nVidia GeForce 2 MX400

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The nVidia GeForce 2 MX-400
What's old is what's new...

By, Jeff Bouton
April 23, 2001

Ever since they first introduced the GeForce line of GPU's, nVidia has made it clear that they live by their motto, "We Want to Push Every Pixel on the Planet".  With ever improving models being produced at a feverish pace, they have made it clear to their competition that they are the dominating force to be reckoned with.  By setting deadlines for newer products and executing with precision, the competition began to lose ground. This year alone we've seen the demise of such veterans as 3DFX and S3, leaving nVidia, ATi and Matrox as the only major players still standing. Todate, with the success of the famed GeForce 2 GPU and the impending GeForce 3, it's fairly safe to say that nVidia has taken the lead of the video card market.



Today, nVidia officially releases two more chipsets, the GeForce 2 MX-200 and GeForce 2 MX-400. We'll be taking a look at the MX-400 and comparing it to an original GeForce 2 MX and GeForce 2 Ultra.  According to Brian Burke at nVidia, the goal of the new MX chipsets is to allow OEMs to offer a quality graphics solution at an affordable price.  The expected M.S.R.P. of the GeForce 2 MX-200 is $99, while the GeForce 2 MX-400 will be $129.  Using the new GeForce 2 MX chipsets, video card manufacturers should be able to provide an economical video card that is capable of running today's games as well as tomorrow's.

Unfortunately, I believe offering an additional 2 versions of the MX is going to seriously confuse the average user, so I've outlined the basic differences between the three cards.

Model Memory Bandwidth Fill Rate Memory Options
GeForce2 MX 400 2.7GB/sec.
400M pixels/sec., 800M texels/sec.

64/32MB of either 64-bit DDR or 128-bit SDR RAM

GeForce2 MX

2.7GB/sec.

350M pixels/sec., 700M texels/sec.

64/32MB of either 64-bit DDR or 64/128-bit SDR RAM

GeForce2 MX 200

1.3GB/sec.

350M pixels/sec., 700M texels/sec.
64-bit SDR RAM

Let us go ahead and take a look at the MX-400's specifications and see what it brings to the table. Then we'll pit it against it's older brothers, the GeForce 2 MX and GeForce 2 Ultra.  With these comparisons we'll be able to see just where this new line of MX GPU's fall in the GeForce 2 spectrum.
 

Specifications Of The nVidia GeForce 2 MX-400
Somethings different...

                      

3D Features
  • Nvidia 2nd Generation 256-bit Geforce2 MX-400 GPU
  • Integrated 2nd generation T&L engine
  • 400M pixels/sec.
  • 800 Mtextel Fill Rate
  • 20M triangles/sec setup
  • Nvidia QuadEngine Technology
  • Order independent Full Scene Multisample Anti-aliasing
  • 32-bit color with 32-bit z/stencil
  • DirectX and S3TC texture compression

High performance 256-bit 2D acceleration

  • Optimized for multiple color depths including 32, 24, 16, 15 and 8-bit per pixel
  • True color hardware cursor
  • Multi-buffering (double, triple, quad buffering) for smooth animation and video

Video playback

  • Enhanced Motion Compensation for full screen video playback of all DVD/HDTV resolution
  • Video acceleration for DirectShow, Mpeg 1, Mpeg 2, and indeo
  • 8:1 up scaling and downscaling
  • Multiple video windows with hardware color space conversion and filtering

OS support

  • Windows 95/OSR2, Windows 98, Windows 2000, Windows NT
  • Linux XFree86 4.0.1 (RedHat 6.1)

By increasing the core GPU clock speed from 175MHz, to 200MHz, the GeForce 2 MX-400 can offer a theoretical increase in fill rates of 14% versus the standard MX chip.  Whether that increase will have a major effect on performance compared to the original MX will be determined by the benchmarks later on. 

Quality and Installation

 
Tags:  Nvidia, GeForce, X4, X400, force, id

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