I didn't perform exhaustive benchmarks, but I played some solo Unreal Tournament with 4 skilled
bots and turned on Frame Rate Display. My average frame rate was about 20.5-22
fps for all resolutions from 640x480 through 1024-768, indicating that I was CPU
limited and that the video card was not my bottleneck. At 1024x768 with 32
bit color and detail textures my frame rates did start to go below 20. Video
quality was excellent. The difference between 16 and 32 bit color IS noticeable, no matter
what the 3dfx adherents say. I found the pictures to be much more vibrant at
32 bit. Games like System Shock 2 and Unreal Tournament looked much better than they did
on my Voodoo. Because I was CPU limited, overclocking the video cards with the
tweak utility did not help my frame rates.
It should be noted that the card easily overclocked to the limits of the
tweak utility slider for the memory and the core. For the memory, the SGRAM
chips are Samsung -5, which means they are rated to 200 Mhz. Setting the slider
from 166 to 195 isn't even an overclock! The core hit 142 Mhz probably due to
the well bonded heat sink and fan. The Smart Doctor utility reported an increase in temperature from 63 to 69 deg C when I overclocked the core to 142. Asus used a nice layer of white thermal paste
between the chip and heatsink instead of taking the easy way out and using the
more common thermal sticky pad.
The documentation for the 3D glasses suggest that a minimum refresh rate of
100 Hz be used. I tested at 640x480 at 120 Hz. First of all, the glasses don't
fit well and are front heavy. I had to perch them pretty far down on my nose to
see through the lenses instead of the bottoms. The 3D works through, and the
initial impression is awesome. Drakan had some neat effects, but I couldn't get
rid of double vision, which was especially bad on text. I had to flip up the
glasses to work with my inventory. Rollcage was better, with the double vision
only noticeable on the setup pages and not during the race. Overall, the glasses
started to hurt after an hour of use. They are a fun gimmick, but the technology
isn't quite ready to be used consistently, not to mention that the glasses look
goofy as heck.
Video images on the TV input port come out pretty good on the capture window, with some aliasing-type jaggedness, but I don't think that can be helped. The video input is an S-video connector, and an adapter cable is provided for composite connections. My previous experience with a similar converter on a TV out port was poor, but I saw no problems with this one. Capture resolutions from 88x60 to 704x480 may be selected. I found that I had to turn up
the brightness a bit from the default, but adjustments are there and effects are
shown in real time. I didn't test TV out, but both S-video and composite connections are available on the card.
I used the bundled AsusDVD Player application to play a DVD movie on my monitor. The controls on the application are very complete, allowing easy image adjustments and chapter selection. I had to turn up the brightness again, but I was happy with the picture quality. The only slowdowns I saw were during the initial splash screen, and when I would resize the window. The image also would got choppy when I tried to multitask with Internet Explorer while the movie was running.
I loved this card for what it was made for: fast, pretty 3D rendering. Asus
did a fantastic job of implementing nVidia's chipset and added good cooling and
SGRAM to set them apart from other card manufacturers. The Deluxe version is
worthwhile if the user is interested in the video input and output features, but
the 3D glasses aren't really worth it. I'd rather see the glasses left out and
the price reduced, but if you are willing to spend the money, I highly recommend
the Asus V6x00 line.