- nVidia GeForce2 MX GPU
The nVidia GeForce2 MX GPU (Graphics Processing Unit) uses the same 0.18-micron fabrication process core and is essentially a cut down version of the original nVidia GeForce2 GTS, much like the Intel Celeron was to the Intel Pentium III, for example. The GeForce2 MX chip has all the advanced graphics features and support as the GeForce2 GTS, just that it operates at 175MHz core clock and 166MHz memory clock as opposed to 200MHz core clock and 333MHz memory clock of the nVidia GeForce2 GTS chip. The nVidia GeForce2 MX is a very capable GPU considering its value label that is put upon it.
- Included Heatsink
The GeForce2 MX chip only consumes 4 watts of power and doesn't officially require a heatsink. However, the friendly folk at X-Micro have included a standard HSF (pictured above) which will allow us overclockers to get a bit more performance out of the cards instead of having to buy an individual Thermaltake Blue Orb for example. I think this was a very good move by X-Micro to keep the growing enthusiasts market happy, we will show you just how far we were able to overclock this card later in the review with the included heatsink.
- nVidia TwinView
Matrox were the first to develop this type of technology, they called it DualHead Technology and nVidia made a few changes and called it TwinView. ATi have also very recently announced their version called Hydravision, we don't have many details as yet except it can run two monitors in two different resolutions. TwinView technology, as the name suggests, lets you view two monitor displays from the single video card. There are four options or modes you can use using TwinView. The first and most obvious one being Clone Mode, this clones what you see on your primary monitor on the secondary monitor. The second mode is Standard Mode; this allows your desktop to be spread across two monitors. The third mode is Application Exclusive Mode; this allows a certain application (e.g. DVD playback) to be displayed on TV while performing other tasks on another monitor. The final mode is Zoom Mode; this allows the secondary monitor to zoom into a portion of something on the primary monitor. I didn't get the opportunity to test TwinView, but it does sound very interesting and may even be very useful to users requiring features mentioned above.
- Digital Vibrance Control (DVC)
Digital Vibrance Control is essentially a software gramma control feature to brighten up and make the display crisper. Here is how nVidia explain DVC; "Digital Vibrance Control (DVC) was designed to make all PC visuals crisp, bright and clean. This patent pending technology is built into the GeForce2 MX graphics subsystem and allows the user to manage the digital bitstream between the graphics pipeline and the display subsystem. Through a simple user interface the user can control color separation and intensity resulting in bold, dynamic visuals with sharp, balanced color. Since DVC digitally accesses data before it reaches the display subsystem, its benefits apply to all forms of output including TV, digital flat panels, monitors, and LCD projectors." DVC isn't extremely special; it's just another little useful feature of the nVidia GeForce2 MX that is supported by the X-Micro Hulk5.
- The Package
In what is a standard X-Micro package, included is the video card multi-language manual, X-Micro case (or monitor) badge, CDROM with drivers (Detonator 6.31 - However we used Detonator 10.80 in our testing phase which we have found to perform faster than the included Detonator 6.31 drivers), DX7, PowerDVD, PowerVCD, Power Strip and some attractive 800x600 wallpaper all contained in an attractive box (pictured above). A separate instruction sheet is included which documents how to setup TwinView, every little addition counts I feel. The Hulk 5 model, which is designed for TV Out comes with all the cables needed to use the TV Out feature.
Using the now famous coolbits.reg overclocking registry hack for nVidia Detonator drivers, we were able to overclock the core clock to 200MHz and memory clock to 200MHz with stock cooling. I didn't think these results were all that bad; we managed to overclock (while maintaining complete stability) the core clock 34MHz and memory clock 25MHz over spec with stock cooling, it gave us 300 extra 3DMarks in 3DMark2001 compared to the default clock speeds.