Abit Siluro MX

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The Abit Siluro MX
Budget Video cards come of age...

By Marco "BigWop" Chiappetta
November 28, 2000

During the last few years, the growth of the add-in video card market has been phenomenal.  The chipsets powering these boards have been flying off production lines at a dizzying pace.  One company, nVidia, has consistently cranked out chips more powerful than the last.  Traditionally with this increase in power, comes an increase in price.  Not so with the GeForce 2 MX that powers the Abit Siluro MX we?re looking at today. 

nVidia found themselves in a dominant position when one of their main competitors missed a product cycle.  They?re high-end chipset sat alone at the top of all the benchmarks?so, why not make an entry-level chip and see how we fare in the budget market?  That must have been the thought on nVidia?s mind when contemplating the GeForce 2 MX.  To put things in very simple terms, nVidia took their powerful GeForce 2 GTS chip, removed 2 pixel pipelines, lowered the clockspeed and installed standard SDRAM, resulting in a fairly powerful, relatively inexpensive product. 

Abit, most recognized for their excellent overclocking motherboards, saw the potential in the booming add-in market, decided to venture into it and the Siluro line of video boards was born.  Davo took a look at the Abit Siluro GF256 GTS 64MB DDR a little while back.  Today we?ve got it?s little brother in the labs.  Let?s find out what happens when Abit and nVidia collaborate on an entry-level product?

                 
Click to Enlarge all Images.

Specifications Of Abit Siluro MX
Look Familiar?


 

Incorporates NVidia?s GeForce2 MX processor:

  • HyperTexel architecture with 4 texels per clock

  • 175MHz core clockspeed

  • 166 MHz SDRAM clockspeed

  • Integrated 350MHz RAMDAC (resolutions up to 2048x1536, True Color @ 60Hz)

  • 20M Triangles/sec through T&L and Set-up

  • 700-Mtexel fill rate

  • 350-Mpixel fill rate

  • 2 dual-texturing pipelines (4 texels/clock cycle)

  • 4X AGP with Fast Writes/AGP 2X compatible

  • Full acceleration for Microsoft DirectX 7.x and OpenGL 1.2 ICD

  • DirectX Texture Compression support

  • Vivid NTSC/PAL TV-Output with flicker filter

  • Digital TwinView display architecture (supporting simultaneous dual display)

Second Generation GPU Architecture:

  • 100% hardware triangle setup

  • New 3D features: per-pixel shading and lighting for rich, lifelike materials and cinematic effects

  • 2nd Generation Hardware Transform & Lighting Engine

  • Per-pixel Shading: nVidia Shading Rasterizer (NSR) featuring

High Quality TV/Video Output and DVD Playback:

  • Supporting TV: NTSC and PAL TV output in 640x480 and 800x600

  • High Definition Video Processor (HDVP) for full-screen, full-frame video playback

  • TwinView Architecture

  • Simultaneous and independent dual-display control

  • Simultaneous and independent support RGB Monitor and TV output

The specifications of the Abit Siluro MX read like virtually all other MX reference designs?which is not necessarily a bad thing!  The only real drawback of these MX boards is the use of standard SDRAM.  Obviously to keep the prices low (you can find many MX boards for around $100) manufacturers such as Abit must use cheap SDRAM on their boards.  Our Abit Siluro MX came equipped with 6Ns Hyundai RAM clocked at a default speed of 166MHz.

Early Voodoo3 owners should recognize the Hyundai name and remember the high degree of overclockability that it offered.  Unfortunately, standard SDRAM, clock-for-clock offers only half of the bandwidth of DDR SDRAM, widely used with the GeForce and GeForce 2 GTS line of cards.  This results in lower performance at higher resolutions when compared with the older GeForce 1s, even though the MX has a higher theoretical peak fillrate.

Installation and Drivers

 
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