.  Next we'll turn up the fragging with the veteran Quake 3...
 

 

Quake 3 Arena
Fragging it up...


 

When it comes to OpenGL stress testing, there is no utility more popular than the Quake 3 Timedemo.  I think when the day comes that this benchmark utility gets retired, there will need to be some kind of ceremony performed in honor of its ability to outlast the best of them!  Now let's get fragging...

 

 

 

The Elsa Gladiac handled Quake 3 with ease.  Judging by these results, there would be no problem playing it at 1600 x1200 HQ.  The Gladiac pumped out almost 95 FPS at this resolution and we haven't overclocked it yet!  Now we'll see what happens when we do...
 

 

 


 

More Quake 3 and The Rating...

 
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Elsa Gladiac 920 Video Card Review - Page 4

 

Elsa Gladiac 920 Video Card
More GeForce 3 Action!

By, Jeff Bouton
October 11, 2001



 

 

More Quake 3 Arena
Fragging it up...


 

This time around we tweaked the card up to 245/555MHz. and let the Timedemo 001 ride in 32Bit HQ mode...

 

 

With the Gladiac 920 overclocked, we saw a gain in performance once again over 16% at the highest resolution.  From what we're seeing here, if you want to push past the 1600 x 1200 limit, the Gladiac should do it with ease.

 

In our next test we'll set Quake 3 up for the more popular 1024x768 in 32Bit Color mode and see how the various AA settings affect the performance.

 

 

What we can see here is that Quake 3 is quite playable with the 4X AA enabled.  If you are the type to balk at 69FPS, then Quincunx should be good for you.  Quake 3 looked absolutely beautiful at this setting and the frame rates were excellent as well.

 

It is clear to see that in all the tests that we performed with the Gladiac 920 GeForce 3, the card had no difficulties whatsoever.  Performance was good in all tests, never displaying an unplayable score.
 


 

At the end of this review, I think it is clear that the ELSA Gladiac 920 is a high-quality GeForce 3 based video card.  Throughout the benchmarking phase, the Gladiac met expectations in all tests, performing particularly well at higher resolutions.  What the card lacks in physical flash and panache, it makes up for in performance.  If you are looking for a quality GeForce 3 video card and plan on overclocking it to its maximum potential, then consider a Gladiac 920.  The best part is ELSA's unprecedented 6 year warranty.  If breaks for whatever reason you'll get a new one. Now that's confidence in a product!

We found the quality of the Gladiac 920 equal to similar reference models.  The performance and overclocking potential of this unit was also on the same level as other cards as well.  We found the complete package to be terrific, with nice extras like TV-Out, 3DMark 2001 and Giants - Citizen Kabuto. 

We're giving the ELSA Gladiac 920 GeForce 3 Video Card a Hot Hardware Meter Rating of...
 

Are you talkin' to me?  Get into the HotHardware Conference Room!

 


 

 
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