Nvidia launched the GeForce at the tail end of last year. This was its first graphics processing unit and raised the stakes in the war of the textured pixel. Within only three months, a version of the card that incorporated DDR RAM was on the shelves.
The new type of memory widened the bandwidth bottleneck that limited the performance of the processor and placed the GeForce DDR firmly at the top of every hardcore gamer's wish list. Now, while the GeForce remains unchallenged, the GeForce2 has arrived to beat off any would be rival.
Creative's 3DBlaster GeForce2 GTS installs into your system as easily as Jeremy Clarkson into the front seat of a Ferrari. From the software's intuitively designed front-end - or 'Blaster Control Display Center' - you immediately get a real feel for the raw power sitting in your AGP slot.
Full diagnostics and monitor control enable you to tune all elements of your computer's display until you attain your perfect gaming environment, and you're left in no doubt that this card is a games enthusiast's dream. Refresh rates reach the dizzy heights of 2048 x 1536 at a respectable 75Mhz ensuring that 2D performance and oversize monitors are well catered for.
Key features of the GeForce2 GTS include 32Mb of DDR RAM, AGP 4X support and a Ramdac operating at 350Mhz. This alone does not account for the impressive increase in performance, however.
The GeForce2 blueprint winds up the clock speed of the core by 66 per cent to 200Mhz and given each of the four independent rendering pipelines, the ability to perform two texture operations per pixel per clock cycle becomes possible. This gives us a staggering 1.6 gigatexels per second (200 x 4 x 2) and means that playability for Quake III at 1600 x 1200 x 32 is no longer a dream. There are further improvements in the transform and lighting engines as well as excellent per-pixel shading and lighting abilities.
If you're looking for extra features from a new graphics card, the 3DBlaster GeForce2 GTS is possibly not the best way to invest £250. The only bundled game is Rage Rally, and while DVD performance is solid, it is somewhat compromised by the lack of a TV-out capability. Neither is there any onboard MPEG capture.
Asking a GeForce 256 DDR owner to upgrade to the new GeForce2 GTS while his current video card remains largely unchallenged by even the most recent software releases, might be somewhat optimistic. That said though, anyone contemplating upgrading to an original GeForce 256-based product, would be recommended to retrain their sights on a GeForce2 GTS.
Creative have also pledged to release the latest Annihilator drivers within days of any new Nvidia drivers being released, ensuring that the product is always running to the peak of its abilities.