Leadtek's Winfast GeForce2 GTS

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The Leadtek Winfast GeForce2 GTS
The next generation GeForce makes its HotHardware debut

5/5/00

By Dave "Davo" Altavilla

 
HotHardware's Test System
The usual performance rig...

Full Tower ATX Case w/ 300W PS, Pentium III 866EB,  Soyo SY-6ICA i820 Motherboard 128MB of  800MHz (400MHz. DDR) RDRAM, WD Expert AC418000 7200 RPM ATA66 Hard Drive, Kenwood 72X CDROM, Leadtek Release Drivers based on NVidia version 5.16, Win 98SE, DirectX 7.0a

 
Benchmarks With The Winfast GeForce2 GTS
What she's got!

 

Set back at the card's default clock speed, we decided to see what impact Full Scene Anti-Aliasing has on the GeForce2 GTS as well as larger textures. 

Quake3 Arena

Again, impressive scores to say the least with FSAA turned off.  In 16 bit color FSAA is very playable even at 1024X768.  However, in the 32 bit color scores, you can see that FSAA takes its toll.  Again, I tend to compare 2X FSAA scores on the Voodoo5 PREview to the FSAA scores here because I feel the image quality is comparable.  You may not feel this way with respect to the image quality of both cards, so come to your own conclusions.  Regardless, if you want FSAA on the GeForce2 GTS currently, you will most likely have to revert back to 16 bit color.

Let's see what impact large textures have on the Winfast GeForce2 GTS.  We took the Texture Resolution Slider in Quake3 Arena and set it to maximum. 

As you can see here, using high texture detail in Quake3 arena barely puts a dent in the scores.  Two to Three frames per second, on average, is the penalty at the higher resolutions.  I say, turn the eye candy up to full and enjoy! 

 

So, now you that you have seen what a released, production ready GeForce2 card from a real NVidia OEM can do, what do you think?  Sure, there have been plenty of NVidia reference card reviews out there but you can't buy a reference card, can you?  Our take on the Leadtek Winfast GeForce2 GTS and the chip that drives it, is that it has a lot of promise.  However, clearly this card still needs a little polishing with respect to compatibility across multiple platforms.  This is not unusual for NVidia based products we have tested in the past.  A few BIOS and driver revisions later, things tend to iron out pretty well.  It is your choice, you can dive in now and take your chances or wait and see how things develop.  We will of course keep you updated on the status of the Winfast GeForce2 GTS and if things improve, we'll revise this review and the rating.


Update 5/16/00

As we had suspected, the Leadtek card we received about 2 weeks ago was still a little bit rough around the edges.  This was no surprise with all of the scrambling there has been in the 3D Graphics Market, to get new products out the door before the competition.  Leadtek sent us out a newer revision of the Winfast GeForce2 GTS which eliminated any incompatibilities and instability we had experienced with the two BX chipset based motherboards, we had tested it in previously.

We were able to run the Winfast in both the Soyo Sy-6BA+IV and Abit BE6 Motherboards we have here in the Hot Hardware Lab.  At this point in time, it seems as if this card will only tolerate a 66 MHz. AGP bus within specifications.  When tried to run at an FSB higher than 100MHz., the card would still lock up in testing.  However you need to remember, that there are other NVidia and other manufacturer cards on the market today, that will not tolerate this.  Also, the BX chipset does not officially support the PC133 spec and with its 1/1 or 2/3 divider, thus overclocks the AGP bus at anything above 100MHz.  It really depends on the manufacturer and sometimes even the model of the card, whether or not it will handle this type set up.  Again, perhaps a BIOS revision will improve this for the Winfast in the future.

Here are scores we took on what we would call a fairly "mainstream system" with a Pentium !!! on a 100MHz. FSB @ 600MHz. with the Abit BE6 Intel BX Chipset based Motherboard.  These scores were taken at the High Quality Setting with  Maximum Texture Quality.

Again, these are impressive numbers all around for the Winfast GeForce2 GTS.  A few of you in our Hot Hardware audience, were interested in knowing how the card will perform on a lower end system.  While the P3-600 and BX chipset is no slouch, you can see here what a "budget box" can do with the GeForce2.  Not too shabby at all.

With these better results on our BX testbed, we decided to revise our rating of the Winfast GeForce2 GTS.  The score below is reflective of this update.


For now, NVidia has a leg up in the battle for Frame Rate Dominance but clearly 3dfx seems to have FSAA nailed down a little better.  We think there are obvious advantages to both competing technologies.  However, your personal preference and gaming needs should come into play when making your decision on what will be your next graphics upgrade.  Keep in mind boards from various vendors and chipset manufacturers are just now being released.  There is a lot to choose from and that is a great problem to have.

We give the Leadtek Winfast GeForce2 GTS a HotHardware Heat Meter rating of....

 

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To HotHardware!

 
Tags:  GeForce, GTS, Win, GeForce2, force, leadtek, GT, fast, DT, EA, K

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