Since the announcement of the GeForce 2 GTS processor from NVIDIA a little over a month ago, we have been swamped with video cards based of this new GPU. With the quick availability of the chip, it seems that almost every manufacturer has jumped on the GeForce 2 GTS train at record speeds. NVIDIA proved that it is no longer necessary to wait months before a product based on a new technology is available to the consumer, as ELSA showed with the release of its GLADIAC card 5 days after the GTS's announcement. The following weeks produced a slew of GeForce 2 GTS based cards, each having its own unique selling point added in an attempt to out feature and out sell the competition. This is easily reflected by the current GeForce 2 GTS cards readily available now: the GLADIAC features an impressive 6-year warrantee, Hercules/Guillemot adds RAM heatsinks to its 3D Prophet II GTS to lure consumers, ASUS outfits the V7700 Pure with advanced hardware monitoring, and the Leadtek WinFast GeForce 2 GTS sells extra cooling with its oversized heatsink.

With all the power of the competition, how does Creative Labs, with its long awaited 3D Blaster Annihilator 2, plan on gaining any of this elusive market share? A quick glance at the card proves that there is nothing noteworthy on the surface, no toys, gizmos, or eye candy to make the card fly off the shelves. So how does this stealthy champion plan on attacking shelf space and enticing consumers?

The key is the price. With every other card retailing at a price of $350 a card, Creative Labs undercuts the competition by slashing prices. Would you believe that this GeForce 2 GTS based card will retail for $299? Well, it is true: the 3D Blaster Annihilator 2 will be the least expensive GeForce 2 GTS card out there by $50. On top of this, add the dominating market presence that only a 1.2 billion dollar company with more than 230 distributors can have, and you have an equation that ensures success. Or do you? In order to find out, we need to examine the 3D Blaster Annihilator 2 and determine if its low cost is a reflection of low quality or if Creative Labs does have a clear winner on their hands. To begin, let us look the the 3D Blaster Annihilator 2's specifications.

Key Features

Powered by the NVIDIA GeForce 2 GTS
Advanced 256-bit graphics architecture
AGP 4X with Fast Writes support
Integrated high speed 350 MHz RAMDAC
32MB of Double Data Rate (DDR) memory effectively operating at 333 MHz
5.3 GB/sec of dedicated graphics memory bandwidth

Features and Benefits:

  • Powered by the GeForce 2 GTS - the worlds first gigatexel shading GPU from NVIDIA
  • Advanced 256-bit graphics architecture
  • AGP 4X with Fast Writes support
  • Hardware full-scence anti-aliasing (FSAA)
  • NVIDA Shading Rasterizer (NSR) - multi-operation single pass rasterizer
  • 32MB of Double Data Rate (DDR) memory effectively operating at 333 MHz
  • 5.3 GB/sec of dedicated graphics memory bandwidth
  • Four independent pixel pipelines capable of rendering up to 8 texels per clock cycle to deliver fill rates of up to 1.6 Gigatexels per second
  • 2nd-generation transform and lighting (T&L) engines processes up to 25 million triangles per second
  • Optimized Direct3D and OpenGL acceleration with comprehensive support
  • Advanced per-pixel, perspective-correct texturing including per-pexel shading and lighting, cube environment mapping, per-pixel bump mapping, light and reflection maps and texture compression (DXTC, S3TC)
  • High performance 2D, GUI, and DirectDraw
  • Screen resolutions of up to 2048x1536 optimized for 32, 16 and 8-bit per pixel color depths
  • Flicker free refresh rates up to 240Hz
  • Video Advanced digital video processing for DirectShow, MPEG1, MPEG2
  • Enhanced motion compensation for full screen, full motion video playback
  • Multi-tap bilinear video scaling and filtering
  • Multiple video windows with hardware color space conversion and filtering
  • DVD sub-picture alpha blended compositing
  • Software bundle includes:
    • Enhanced BlasterControl 4.0
    • LAVA! Music Video Player
    • Media Ring Talk
    • E-Color Colorific
    • 3Deep
    • GeForce 2 GTS Demo

Refresh Rate Support

Resolution

Color

Max Refresh Rate (Hz)

640 x 480

256/65K/16M

60 - 240

800 x 600

256/65K/16M

60 - 240

1024 x 768

256/65K

60 - 240

1024 x 768

16M

60 - 200

1152 x 864

256/65K

60 - 200

1152 x 864

16M

60 - 170

1280 x 960

256/65K

60 - 170

1280 x 960

16M

60 - 150

1280 x 1024

256/65K

60 - 170

1280 x 1024

16M

60 - 150

1600 x 900

256/65K

60 - 150

1600 x 900
16M
60 - 120
1600 x 1200
256/65K
60 - 120
1600 x 1200
16M
60 - 100
1920 x 1080
256/65K
60 - 100
1920 x 1080
16M
60 - 85
1920 x 1200
256/65K
60 - 100
1920 x 1200
16M
60 - 85
1920 x 1440
256/65K
60 - 85
1920 x 1440
16M
60 - 75
2048 x 1536
256/65K
60 - 75
2048 x 1536
16M
60
The Card

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