First look at the card and it appears fairly standard. Same so-so heatsink, although Guillemot added a twist. Thermal paste, and not that crappy thick thermal epoxy that is never quite even or centered, is what I found under the sink. Nice touch, but again with that small sink, it's hard to be impressed by paste alone. For now they will get the benefit of the doubt.
Funny thing happened when I installed the new card. I am running Windows ME, and set the driver to standard PCI graphics before slapping in the new Prophet. When it rebooted it saw the new card, I pointed at the CD for the drivers that were shipped, however ME wanted to hang on to a lot of the files from the Detonator 5.30's I had previously installed with the Elsa board.
I thought to myself oh hell, now this is going to be fun. Now I get to scrub the system and reload an OS because of driver issues. I decided out of sheer stupidity and lack of judgment to try it like it was and see how it all turned out. To my surprise it worked out just fine. Almost like a driver milkshake of OEMs and Detonators. Once you see the numbers you will agree that this glitch in now way hampered the tests or the card in anyway. If you don't agree, feel free to come on over and do the OS reinstall for me. I have done it 4 times in the last week from messing around with the new OS and it keeps biting me, so I felt little desire to do it again if it didn't need to be.
I started off at default core and memory settings for a round of 3D Marks 2K, and some Q3 to get an idea of how this would all go. Stock settings for this card were 130 MHz core, 301 MHz memory. Here is what happened for the first run through. I used two settings for each bench, low quality low res and high quality hi res.
Test System Specs
Aopen AX64 Pro w/onboard sound
P!!! 550e Slot 1 Coppermine @ 825
64MB PC133 CAS3
Quantum 6gig UDMA33 (no laughing, the WD 10gig ATA66 took a dump)
Aopen 40X CDROM
Intel Pro 10/100
AMK MidTower Custom Case
High quality was with all the goodies on except simple items and synch every frame. Fastest was just that, fastest..
I ran many marks in between the default numbers to come up with the max. useable core and memory settings without any freezing of scenes or textural artifacts. This is what I came out with, a decent core frequency of 160 MHz, and an outstanding final resting speed of 370 MHz on the memory! Keep in mind this is with the stock board, no extra cooling or modifications in any way. I got the thing to run at 165 core and 375 memory, but it would create artifacts and freezing in the benches and that is not acceptable for play so they were thrown out.
We see as with other reviews of the
GeForce, the OC'ing and gains in frame rates only start to appear at the higher
resolutions where the card really starts to flex its muscle. For a card with no
additional cooling, the Prophet DDR really OC'd quite well. With a gain of 14.3
frames per second when core and memory are maxed out, this is really a stand up
unit. Just imagine the limits of core and memory with some added cooling?