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  • RageMage's Hardware/Software/Programming/Games and more...
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    Introduction Choosing a Video Card 
    Reviews Complete reviews **NEW**
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    Benchmark Page 

    This page is designed to help you learn more about video cards , give you plenty of information regarding specific video cards , and help you in choosing a video card. 


    So far here are the reviews i will have up soon (or already have!) 
     Apocalypse 3Dx 
     Apocalypse 5D 
     Diamond MONSTER 3D   
     Diamond Stealth II 220S 
     Imagine 128 Series 2  
     Intense 3d pro 100 
     Jaton Blaze 3d 
     Matrox Millenium II 
     Riva 128 cards 
     Tseng Et6000/Et6100 cards 

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    Apocalypse 3Dx: The apocalypse 3Dx is a 3d add-on card from VideoLogic which uses NEC's PowerVR2 3d accelerator. This powerful 3d graphic accelerator from NEC  , though not as powerful as 3dfx's Voodoo, the PowerVR gives the budget concerned PC owner amazing 3d speed and quality. The PowerVR has a few interesting features not present in the Voodoo. The PowerVR has on-the-fly Z-buffering , this means that the PowerVR doesn't have to allocate ANY of its memory for a Z-buffer. This allows the PowerVR to use all of its 4megs for texture storage and allowing the user to run 3d games such as quake in resolutions of 800x600 and up (the voodoo only allows 640x480 in quake) 

     The Apocalypse 3Dx gives the buyer voodoo like performance for a fraction of the cost. Though this chip does not quite meet the standards set by 3dfx's Voodoo chip , it comes close , and adds many features of its own. Plus , PowerVR ready games look DAMN GOOD! (Don't' believe me? get one!) Also , if you have a Fast Computer , prepare for some FAST 3D (PowerVR is VERY CPU dependent , which isn't always a bad thing , which is why it is in + as well as -) 

    As with every video card , each of them has its drawbacks. One drawback of the PowerVR is that it is very CPU dependent , so if you have a slow computer , it will run slow as well. Also , the PowerVR chip is more of a game chip and less of a CAD chip than some of the other 3D accelerators out there. So , if you are more interested in CAD , check out some other 3D accelerators before making your choice. 

    All-in-all , the Apocalypse 3Dx is an excellent choice for 3D accelerator. Combine this card with the right 2D and you'll get performance you won't regret. 


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    Apocalypse 5D (VideoLogic): The Ultimate gaming combo! Tseng's 128bit ET6100 2D accelerator combined with NEC's PowerVR2 3D accelerator , all in one package! The Apocalypse 5D gives you the best DOS graphics plus amazing frame rates in all your favorite games! VideoLogic may have a hit here... 

     Awesome 2D + Great 3D all in one! Best DOS VGA/SVGA performance. etc.. (Check out Tseng ET6000 pluses + Apocalypse 3Dx pluses ) 

    The price. At over 250$ the Apocalypse 5D is one of the most expensive video cards around. The question is how much are you willing to pay for the ultimate gaming system? 

    The Apocalypse 5D's price is to much for me , but nevertheless , it is still a great card (or shall i say 2). If you have the money, a fast computer (i recommend Pentium w/MMX 200+ for best performance) then go for it. If you have a budget limit , I recommend looking at other options. 


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    Diamond Monster 3d: Most of you have probably heard of the Monster 3D. Based on 3dfx's successful voodoo graphic chipset , the Monster 3D provides totally awesome gaming speed with no compromises in quality. With unparalleled gaming support and more ... the Diamond Monster 3D is an excellent choice for any avid gamer. (Note: The Diamond Monster 3D is a 3D only card , which works in conjunction with your existing 2D card) , The  only problem this card really has is the incapacity to run many Z-buffered games at resolutions higher than 640x480. The Upcoming Voodoo 2 should have a remedy for this problem which has plagued Diamond Monster 3D owners. 

    Virtually unbeatable gaming performance and quality. The Diamond Monster 3D is the one of the biggest and baddest 3D card on the market even today! Also , excellent gaming support. Just about every good new game (and some bad ones) have 3dfx support. 

    1 problem w/ the Monster 3D is that it only allocates 2megs for a frame buffer. (Why? Don't ask me why) This leaves no memory for an 800x600 Z-buffer. (800x600x32bit=800x600x4 > 2megs) , However , in some games , such as mechwarrior 2 i have heard it is possible to play on 800x600 mode. 

    If your looking for the ultimate gaming card , look no further than the Monster 3D! Period! 


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    Diamond Stealth II 220s: Priced at only 105$ , the Diamond Stealth II is probably the best deal on the market for the budget concerned shopper. There are many reasons for this. One , is its excellent price. Also , the Stealth II doesn't' scale w/CPU speed , which means on a lower-end computer (what someone who only wants to spend 105$ on a video card most likely has) The Stealth II has one of the top 3D performances available (even faster than the Monster 3d!) This trend continues until the Ppro and PII systems. (Even on the k6/233 , the stealth 2 is usually faster than the Monster 3D). 

    Excellent price. (~105$) Amazing 3D performance , especially on slower computers. Awesome CAD performance as well. 

    2D performance isn't "all that" , Not that great of a performer on the higher-end computers. 

    If you have a non-PII/Ppro system and are mostly interested in 3D performance , I would recommend the Stealth II , with it's amazing 3D performance on slower systems and excellent price , you cant go wrong. Even though it's 2D isn't up to par with the faster 2D cards out there (such as the Millenium II) The Stealth II is nonetheless a great 2D/3D combo card , even when compared to the more expensive RIVA and ATI Xpert@Play/Work. 


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    #9 Imagine 128 Series 2: Another excellent product from #9. The Imagine 128 Series 2 can be thought of as #9's alternative to the Millenium II. It improved upon the original Imagine Series 1 as the Millenium II improved upon the original Millenium. These cards are very similar in that they both have excellent 2D , plus 3D support (though the 3D is not that great). The Imagine 128 Series 2 is geared towards professional use w/it' blazing 2D windows performance. 

    The Imagine 128 Series 2 has many advantages , including stunning 2D , a fully 128bit core for ultra fast throughput , and 3D support coupled with it all. 

    The Imagine 128 Series 2 has one major drawback , it's outrageous price. With a suggested retail price of almost 500$ for a 4meg version (that is NOT a TYPO). Someone must be crazy to even consider this card! (I have found that from some sources , the Series 2 only costs about 150$ , at this price , it is definitely worth considering!) 

     No one is willing to pay 500$ for a 4meg card that can be easily outperformed by cards well under 200$. (The Millenium II is a much better choice , and I expect the Revolution 3D to be an even better choice than that (review pending...) However , If you are one of those lucky ones who can get a hold of this card for under 150$ , It is well worth a look. 


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    Intense 3d Pro 100: One of the many cards based on Rendition's Verite 1000E chipset , this card provides decent 3d speed with excellent quality plus good SVGA 2d performance and 4 megs of EDO DRAM for under 100$. Though this card is overshadowed by some of the newer 3d accelerators such as the NEC PowerVR2 and the 3Dfx Voodoo , this card has it's advantages , as well as it's disadvantages. 

    The Intense 3d Pro 100 has it's advantages. Two major advantages are the Intense 3d's low price and great CAD performance. Though the Intense 3D isn't much of a competitor in games , it's programmable RISC engine makes it a powerful competitor for high-end 3D CAD programs. 

    As with all cards , the Intense 3d Pro has it's drawbacks. (how many times have a i started the  -es section with this?...) One major drawback is The Intense 3D's poor VGA performance. Not that many people care about 320x200 anymore , but it is a weakness. Also , The Intense 3D is not much of a competitor any more , as a low budget Card it is an ideal solution , but as newer better cards come out , the Intense 3d Pro 100 will be left in the dust. 

    If you only have 100$ to spend and want 3D acceleration , this card is the way to go. It has great quality 3D at a decent speed , plus it's 2D acceleration is adequate. Then again , if you want cutting edge 2D/3D this card is not the way to go. 


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    Jaton Blaze 3d: This card (along with jaton) do a great job of convincing you that this is the best card ever created. Unfortunately , this did not work on me. (It almost did , until I saw it was a trident chipset) 
    If you looked at the Jaton page,  you will see that the Blaze 3d seems to kill all of its competition in 2D and in 3D , when this is in fact not true. First of all , the Blaze uses a Trident chip , and we all know what kind of chips trident make... It is true that the card has above average 2D performance , but it's 3D isn't anywhere near what is advertised. 

    Good , if not excellent , 2D acceleration. Trident broke their streak of horrible chipsets by making the Trident 3D 975. Unfortunately , the '3D' shouldn't be included in the name of this chip. 

    Poor 3D performance. Regardless of what the benchmarks say , this card has poor 3D performance. 

    Even though this card doesn't live up to what its advertised to be , it is still a good card for those needing fast 2D and some 3D acceleration. I think Trident has done a good job with this chip , and if they continue , people might actually start buying their products! (Other than my school) 


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    Matrox Millenium II: The Matrox Millenium II. Matrox's successor to their ever popular Matrox Millenium. Once again , Matrox has succeeded in making another killer chip. This chip is one big bad mother f**ker! With support for up to 16megabytes of WRAM and the its amazing 2D acceleration , this chip is surely going to be the king for a long time. 

    FAST!...extremely FAST! The Millenium II has the fastest 2D and DirectDraw performance i have ever seen (even though the et6100 is VERY close in DDraw). Plus , with up to 16 megs of RAM , the millenium II is ideal for intense graphic programs such as 3D studio or AutoCAD. 

    Yes , even this Video Powerhouse has its downs. One problem with the Millenium is it's 3D quality (not the speed , its FAST alright...) , aside from that the Millenium is the perfect chip..right? Actually... the Millenium , though extremely fast and reliable , doesn't have many uses. The reason is its price tag. At 200+$ for a 4 meg version , the Millenium is one of the most expensive cards out there. If someone is looking for great gaming , they shouldn't get this card because the et6000 w/Monster 3D or Apocalypse 5D or Hercules StringRay128/3D are all much better deals. Also , a person into heavy duty CAD would be better off with the Rendition Verite 2200 (which will be seen in the Hercules Thriller3D) because this chip has much better 3D performance (speed and quality) , plus it allows up to 16 megs of Ram as well as having excellent 2D accelleration. Basically , the Millenium isn't all the great of a card , because there is no use for it. It is best suited for someone looking for all around speed , mostly focusing on windows 2D. (I know what i said sounds very bad ,,, i was never good at english) 

    What i am trying to say about this card is that , even though it is an excellent (if not the best overall) card , there isn't many uses for it , because it isn't specialized. As i mentioned above , a gamer wouldn't need it , neither would a professional. The Millenium II is a great card , however i would never buy it. (Only to get benchmarks for this page ... but i will need money first...) 


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    Riva 128 Cards: The Riva 128 is the successful chipset made by nVidia used in many of the 2nd (or 3rd if you like it that way) 3D cards. It is found in the STB Velocity 128 , Canopus's Total3D 128V , and Diamond's Viper 330 just to name a few. (I will most likely treat these as separate cards in the future , however , for now , you will be stuck with 1 review for all of these) This card has the best 3D performance i have yet encountered. (with the exception of OpenGL) Plus , this card gives you excellent quality rivaling that of the Monster 3D. It looks like RIVA has taken the top spot in the 3D market... 

    Excellent quality and not to mention SUPER FAST 3D. The RIVA is the fastest 3D card as of this date. Decent price , at under 200$ , you get the Fastest 3D card plus good 2D acceleration as well. (The RIVA is 2d/3d combined , if i havent mentioned it above) 

    The RIVA does have a few -es , but not many. One is it's medicore 2D. The 2D is good , however , it is no match for other 200$ cards such as the Millenium II. Also , the RIVA suffers from the fact that it can only support up to 4megs of RAM , while AGP uses some of it's features to store textures in main memory , however , this is much slower than the 1.6G/sec bandwith of the SGRAM on the RIVA chip. 

    If you are looking for an All-around card w/great 3D and decent 2D , the RIVA is the card for you. Those of you who are looking at high-end CAD preformers or good 2D w/3D , would be better off with another card. 


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    Tseng ET6000/ET6100 Cards:  Probably my favorite chipset , these chipsets provide ultimate DOS VGA/SVGA performance combined with excellent DirectDraw. The chip comes with 2-4 megs of MDRAM , a special RAM which can be accesed via the ET6000's 128bit data path even with only 2 megs on the card. (For some reason , the 2 meg cards preform much slower than their 4 meg counterparts..i don't know why , ask tseng about it). The ET6000 is found in many vendors products including Jaton's video58-P , VideoLogic's Star600 , STB's lightspeed 128 , Hercules's Dynamite/128 and more... The ET6100 is found in VideoLogic's Apocalypse 5d (combined with NEC's PowerVR2 3d Accelerator) 

    The Et6000/et6100 provides unbeatable DOS gaming performance combined with one of the top GUI acceleration of any card out there. Plus you get all of this for under 70$ for the 4 meg version! This card is by far the best buy and its preformance/price ratio is at least double that of any other card. 

    The Et6000 has 2 major drawbacks , and those are no 3d acceleration. (It still outpreforms most 3d cards with software emulation) , and a poor 135mhz RAMDAC, (the Et6100 has 170 or 175). Besides that , this is a virtually perfect card. 

    For 70$ there is nothing better that this card.(period) (unless your looking for 3d acceleration) 


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    Diamond Monster 3D 
    Oak  Technologies Warp 5 
    STB Velocity 128 3D 

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    Upcoming reviews: 
     ATI Xpert@Play/Work  
     Diamond FireGL 1000 Pro 
     Hercules Stingray 128/3D  
     Hercules Thriller 3D  
     Jazz Outlaw 3D 
     #9 Revolution 3D  
     Tseng Et6300 

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