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Elsa ErazorX & 3D Revelators
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Date: Dec 15, 2001
Section:Graphics/Sound
Author: HH Editor
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Elsa ErazorX & 3D Revelators - Page 1
 

Elsa's Erazor X - GeForce & Revelator 3D Shutter Glasses

Breaking out from the "me too" crowd.

Now that NVidia GeForce based cards are beginning to flow more freely, the race is beginning to blur a little with many vendors producing "me too" products based solely on the NVidia reference design. This is a look at a new GeForce based card from Elsa that has the promise of something different versus the other GeForce cards on the market.

OH my skull !

This guy looks like he has an Excedrine headache. Probably because he works too hard and doesn't play enough Q3 on his Erazor X! When we opened the box of the Elsa ErazorX we were pleasantly surprised to see that Elsa didn't follow the same old reference design but decided to grow their own.

(click image for larger view)

Erazor X !

Now that's what I call an efficient use of FR4 (printed circuit board material). This board is a well laid out clean design. It is also very compact and takes up little room in your PC case.

The heat sink and fan combo on the board is also a solid piece of cooling hardware. Spring loaded pushpins hold it down but it is also attached by another method of thermally conductive glue or tape. In any event, you won't need to find out exactly what is holding that heatsink on because it does a VERY good job of keeping the GeForce chip cool. This is by far the best stock cooling solution we have seen on a video card with the possible exception of Matrox's G400MAX.

We'll take a look at the Revelator Glasses shortly. For now, here's what the Erazor X is made of.

 

Product Specifications

  • Controller: NVIDIA GeFofrce 256,First Graphics Processing Unit
  • Display Memory: 32MB - High Speed
  • Horizontal Sync Signals: 31.5KHz - 108.5KHz
  • Vertical Refresh: 60Hz - 200Hz
  • Bus System: AGP 2x/4x
  • Maximum Dot (Pixel) Rate: 350MHz RAMDAC
  • API Support: DirectX 6, DirectX 7, OpenGL ICD
  • Other Standards: VESA Bios 3.0, DPMS, DDC2B, Plug & Play
  • 3D Hardware:
  • 4 independent rendering pipelines, hardware transformation and lighting, multi-texturing, bump mapping,environmental mapping, procedural texturing, table fog, shadow stenciling, bilinear,trilinear and 8-tap anisotropic texture filtering, MIP mapping
  • Single Chip GPU: (Graphics Processing Unit)
  • On-chip integration of the entire 3D pipeline (Transformation, lighting, setup, and rendering)
  • Independent Pipeline QuadEngine: Separate engines for transformation, lighting, setup and delivers 15 million triangles per second.
  • 256 - Bit Quad Pipe Rendering engine
  • Four independent pixel- rendering pipelines deliver up to 480 million 8- sample fully filtered pixels per second.
  • Complete support for New Microsoft DirectX 7 and OpenGL Features
  • AGP 4X with fast writes:
  • 256 - Bit Rendering Engine
  • Itergrated Transforms and lighting delivers 2 -4 times the triangle rate for the 2 - 4 times more detailed 3D scenes.

This is your basic GeForce punch list but it is the way the card is designed that makes the Erazor X unique. It is a design we feel works well. There is no TV out on this model however Elsa does use very high speed Samsung 64Mb SDRAM on their design, rated at 5.5ns.
 
     
So, let's have a look at those glasses... 
 

 Is that you behind those 3D Revelators? --->

 

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Elsa ErazorX & 3D Revelators - Page 2

Elsa's Erazor X - GeForce & Revelator 3D Shutter Glasses

Breaking out from the "me too" crowd.

 

 

The above product shot on the left is the wired version. The right shot is the wireless. We have tested both models here at Hot Hardware but we definitely like the advantages of the wireless approach. The model we tested for this review was the wireless version.

This is a diagram of the connection for both versions of the glasses.

     
The infrared model we tested comes with a small CR2032 type watch battery mounted in the front frame to give it power. For both versions, you simply connect the patch cable to the Erazor X and the other end to your monitor cable. The small circular din cable then connects to the infrared module cable or directly to the cable of the Revelator if you have the cable version.
 

3D Revelator Set Up and Testing

The wireless version of the 3D Revelator glasses we tested installed easily and the drivers were straight forward. Here is a screen shot of the driver panel which shows you some of the features.

(click image for larger view)

Elsa gives you the ability to set the glasses up with different configurations depending on the game you are playing. As you can see from the above shot, they also have included a bunch of presets for various games. You can also set up your own presets with the drivers. This way you can choose the level of "stereo width" that is right for you. This "stereo width" is the number of pixels that a rendered scene is offset from the left to right shutter on the glasses. This determines the depth that you perceive when looking at your monitor through the 3D Revelators.

These glasses separate the two offset images on your screen by blocking one of the stereo images out so that from one eye's perspective only one image is seen and the other eye sees only the other offset image. Each lens shuts on and off at a high speed such that your eyes don't perceive the shutter much if at all, depending on your monitor refresh rate, which needs to be very high. You should plan to have a monitor that can support at least 100Hz. at the resolution you want to work with. Preferably, 120-140 Hz. is optimal.

Regardless, the end result is a level of 3D perception and immersion much like the 3D movies you have seen in movie theaters with the green and red glasses. However, the effect with the 3D Revelator glasses and your monitor is MUCH more impressive.

 


These glasses work only with DirectX driven games. The list of DirectX supported games is now huge and so there is plenty to choose from and some day all games are sure to have DirectX support.

We are totally impressed with the performance of the 3D Revelators. The effect these glasses have when they are dialed in correctly, is absolutely fantastic. They are a lot of fun to play with and the effect really adds to the experience.

     
Let's move out....
 

Erazor X Set Up Testing and Benchmarks! -->

 
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Elsa ErazorX & 3D Revelators - Page 3
 

Elsa's Erazor X - GeForce & Revelator 3D Shutter Glasses

Breaking out from the "me too" crowd.

 

 

Our Test System

Full Tower ATX Case w/ 300W PS, Pentium3 -533B Overclocked to 600 MHz.(Provided By OutsideLoop Computers), Soyo SY-6BA+IV DMA66 capable motherboard, 128MB of PC133 HSDRAM, WD 18G 7200RPM DMA66 Hard Drive, Elsa Erazor X AGP with 32MB , Kenwood 72X CDROM, Win 98SE, DirectX 7, Elsa Release Drivers version 4.12.01.0104-0020 based on NVidia 3.53 reference drivers

 


Benchmarks

     

Quake 3 Arena Timedemo 

First we ran the tests overclocked at 150MHz. core and 180MHz. memory clocks. We ran both the Quake3 Arena demo version 1.08 and the full release version of Quake 3 Arena. The reason we did this was to give you a basis for comparison with respect to the Leadtek GeForce card we reviewed recently.

We also ran tests at the the default core and memory clock frequencies for the full release version of Quake 3.

Quake 3 Arena Demo version 1.08 - Timdemo

 


Quake 3 Arena Full Release Timedemo

 
What is very interesting here is the fact that the full release version of Quake 3 Arena is about 10% slower in terms of frame rate on the GeForce. This will probably track the same way for other cards as well. Never the less, it is apparent on the Q3A Demo tests that the higher core and memory overclock capability of the Erazor X yields top performance.
     

And now for a quick D3D test...

Forsaken Ship Demo @ 150MHz. Core and 180MHz. Memory

 

Once again the math is simple. Higher clock speeds = higher frame rate for the Erazor X.

 
     
We didn't want to bore you with another D3D test in 16 bit color. We decided to have a little more fun. 
     

Erazor X - GeForce 3D Mark 2000

T&L Benchmarks ! --->

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Elsa ErazorX & 3D Revelators - Page 4
 

Elsa's Erazor X - GeForce & Revelator 3D Shutter Glasses

Breaking out from the "me too" crowd.

 

 

Our Test System

Full Tower ATX Case w/ 300W PS, Pentium3 -533B Overclocked to 600 MHz.(Provided By OutsideLoop Computers), Soyo SY-6BA+IV DMA66 capable motherboard, 128MB of PC133 HSDRAM, WD 18G 7200RPM DMA66 Hard Drive, Elsa Erazor X AGP with 32MB , Kenwood 72X CDROM, Win 98SE, DirectX 7, Elsa Release Drivers version 4.12.01.0104-0020 based on NVidia 3.53 reference drivers

 


Benchmarks

Now this is what we call a REAL benchmark. The full release version of Mad Onion's 3DMark 2000 was not available for the last GeForce based review we did. This is a great utility for determining the relative performance of any graphics accelerator.

NOTE****

This is also one of the few benchmark suites available that can now test for the relative performance gain from the GeForce Hardware Transform and Lighting (T&L) Engine. We tested at a resolution of 1024X768 in both 16 and 32 bit color with hardware T&L and software driven T&L.


All benchmarks for this test were taken at 150MHz. core and 180MHz. memory overclocks on the Erazor X. The card never locked up once in almost an hour of straight punishment from 3DMark 2000. This is a tribute to the Erazor X and it's ability to overclock well.

 

(click image)

And for you detail buffs, here is the full monty...

As one can easily see in this benchmark, Hardware T&L afforded us a 20 - 30% performance gain. What is interesting is the fact that in 32 bit color, the gain is less significant. Hmm, seems I remember some marketing guy from another manufacturer saying something to the effect that fill rate is still going to be the main factor affecting frame rate. Could he be right? ;-) You decide... In any case, Hardware T&L definitely kicks in some major horsepower. Now we just need more game developers supporting it.

     
 

 Our final thoughts

The Erazor X is an excellent work of electrical engineering on behalf of Elsa. The card is well designed and is comprised of very high quality components which lend to its overall performance and end user experience. It was a stable and competent "overclocker" as well. We feel it is more than worthy of your hard earned dollar should you be in the market for a new graphics accelerator.

The 3D Revelator Glasses from Elsa are also a fun high tech toy that will keep you amused for hours on end. The wireless version is the only way to fly if you have a few extra dollars. One thing to note is that playing for long periods of time does give you eye fatigue. So, I guess every hour or so, you'll have to break for a cold one! It is a tough act but someone has to do it and it might as well be you. ;-)

 
     

Quite a package deal indeed.

We give the Elsa Erazor X and 3D Revelator glasses a Hot Hardware Temp-O-Meter rating of.....

 (insert drum roll)

95 ! Erazor X marks the spot!

-Davo


(Temp-O-Meter scores are rated on a number of key metrics including performance, stability, ease of installation, compatibility, feature set, "overclockability" and component quality. A perfect score is 100 )
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