nVidia GeForce 2 MX400

The nVidia GeForce 2 MX400 - Page 3

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

By, Jeff Bouton
April 23, 2001

H.H. Test System


DFI CS60-EC (Intel i815EP) with an Intel PIII @ 933MHz

256MB of Mushkin 2-2-2 Rev. 2 RAM

IBM DTLA307015 15Gig ATA100 7200 RPM Hard Drive

nVidia GeForce 2 MX-400 64MB SDRAM AGP Graphics Card

Plextor PlexWriter 12/10/32

Pioneer 16/40 DVD Rom

Windows Millennium

Direct X 8.0a and nVidia reference drivers V.11.01***


Comparison cards used throughout testing:

nVidia GeForce 2 Ultra 64MB DDR RAM

nVidia GeForce 2 MX 32MB SDRAM

More Benchmarks With The nVidia GeForce 2 MX-400
More OpenGL and Next Gen Stuff...

The next test we'll throw at the MX-400 is Quake 3, another excellent Open GL test.  Maybe we'll see some improved performance with this veteran game...



Then again, maybe we won't.  It seems to me that even though the clock speed of the core has been increased by 14%, the performance of the MX-400 remains virtually the same compared to it's older brother.  Logic seems to reason that it isn't necessarily the increased core speed that should improve the performance but the memory bandwidth.  No matter how you slice it, the two cards have identical bandwidths of 2.7GB per second., which explains the lack of improvement throughout the tests.

The next two tests we ran to see how this card will handle future generations of games.  The first test be that of Serious Sam, a benchmark designed to test a card's ability to handle varying texture fill rates.   We included an Ultra in the tests to see just how taxing this test can be on a high end card, too.  For this test we ran the "coop party_4" test, which is loaded with heavy action that will surely test the mightiest of video cards...

Serious Sam


Well, well, well, this test turned out to quite a challenge even for our trusty GeForce 2 Ultra!  Although these numbers seem low, I have to say that the game itself seemed quite playable even at 1024x768x32 on the MX cards and absolutely beautiful on the Ultra.

The next benchmark will test the cards ability to handle future generation of Open GL games.  Dronez is a benchmark that applies the next generation Open GL architecture.  The reason we ran this is to give you a rough idea of the cards life expectancy in relation to future gaming.


As you can see, Dronez is a workout even for our Ultra card.  But considering the scores of the two MX GPU's, the casual user may actually be able to play some next generation games at 1024x768x16.  Only time will tell.

After reviewing this reference card, it has become increasingly unclear why nVidia has felt the need to offer more variations of the GeForce 2 MX chipset.  I can understand the release of the GeForce 2 MX-200 as a possible solution for the business desktop market, but the introduction of the MX-400 puzzles me.  It?s obvious that tweaking up the core clock speed without improving memory timings is essentially ineffective at providing any appreciable increase in the video card's performance.  So that leaves us to wonder if all the additional choices will do is confuse the budget minded buyer.  The best I can say is that once these cards have be introduced into the market, we should see the price of the original MX start to drop.  If you are in the market for a good budget card, then I would stick with the original MX based card.  If you can get a GeForce 2 MX 400 for the price of an MX, then grab it, otherwise it doesn?t make sense to pay more for the same performance.   As a budget video card, the GeForce 2 MX-400 should offer decent performance for the price.  However, if you are a casual gamer that can spare a few more bucks, I recommend going with a GeForce 2 Pro. 

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

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