Of all the graphics card OEMs in the market, Asus is one of
the best at "making it their own".
Software, Drivers and Setup
All sorts of
goodies bundled in
That is to say,
with an Asus GeForce3 card, you don't just get the standard
reference designed board and a driver CD. The models
we tested were "Deluxe" versions versus the more basic
"Pure" models that Asus offers. Not only are they
nicely customized on the hardware side of things, Asus packs
in a lot of extras with their software bundle and with the
Deluxe models, 3D Stereoscopic Shutter Glasses.
We tested the
performance of the VR100G glasses and we were fairly
impressed with the quality. However, this feature is
more of a novelty for us here at HotHardware. Often, we find
this type of technology more head-ache inducing than
anything else. Comparatively, these glasses were of
higher quality than most that we have seen, they just
weren't our cup of tea however. On the other hand, the
TV In option of this card is right up our alley and we did
test that capability with the addition of the Asus TV-Box
The Asus TVBox
utilizes nVidia Personal Cinema technology to bring TV to
the desktop. The product is sold seperately but for
fairly short money, it incorporates a TV Tuner and does
provide some basic capture functionality as well. This
unit came with a remote sensor as well for remote control of
TV Channel switching and recording. However, for some
reason we couldn't get the remote to work at all.
We're fairly sure we just got a bad unit and have requested
a replacement from Asus.
That didn't stop
us from surfing the TV stations with ease however and Asus'
included "Digital VCR" software is all you need to kill
loads of time in front of the tube. Here is a quick
snapshot of the interface. Click image for full viewing.
Much like the
Intervideo WinDVD Software, that was included with
Visiontek XTasy Everything Personal Cinema pack that we
reviewed not long ago, Asus Digital VCR software
provides TV Tuner and Capture functions with a simple and
slick user interface. It seemed as though it wasn't
quite as convenient or powerful as the Visiontek Personal
Cinema XTasy Everything offering. On the other hand,
this desktop TV function is available to all Asus "Deluxe"
models and allowed us to watch TV on an Asus GeForce3 Ti500
based product, whereas the Visiontek product is only
available with a GeForce2MX 400 at this point in time. On
that note, we'll chalk a big point up for Asus here.
their own "wrapped" version of the nVidia Detonator 4
Drivers. They do provide some addition functionality,
especially for the 3D VR100 Glasses. Here are a few
captures to show you what the drivers are all about.
As you can see,
the Asus drivers that are currently available as well on the
Asus web site, are based on the nVidia 21.81 drivers.
Since these are behind a few revisions, we decided to test
with the more recent 21.85 drivers that nVidia sent us. Also
please note, at the time of testing, nVidia 23.10 drivers
were not available.
includes the handy "Smart Doctor" utility for monitoring the
health of your graphics card. This is a feature that
few manufacturers provide.
You may have
noticed that we deliberately unplugged our cooling fan on
the card, to see if the software would catch a failure like
this. It certainly did catch and warn us of the
malfunction. Again, Asus scores another point with us
Finally just for
the fun factor, here are a few 4X AA screenshots of Id's
Return To Castle Wolfenstein!
You simply can't
beat an great AA and high resolution textures. We even
dialed up the Anisotropic Filtering, so those textures are
that much more sharp and detailed.
Time for the
3DMark, Max Payne and