- nVidia GeForce2 GTS Pro GPU
The X-Micro IMPACT 4 Pro is powered by the nVidia GeForce2 GTS Pro GPU which is a similar GPU to the nVidia GeForce2 Ultra except with a slower core and memory clock of 200MHz and 400MHz respectively as opposed to 250MHz and 460MHz of the nVidia GeForce2 Ultra. The nVidia GeForce2 GTS Pro was released by nVidia as a response to consumers not wanting to fork out big dollars for the nVidia's new and expensive GeForce2 Ultra puppy. The good thing about the nVidia GeForce2 GTS Pro is overclockability and the reasonable price, many video cards by various different manufactures are capable of reaching the same overclocked speeds of the nVidia GeForce2 Ultra while not having to spend the big dollars for the actual chip. We will investigate the overclockability of the X-Micro IMPACT 4 Pro later in this review. Here is a picture of the card...
- 64mb 5ns Memory
The X-Micro IMPACT 4 Pro uses 32/64mb (our sample was the 32mb model) of Asend 5ns "Ultra Speed Memory" DDR RAM which results in a memory core of 400MHz thus resulting in an astonishing theoretical maximum speed of 6.4GB/second as dedicated graphics memory bandwidth. The X-Micro IMPACT 4 Ultra uses 32/64mb of 4ns "Ultra Speed Memory" which results in a memory core of 460MHz, meaning the unit has a theoretical maximum speed of 7.36GB/second as dedicated graphics memory bandwidth. Since the memory featured on the X-Micro IMPACT 4 Pro is high quality 5ns memory, we were able to overclock the memory core clock up to 460MHz. This is the same memory core clock of the X-Micro IMPACT 4 Ultra which is based on the nVidia GeForce2 Ultra that also costs a considerable amount more than the nVidia GeForce2 Pro.
- AGP4x with Fast Writes
The X-Micro IMPACT 4 Pro video card has support for both AGP4x operations and Fast Writes. AGP4x now days is becoming somewhat of a standard among new video cards and motherboards with the bandwidth in what they supply. This video card supports Fast Writes, which very basically is a way of allowing the video card to skip the system memory bus and write directly from the CPU to the video card memory. While Fast Writes, as a "feature", may sound good to some, it isn't. Generally speaking, enabling Fast Writes on a motherboard that supports it will reduce the overall performance of your video card.
- Installation CDROM + Surprise
The rather stylish CDROM has everything and more needed to get the IMPACT 4 Pro up and running. The CDROM includes drivers for Windows 95, 98, 98se, ME, NT, 2000 and Linux. The drivers are nVidia Detonator 6.31, during our testing with the card we used the latest beta nVidia Detonator 10.80 drivers that offer greater performance than the bundles drivers on the installation CDROM. The CDROM also includes DX7, PowerDVD, PowerVCR, Power Strip, a heap of game patches and some attractive 800x600 resolution X-Micro wallpapers. Whilst removing the CDROM from it's cover, I discovered a nifty little case badge. it's a badge similar to that of any Intel or AMD badge, which is included with all their processors. Here is a picture of the badge; I think it's pretty cool personally...
- TV Out Cable
The X-Micro IMPACT 4 Pro has support for S-Video TV out. X-Micro kindly supply a TV Out cable in all their packages. We weren't able to test the TV out feature and are unable to report on its quality.
Using stock cooling we were able to take the X-Micro IMPACT 4 Pro to Ultra speeds. Not Ultra fast speeds, but the same core and memory clock speeds as the nVidia GeForce2 Ultra. Using the coolbits overclocking utility, we were able to take the core clock and memory clock to 250MHz and 460MHz respectively, 50MHz core and 60MHz memory over spec. With these overclocked settings in place, we did not experience any crashes in games or any glitches of any kind. I tried to take the memory clock right up to 500MHz, Windows rejected this setting and froze. It is worth mentioning that we replaced the stock thermal paste that X-Micro included with the new and better Arctic Silver II thermal paste that is now designed for both small and large contact areas. While the overclock we performed may sound impressive to some, it only resulted in roughly 250 more 3DMarks in 3DMark 2000, in real world testing it isn't a great performance boost but again it's nothing to frown at by any means when every extra 3DMark counts.
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