When first introduced with the Real3D Starfighter, Intel's 740 Graphics Chipset quickly re-wrote the standard for desktop 3D acceleration. For years we had pursued the thought of running our games at 640 x 480 at 30 frames per second or higher, and with one swift motion of their wand Intel quickly upped the standard to 800 x 600.
The HOT-158 from Shuttle is available in only an Accelerated Graphics Port 2X interface, which takes advantage of the ability to transfer on the sidebands of the AGP Bus (rising and falling edges - comparable to drinking water from the entire mouth of a bottle vs drinking water out of a straw, you get more if you make use of the entire mouth of the bottle, or in this case you get more bandwidth if you transfer along the entire "length," including sidebands, of the AGP Bus). Due to this increased bandwidth, the texture memory, a normal limitation for 3D acceleration, can be entirely removed from the card itself which will retrieve textures from the System RAM via the AGP Bus.
Where even the 12MB Voodoo2 cards fail is in their ability to run at 1024 x 768 in 3D games, the Shuttle HOT-158, like all other i740 based 3D accelerators, picks up the pieces supporting resolutions up to 1024 x 768 in games such as Acclaim's colored lighting wonder, Forsaken.
Compared to the Real3D Starfighter AGP card, the HOT-158 is considerably shorter in length, this is a direct result of Shuttle's decision to include all 8MB of SDRAM on board, using 4 - 2MB chips instead of providing users with 4MB on-board accompanied by a SO-DIMM expansion slot.
|Another noticeable difference between Shuttle's i740 and the Starfighter is the size of the heatsink on the i740 chip. The heatsink on the Starfighter seems to be a bit of overkill, Shuttle opted for a smaller unit that closely resembles the heatsinks used on BX chipsets. It could well be that the engineers Shuttle had a few extra units laying around after working on their highly anticipated BX motherboard and decided to pop one on the HOT-158. The size difference in the heatsink between the Starfighter and the HOT-158 is insignificant as far as reliability is concerned, however as far as the price goes, the difference is apparent.|
The HOT-158 from Shuttle was never intended to be a head to head competitor of Real3D's Starfighter, however the job was sort of thrust upon it unexpectedly. The HOT-158 is an OEM i740 board, meaning it was never intended to be sold with a huge software bundle, it is in this category that the Starfighter dominates the competition. If you can get past that, then the 158, with optional TV-Out, quickly becomes a low-cost 8MB wonder and threatens the Real3D throne.