We installed the 3D
Prophet 4500 without incident. Like
virtually all other video cards, we inserted the 3D
Prophet into our AGP slot, turned on our test
machine, installed the drivers from the included CD-Rom
and we were off and running.
During the course of
our review, Hercules released a new set of drivers.
All of our testing was done using the latest v7.114
drivers. Installation of the downloaded
drivers also went smoothly. A simple download
and a double-click later and our drivers were up to date.
There was one minor annoyance to report though...
By default the splash
screen above is flashed during boot-up.
was easily disabled.
Features, Screen Shots and The Card itself
No nVidia chip on this
As we usually do with
any new product that enters our lab, we gave the
Hercules 3D Prophet 4500 a thorough physical
inspection before we placed it into our AGP slot...
First off, we noticed
the "Blue Orb" like cooler mounted to the Kyro II.
The cooler is mounted via a set of spring clips, so
it is easily removed should would-be overclockers
wish to replace it with something a little more
efficient. We pulled the cooler off of our card
to see what type of thermal interface material (TIM)
was being used between the core and heatsink.
We were pleased to find thermal paste, but its
application was poor and covered only about 25% of
the core. In Hercules' defense though, the
Kyro II core only consumes about 4 watts of power,
so very little heat is produced...Hercules probably
could have gotten by with a simple passive heatsink.
The cooler's application, although not perfect, is
still more than sufficient.
Here is the "naked" Kyro
II core. Nothing exciting to see, but we
figured you'd want to take a look at it. :-) We
should mention that before re-applying the cooler,
we covered the core with an even layer of Artic
Silver thermal compound, so our card probably ran
SLIGHTLY cooler than stock.
doesn't yield any major items worth mentioning.
Unless you opt for the version with TV-Out, the
front plate will only house a standard DB15 analog
monitor connector. When we took a close look
at the memory, we did find something rather
If you take a look at this link, you'll see that
the Samsung modules used on our board were rated to
run at a maximum of 200MHz. Because of this you would think that
there should be a fair amount of headroom for overclocking. This wasn't the case with our
card though...more on that topic later...
Installed with the
drivers is a simple utility that displays
information about the card, contacts at Hercules,
the version of
DirectX installed and other useful system information.
The main display
properties tab, DirectX properties tab and OpenGL
properties tab are all laid out cleanly, and offer easy
access to the more advanced settings.
Noticeably absent though is an overclocking utility.
2D IMAGE QUALITY:
We did not capture too
many screenshots to spotlight the visual quality of
the 3D Prophet 4500 (because it is so subjective), but here are sampling of screenshots from
Quake 3 using the different FSAA methods
The screenshot on the
left is using the 3D Prophet 4500's 2X Horizontal
sampling FSAA, the middle shot 2X Vertical and to
the far right we have 4X FSAA (all of them were
taken at 1024x768x32). Quake 3 may not be the
best game to showcase FSAA, but you'll still get a
good idea of the 3D Prophet's image quality.
A great feature of the
Kyro II is that all rendering is done internally at
32 Bit color. If you prefer gaming at 16 Bit
color, the output remains excellent because images
are originally rendered in 32 Bit color and dithered
down to 16. Throughout all of our gaming
tests, the Kyro II's output was top-notch. We
did not experience any visual anomalies at all.
The problems that plagued early driver revisions
seem to have been resolved. Kudos to Hercules
for the rapid driver development.
We also did not
experience any incompatibilities or instabilities
using the 3D Prophet 4500. We installed the
card on both Via and Intel based motherboards and
did not have any problems with either.
2D image quality is also
excellent. Text was crisp and colors were
bright and vivid. We initially suspected the
2D image quality would not be on par with cards that
use a faster RAMDAC (most GF2s, GF3s and Radeons
have 350MHz RAMDACs). The 300MHz RAMDAC is
definitely adequate though.