Introduction

The advancement of 3D graphics seems almost unparalleled by many of the other achievements recently observed in computing technology. Sure, recent months have seen the arrival of 1 GHz processors and 133 MHz FSB speeds, however a large number of users out there are using this speed for only one thing: 3D graphics. Be it for work or entertainment, it seems that the majority of the speed being gained by faster system components is quickly eaten up by 3D applications or games.

With all the pressure that is placed on achieving maximum 3D performance, each part of a system plays a vital role in dictating how well a given 3D program will work. The problem is that with faster processor speeds becoming more readily available and many users dabbling in the art of overclocking, one system component is often times neglected: the video card.

Ever since the arrival of the 3D revolution, the importance of the video card in a system's speed has increased exponentially. Games and applications no longer suggest a 3D graphics accelerator, they require one. The truth of the matter is that if you are running a TNT on a fairly recent system, you are hurting yourself. The lost speed may not be noticeable in Windows or Word, but once in games such as Quake III Arena or Deus Ex poor video card performance will become a huge bottleneck.

The reason for this is that 3D program and game designers constantly push the limits of what video cards can do. With the current trend in the video card market being 6 month product cycles, developers are willing to bet that if a program does not run smoothly on the current generation of video cards, the next video card will be able to handle the complex operations.

This 6 month cycle, created by graphics chip designer NVIDIA, has undoubtedly altered the face of the 3D graphics market. It seems that only a short time ago we were looking at NVIDIA's prior offering, the GeForce 256 DDR. Now considered "old" by NVIDIA's market standards, it is time to investigate a new realm of high performance 3D graphics cards: those based off of NVIDIA's GeForce 2 GTS graphics processing unit. With seemingly endless GeForce 2 GTS card solutions out there, AnandTech has gathered up some of the most popular and widely available GeForce 2 GTS cards on the market. In the tradition of prior Roundups, AnandTech has taken the hard part out of finding the GeForce 2 GTS card for you, while also investigating the card solutions themselves.

The GPU

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