Asus v7700 -Introduction
Oh Mumma! I can remember first hearing about GPU technology on all the tech sites last year while I was doing work experience (ermm no I wasn't working) thinking I'd never get one of those GeForce's... Well tonight folks, we have gone one better - We take a look at the ASUS v7700 GeForce2 GTS 32mb DDR powered by nVidia's GeForce2 GTS GPU which is similar to the NVIDIA GeForce2 GTS reference board. TweakTown is happy to have one of the first reviews of such a card in Australia!Specifications + FeaturesHighlights
Powered by the world's first per-pixel shading Graphics Processing Unit:NVIDIA GeForce 2 GTS
Built-in 32 MB DDR video memory with up to 5.3 GB/sec bandwidth:Provides more resolutions and color depths
Dual-texture pixel-fill capacities with four new Hypertexel pipelines:Sets a new milestone for realism
1.6 Gtexel fill rate, 25 Mtriangles/sec through T&L/setting:Performs up to 3x improvement over GeForce
ASUS SmartDoctor Technologies:Provide the greatest security to your valuable system
Optimized for DirectX 7 and OpenGL features:Ensures broad application supportTechnical Stuff
- AGP 4x/2x with Fast Writes- Four new Hypertexel pipelines process two texture per pixel, in true color, at full speed up to 1.6 Gtexel fill rate- Built-in 32 MB high speed DDR video memory with up to 5.3 GB/sec bandwidth- Eight texture mapped, lit pixels per clock cycle- Second generation Transform and Lighting (T&L) Engine- Up to 25 million triangles per second at peak rates- Optimized for Direct3D acceleration with complete support for DirectX 7 features such as multi-texturing, bump mapping, light maps, reflection maps, full scene anti-aliasing, trilinear and 8-tap anisotropic filtering (better than trilinear mipmapping)- Fully 1.2 compliant OpenGL support- 32-bit colors, Z/stencil buffer- Multi-buffering (double, triple, quad buffering) for smooth animation and video playback- Multiple video windows with hardware color space conversion and filtering (YUV 4:2:2 and 4:2:0)- Integrated 350 MHz RAMDAC supporting from 640x480 up to 2048x1536 in true color- BRDF (Bidirectional Reflectance Distribution Function) support- Video acceleration for Direct Show and MPEG-1, MPEG-2, and Indeo- SmartDoctor Technologies with fan RPM monitoring, AGP power level monitoring, over-heat protection, and dynamic overclocking- Software bundle including ASUSDVD 2000, Darkan, Rollcage, and 12 other game demoWhat You Get
Included in the retail box is the graphics card, software bundle including - drivers for Windows 95 / 98 / 98se and 2000, ASUSDVD 2000, Darkan retail, Rollcage retail, and 12 other game demos. A detailed user's manual is included to help with installation of hardware and software. Compared to other retail graphic cards packages I have seen, ASUS have been quite generous with their package.Installation
Seen this was one of the most expensive up-to-date products I have held in sometime, I took a little bit longer + extra care when I was installing this card. As with any other graphics card, installation was simple. Locate the AGP, push card genteelly into position, tighten screw. As for the software side of the installation, we had no troubles installing v3.84 drivers under Microsoft Windows 2000 Professional. we'll take a detailed look at the wonderful software included later on in this review. Now that we have installed the card, lets focus on its graphics quality...
Asus v7700 -Cooling
The ASUS v7700 GeForce2 GTS ships with a decent size 3 wires instead the normal two... The extra wire is included because this card has a hardware (temperature) monitoring chip on it to measure temperatures and voltages. I was pleasantly surprised with the v7700 because when physically touching the GPU chip it didn't burn me like other GeForce cards I have played with... This is good because, it later on it will give us better overclocking potential.
Below is a picture of the Winbond W83781D chip, using this chip the v7700 is able to decode information sent to it by not only the hardware monitoring fan but also from an internal temperature probe and voltage monitor.
The ASUS v7700 GeForce2 GTS sports such fine features as 8 texels per clock with Hypertexel, per-pixel shading Graphics Processing Unit, Built-in 32 MB DDR video memory with up to 5.3 GB/sec bandwidth, Dual-texture pixel-fill capacities with four new Hypertexel pipelines, 1.6 Gtexel fill rate, 25 Mtriangles/sec through T&L/setting which when put together in simple english = friggin beautiful quality graphics, I think you'll agree with me after seeing this GeForce2 GTS in action... Simply stunning - There's really no better way to describe it. As the box says, "Incredible 3D Experience with 2nd-generation GPU", how true indeed... Below we have some shots of this card performing in Quake 3 Arena and Rally Championship Demo which is included in the games bundle...- Quake 3 Arena Shots @ 1024x768 32bit ColorClick picture for a larger view.- Rally Championship Shots @ 800x600 32bit ColorClick picture for a larger view.
The image quality of both Quake 3 Arena and Rally Championship are amazing... The pictures tell the story - The v7700 has defiantly made use of it new Giga Texel Shading architecture and 2nd generation T&L engines.
Asus v7700 -Memory
Our ASUS v7700 came with Infineon 6ns SGRAM DDR (Double Data Rate) memory buffer which provides more resolutions and color depths with up to a staggering 5.3GB/sec bandwidth! Below is a picture of the Infineon 6ns SGRAM DDR ram made in Infineon German fab.Benchmarking
After you have seen the quality off the v7700 you'd like to see some benchmarks right... We have used Quake 3 Arena to bench the v7700 against a MSI Power3D GeForce256 and a Leadtek WinFast GeForce2 GTS. We overclocked the MSI Power3D GeForce256 so it would a little closer to the performance of the GeForce2's. Below are out test system specifications, we used v3.48 reference drivers running in AGP 2x mode. We planned to use 3DMark2000 but due to Windows 2000 incompatibility we didn't...NOTE -
Our Celeron 466MHz and Microsoft Windows 2000 Professional are our system bottlenecks, these tests do not reflect on a system with different system specifications!--------------------------------------------------------MSI BxMaster 440BXIntel Celeron 466Mhz @ 466Mhz128mb PC100 RAMa) ASUS v7700 GeForce2 GTS 32mb DDR (AGP 2x)b) MSI Power3D GeForce256 (AGP 2x)c) Leadtek WinFast GeForce2 GTS (AGP 2x)Segate 10.2Gb Ultra ATA66 HDDMicrosoft Windows 2000 ProfessionalQuake 3 Arena--------------------------------------------------------- Quake 3 Arena Timedemo demo001 Testing
Each Timedemo of demo001 was ran 3 times and the best value was chosen, all graphics options were set to HIGH in all tests...(1) MSI GeForce256 (OVERCLOCKED)
- Memory Clock: 186Mhz- Engine Clock: 140Mhz(2) ASUS v7700 GeForce2 GTS
- Memory Clock: 333Mhz- Engine Clock: 200Mhz(3) Leadtek WinFast GeForce2
- Memory Clock: 333Mhz- Engine Clock: 200MhzCompared to the MSI GeForce256 and the Leadtek Winfast GeForce2 that ASUS v7700 GeForce2 GTS is overall better in 1024x768 and 800x600 in 32bit color. Tests also show that the v7700 is faster in 16bit color modes in both 1024x768 and 800x600.
Asus v7700 -Software
ASUS have undoubtedly got the BEST software I have seen bundled with any retail graphics card in some time. Starting with the attractive... SmartDoctor which is used to take care of your valuable system to provide the best safety with SmartCooling Technology, Dynamic Overclocking, Over-heat Protection, Fan RPM Monitoring, AGP Power Level Monitoring, this ASUS program is wonderful. ASUS SmartDoctor is designed to satisfy two major goals. One is to monitor the graphic chip status, alerting users about abnormal events, such as fan malfunction or chip overheat. The other, as the name "SmartDoctor" suggests, is to "cool" down the graphic chip smartly when it is not necessary for it to be kept running at full speed...
Going from the left is AGP Bus VDDQ Voltage status, AGP Bus 3.3 Voltage status, Graphic Chip Temperature and Fan Rotation Speed (RPMs). In the text box you can notice a basic diagnoses saying "Your VGA Card is OK." - that's good because I don't want it to say Your VGA Card is overheated and blow up in 5...4...3...2...1 or something. I love this particular software, ASUS have done a good job (again).I thought I would never see this, companies are actually releasing their products with their own OVERCLOCKING SOFTWARE... ASUS weren't to be left out, in this already wonderful software package they include a program simply called ASUS Tweak Utility. Which basically gives you the option of changing (overclocking) both Engine and Memory clock speeds...
All ASUS need now is TweakTown's logo and they'll be all set... Above are the default settings;Engine Clock : 200MHz and Memory Clock : 333MHz. The 2D Test is used to test stability, well at least that's what I thought. More about that in our up and coming GeForce2 Overclocking Guide! One downside to this software is both SmartDoctor and ASUS Tweak Utility cannot be running at the same time, which in a way, defeats the purpose of the software. As well as all the other options you get in Windows Display Options now known as ASUS Control Panel (icon sitting in taskbar) you get additional tabs like Information, Color, Display and Advanced settings and more...
Also included is ASUS VR PictureViewer which lets you view stereo images, size your stereo image, set VR effect of your 3D ASUS glassed (VR-100G), and test your 3D glasses functionality. We did not get the 3D glasses which are available at an extra cost... DVD2000 software is also included in case you have a DVD Player.Pros:
Fastest graphics card on the market to date, absolutely excellent quality and performance, fantastic ASUS software...Cons:
Expensive, 64mb GF2's are just around the corner...Conclusion
The ASUS v7700 GeForce2 GTS graphics card is by the far the BEST card we have had an opportunity to review. Ranging from its stunning quality and raw speed... this card is beautiful. ASUS have packed this card full of features different from the nVidia GF2 reference board we first saw earlier this year, features such as Hardware Monitoring is excellent and a welcome addition to other cards that don't sport such features. ASUS have not held back with their wonderful software / driver bundle, gamers will be happy with the two full versions and 12 game demo CD included. Thumbs up to ASUS, I'm now keen to see how the ABIT GF2 GTS will perform against the v7700!Rating - 7.5/10