Leadtek WinFast ® 3D S320 II - 32 meg TNT2

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Update 5/10/99:

Downloaded and installed the 1.73 Beta drivers and picked up about a 15% increase in performance! Looks like the more mature drivers are going to really make this card fly. Also, hooked my 19″ Sony Monitor up to this puppy and the 2D on it is just awesome! I’m much happier with this card now and even have to say it was worth the purchase now. Voodoo 3 still out performs it by a bit, but the Eye Candy from this card is just awesome!

Update 5/4/99:

Thanks to Humphrey at PCNUT who talked me into overclocking the memory on this card to 160 MHZ (comes preset at 140 MHZ), I am much happier with this card. It now out performs my VooDoo 3 by a pretty good amount and as I said, the graphics ARE better with the Leadtek card. Now I am much happier with my purchase.


First, let me tell you about my review style. I’m not going to give you a bunch of Benchmarks. Many other sites benchmarked this card to death. You can go HERE for a great review with a bunch of numbers. What I’m going to do is give you a good idea of what to expect from this card for your money.

The card comes boxed with Power DVD, a Bonus pack CD (Some VRML stuff, Microsoft IE, VDO Live player and Chilisoft VideoMail trial), Another CD with some 3D authoring tools and video editing tools, and the Drivers CD. Also in the box is a good assortment of cables to hook the card to a TV using the Video out jack.

If you’re into VRML or 3D authoring, a pretty nice bundle, however, for the gamer, it’s kind of lame.

After reading all the hype on this card, I was very anxious to get one and give it a whirl. The card arrived Friday from PCNUT. I proceeded to set one of my systems up to try this baby out. The system is a Celeron PPGA 300 clocked at 527 running on an ABIT BM-6 Mobo with 128 Megs ECC CAS2 Ram. It was running a Creative Labs Blaster TNT that would consistently get 4147 3D Marks using 3D Mark 99 MAX.

I figured I would check the card out under real world conditions so I backed the CPU down to 450. I Uninstalled the CL TNT drivers and set the Video card to use standard VGA drivers. I removed the old card and installed the TNT2 card (BTW: has a nice fan and heatsink already mounted to the chip). Restarted the machine and Windows 98 detected it just fine. I used the new hardware wizard to install the drivers and rebooted the machine. I tried to go into display properties after reboot to set my resolution but every time I’d click on properties, I’d get a VXD error in NV4RM. Tried uninstalling and reinstalling the drivers numerous times without any luck. Did a search on the registry for old CL TNT stuff and removed all references to it, still a VXD error… even backed to CPU down to 300 to be sure. So, I gave up and went to bed.

Woke up this morning and decided to do a fresh reinstall of Windows 98. Did that, loaded the Realtek drivers and all was well So, I played Unreal for awhile then on to Half Life. The Quality of the graphics was noticeably better than the CL TNT but didn’t notice a whole lot more speed. Figured I’d run 3D Mark and just see how much the TNT2 will blow away the TNT, well, I was a little disappointed there. The TNT2 only scored 4236 3D marks as compared to the CL TNT at 4147. Also, 3D Mark wouldn’t detect the TNT2 Chipset.

Conclusion:

This was by no means a full blown “review” of the card. Just my personal observations and opinions. If you already own a TNT card or a Voodoo 2 SLI, you won’t gain a whole lot by purchasing this card, to the eye at least. The numbers on the other sites show this card to be a great performer, so, if you want the “card with the numbers”, this is the card for you. With a street price pushing $200, you would probably be better off with a Voodoo 3 2000 for $130. I was much more impressed with the Voodoo 3 than the TNT2 for my dollars spent. If I had it to do over again, I’d wait for the Ultra TNT2.

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