Hercules 3D Prophet 4500

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The Hercules 3D Prophet 4500 - Page 2

The Hercules 3D Prophet 4500
Kyro II Powered Goodness...

By, Marco "BigWop" Chiappetta
July 12, 2001

INSTALLATION:

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.  Thankfully this was easily disabled.

Drivers, Features, Screen Shots and The Card itself
No nVidia chip on this puppy...

 

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...

 

THE CARD:

 

                   

 

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.

 

     

 

Further exploration 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 interesting.  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...

 

THE DRIVERS:

 

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.

 

                 
MAIN   SCREEN                                     DIRECTX PROP.                                    OPENGL PROP.

 

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. 

 

3D / 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 available...

 

                           
2X  HOR.                                                2X VERT.                                               4X FSAA

 

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.

 

Direct X Benchmarking...

 
Tags:  3D, hercules, pro, HET

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