Absolute Multimedia Outrageous 3D Graphics GeForce DDRby Matthew Witheiler on February 9, 2000 1:18 AM EST
- Posted in
In order to keep costs down, the Outrageous 3D Graphics GeForce is based on NVIDIA's reference board design. While not a bad thing, this does cut down on the number of additional features that a card can have. Also, it is often hard to see any real differences between reference design boards. However, these two issues were of no concern to Absolute Multimedia when developing the Outrageous 3D Graphics GeForce: the goal was quite obviously to produce a budget GeForce DDR card. Many other companies also use the NVIDIA reference design and leave off additional features, but none have come close to the price of the Outrageous 3D Graphics GeForce.
Due to the fact that the card is a reference board, many of the features found on it are the same as other DDR GeForce cards we have reviewed. The GeForce GPU, which runs at NVIDIA's suggested speed of 120 MHz, is cooled via the same low profile heatsink and fan found on almost every reference board. Absolute Multimedia actually did take the higher road in the way that they attached the heatsink and fan to the GPU, as they use a very sparing amount of thermal grease. Providing effective heat transfer between the heatsink and the fan, the thermal grease will help any overclocker on his or her quest.
The RAM used on the Outrageous 3D Graphics GeForce is the same RAM that we have seen in every other DDR board. Having eight 4 MB Infineon 6 ns SGRAM chips arranged on the front and back of the card, the Outrageous 3D Graphics GeForce looks almost identical to the other GeForce cards we have seen. Fortunately for Absolute Multimedia, it also leaves the Outrageous 3D Graphics GeForce running at the same speeds of other DDR GeForce cards, NVIDIA's recommended speed of 300 MHz (150 MHz x 2). As stated before, the reason for lack of variety in DDR SGRAM chips is due to the fact that only Infineon, formally known as SIEMENS Semiconductors, manufactures DDR chips for video card use in mass quantities. In addition, due to the fact that Infineon currently only makes 6 ns chips, we have not seen any other DDR RAM chips as of yet.
Another feature that Absolute Multimedia chose to put on the card is one that we usually think of as a higher-end toy: S-Video out. Powered by the same Brooktree chip that found its home on almost every TNT-2 with video out, the Brooktree 869 chip is also finding its way into many GeForce cards. The reference design allows for easy placement of the chip and required output connector, making manufacture of the S-Video out feature very painless. It was quite a pleasant surprise to find such a feature on such a low cost card, as some more expensive DDR GeForce cards do not have this feature.
I know what many of you are thinking now: with so many good things going for it, why is the Outrageous 3D Graphics GeForce selling for about $25 less than the lower priced the competition? The answer is simple: quality. In this case, we are not talking about the quality of the production or the quality of the included chips, we are speaking of the 2D quality for it is here that Absolute Multimedia has appeared to skimped. Every card has filters between the RAMDAC and the VGA output of a card, in fact these are essential for the card function. Absolute Multimedia has apparently used these filters to cut corners. By cutting costs by using lesser quality filters, Absolute Multimedia has created a problem for itself when in higher resolutions such as 1600x1200. At these resolutions, text becomes unclear, graphics become blurry, and the screen remains almost indecipherable While this may not be a problem for many out there with smaller monitors, the low quality provides a definite draw back for those with larger monitors. In addition, even a buyer who uses lower resolutions may one day encounter this plague. As monitor prices continue to fall and larger screen sizes become more standard, upgrades are likely. It is a bad thought to think that your eyes may be hurting you one day because your DDR GeForce card manufacturer chose to cut corners.