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Elsa Gladiac 64MB DDR
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Date: Dec 15, 2001
Section:Graphics/Sound
Author: HH Editor
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Elsa Gladiac 64MB DDR - Page 1

The Elsa Gladiac 64MB DDR GeForce 2 GTS
You Do Play Games, Right?

By Marco "BigWop" Chiappetta
9/24/00

To say the video card market is saturated with GeForce 2 powered video cards right now would be an understatement.  With nVidia being the last of the major chip vendors, they are the only real option for companies like Elsa, Creative Labs and others if they want to compete in the hot 3D card arena.  With multiple companies trying to compete against each other with essentially the same product, deciding which one to spend your hard earned money on is tough. 

Today we?re taking a look at Elsa?s offering in the 64MB GeForce market, the Gladiac 64.  This isn?t one of the hot new GeForce 2 Ultras that are about to hit the market, but it is definitely not a slouch in the performance department.  However, the performance of the card is its only defining factor.    You won?t find too many ?bells and whistles? here?

         

Specifications Of The Elsa Gladiac 64MB DDR
It's a reference design, but who cares?!?

  • NVIDIA GeForce2 GTS GPU
  • High-Performance DDR memory
  • AGP 4X with Fast Writes
  • 32-bit color ARGB with destination alpha
  • Cube environment mapping and Anisotropic texture filtering
  • Optimized Direct3D and OpenGL acceleration
  • Complete DirectX 7, DirectX 6 and DirectX 5 support
  • Advanced support for DirectDraw
  • Hardware color space conversion (YUV 4:2:2 and 4:2:0)
  • 5-tap horizontal by 3-tap vertical filtering
  • 8:1 upscaling and downscaling
  • Per-pixel color keying
  • Multiple video windows with hardware color space conversion and filtering
  • DVD sub-picture alpha blended compositing
  • Video acceleration for DirectShow, MPEG-1, MPEG-2,and Indeo
  • RAMDAC/Pixel Cycle: 350 MHz
  • Memory: 32MB or 64MB DDR RAM
  • Bus Systems: AGP 2x/4x (including fast writes and execute mode) or PCI
  • Standards: DPMS, DDC2B, Plug & Play
  • Optional Video Module: 1x Video-In & 1x Video-Out
  • BIOS: VESA BIOS 3.0 support
  • API Support: DirectX 6, DirectX 7, OpenGL
  • Internal/Memory Interface Clock: 200MHz/166MHz
  • Horizontal SYNC Signals: 31.5Hz - 108.5Hz
  • Vertical Refresh Rate: 60Hz - 200Hz

The specification list reads like any other GeForce 2 based reference design but there?s got to be something to make this card stand out, right?  There sure is!  We?ll get to that a little later! 

The memory that came installed on the Gladiac 64 is some high quality Hyundai 6NS DDR RAM.

Besides the amount of memory, you?ll also notice that 64MB GeForce 2?s come equipped with DDR SDRAM as opposed to the SGRAM installed on just about all 32MB models.  SGRAM offers slightly higher performance at similar clock speeds to SDRAM, so in some situations the 32MB GeForce 2s will actually outperform their 64MB counterparts.  64MB SGRAM variations would be ideal but at the present time it is cost prohibitive.

Installation, Drivers, Visuals

 
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Elsa Gladiac 64MB DDR - Page 2

The Elsa Gladiac 64MB DDR GeForce 2 GTS
You Do Play Games, Right?

By Marco "BigWop" Chiappetta
9/14/00

 

Quality and Installation Of The Gladiac 64
Good Stuff...

The physical quality of the Gladiac 64 is very good.  Close inspection of the board reveals some high quality workmanship.  I feel this should be expected with reputable manufacturers that have been adhering to the nVidia reference design, because it hasn?t changed much since the first TNT2?s were released. 

         

There are some chinks in the armor though.  Chips manufactured with an .18-micron process inherently run much cooler than chips using a ?larger? process.  This fact was probably considered when Elsa was deciding what type of heatsink / fan combo to install in the Gladiac, as it seems conservative compared to some of their competitors.

Not only is it rather wimpy, it is mounted with thermal epoxy?YUCK!  The nVidia reference design already has holes in the PCB for mounting other types of chip coolers.  I wish more manufacturers would utilize them and use thermal paste as the interface material.  The few extra pennies spent manufacturing cards this way would probably more than pay for itself with less support calls and a longer lasting product.  Heck, cards might even be able to ship clocked at a higher default speed if the cooling solutions were more robust.  Having said that, I did however have very good luck overclocking this board.

There is no video or in or out available on the board in it?s default configuration but it is offered in the form of an optional add-on.  However, ELSA does offer full support for their 3D Revelator Glasses with the Gladiac, which might sway a few potential buyers to look away from their competitors.

One other factor worth mentioning is the warranty Elsa offers with the Gladiac.  This board is covered by a full 6-year warranty.  This is a testament to the confidence Elsa has in their products.

Speaking of Quality?nice segue, huh? The visual quality of the Gladiac is excellent, but similar to other GeForce 2?s out there.  Here is a screenshot of F.A.K.K. 2 at 1024x768x32 using the 2x2 AA setting.

It looks very good but if you endeavor for the best visual quality available, you may want to check out ATI?s Radeon or 3dfx?s Voodoo5.  In my opinion they both offer slightly better image quality.  However, this is very subjective, so the best advice we can give you is to experience all these cards in action and choose the one you like best.

Installation of this card was a snap, if you follow the directions.  Popping the card in your AGP slot and pointing Windows to the directory where your files are located is all it takes.  Elsa ships the Gladiac with their version of nVidia?s reference drivers called the WinMan suite.  The functionality is excellent, and installation was painless but power users will opt for the newer, higher performing Detonator 3?s.  Here are some screen captures of Elsa?s control panels but all benchmarks appearing later in this review were taken using the new nVidia Detonator 3 Reference Drivers.

   

 

Overclocking and Gaming Performance

 
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Elsa Gladiac 64MB DDR - Page 3

The Elsa Gladiac 64MB DDR GeForce 2 GTS
You Do Play Games, Right?

By Marco "BigWop" Chiappetta
9/14/00

 

H.H. Test System
Speedy...

InWin Full Tower ATX Case w/ 300W PS, Pentium III 933EB., Tyan S1854 (Via 133A) Motherboard and Elsa Gladiac 64MB DDR  AGP Card, 256MB of PC133 True CAS2 SDRAM from Mushkin, IBM 22Gig 7200 RPM ATA66 Hard Drive, Plextor UltraPlex 40max CDROM, Win 98SE, DirectX 7.0a, nVidia reference drivers (Detonator 3)

Benchmarks With The Elsa Gladiac 64
nVidia's FSAA comes of age

Now it's time to see how the Gladiac 64 handles the Grand Daddy of all OpenGL Benchmarks, Quake 3...

At the fastest setting, the Gladiac performs very well...let's see how the Normal setting does...

Still performing very well!  Now it's time to really stess this card, it's time for the High Quality setting!  All options in the Game Options menu were also set to their max for this benchmark.

With Anti-Aliasing become ever more popular, it wouldn't be right to not include some scores.  We enables AA with Quake 3 set to the High Quality setting and all options at their maximum.  Visual quality was excellent.

The Elsa Gladiac 64 is a very fast, high quality piece of hardware.  If you?re a hardcore gamer that?s in the market for a card strictly used for gaming, you can?t go wrong with the Gladiac.  Someone looking for more video capabilities like TV-Out would be better served looking elsewhere, but the sheer performance of this card makes it a worthy purchase.  It will be tough for the Gladiac to not get ?lost in the mix?, but if the performance, stability and overclocking potential we found with our Gladiac is the norm, it should be on the top of your list.

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