Asus EAH4870 Dark Knight Reviewtacohunter52 - April 20, 2009
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Even though we may very well wish differently, graphics cards are not, and probably will never be, plug and play hardware. This means that after you physically install it, you'll need to emotionally install it as well. Goofballness aside, you will need to have the correct drivers installed in order for your new video card to function correctly. Lucky for us, installing drivers is WAY easy. "Alls Yous Gots To Do" is pop the driver disc into your optical drive. Okay I lied, that isn't "Alls Yous Gots To Do." After you've placed the driver disc into your optical drive, wait for the auto run to pop up. Once this has happened, you'll be greeted with Asus's install screen. From this screen you'll have three options. The first option is to install the drivers. Clicking on this option will bring you to the "Next" screen. Directly after the "Next" screen, you'll be brought to what I call the "Are you sure you want to install this program even though you put the disc in your computer and then clicked next" screen. At this screen you'll have to click install. However, after you've done this, you're pretty much home free, or at least until everything has finished installing. Then you'll have to click finish and choose if you want to restart your computer now or later. You'll have to click "Finish" again! Yeah for extra buttons!!! After clicking "Finish" for the second time you can give yourself a pat on the back. You've successfully installed your video card drivers. The best part is you only had to go through eight screens to do it.
Okay, so now the drivers are installed, but what about the programs that were included on the driver CD? You'll be able to install these programs by clicking the second option at ASUS's install screen. For those of you that are curious, the option is titled "Utilities." Once again you'll have to click "Next", "Install", choose whether to restart now or later, and then click "Finish."
ASUS included three programs with the EAH4870. These programs consist of "Video Security," "GamerOSD," and "SmartDoctor." Let's begin with "Video Security."
If you haven't guessed what Video Security does, well you're in the same boat as me. Until I looked it up I honestly had no clue what this program was for. Although now it seems very obvious, because "security" is in the program's name. "Video Security" allows you to monitor your belongings via different types of hardware through remote locations by using the Internet. This category, of course, usually means cameras, but hey what the heck, I'm sure someone can rig a sonar sensor to monitor their house. If you're not big on security, or don't own any cameras, this program allows you to watch TV via a TV tuner. Of course, you'll be without sound, but as long as your computer is on you'll have the ability to quickly catch the scores on the latest game or know there is a flood warning without leaving your computer. If you're using this program for what it's meant to be used for, you'll have multiple options. These include recording only if something unusual is detected, sending private messages via Scype, sending an email that there has been an intruder, and of course, constantly recording.
GamerOSD is a nifty little program for anyone who wants to record themselves playing a game. When I say this, I mean record only the game, not actually the person sitting at their desk playing. That's what my brother thought I meant. For anyone interested in making "Frag" videos, GamerOSD would be perfect. Unfortunately, Fallout 3 and GamerOSD have some sort of disagreement, so I was not able to play Fallout 3 with GamerOSD installed on my computer. Uninstalling the program immediately fixed that problem.
SmartDoctor is Asus's monitoring/overclocking utility. You'll be able to monitor things such as temperature, and fan speed. Well actually, that is all you can monitor. In addition to the ability to monitor basic card facts, SmartDoctor allows you to overclock your video card on the fly. You can easily adjust the Engine (core) and memory clocks by moving the sliders left and right. Moving them to the right will increase your clock speeds, while moving them to the left will result in a decrease. Under SmartDoctor settings you'll have four tabs. These tabs consist of Settings, Monitor, Fan Control, and HyperDrive. Under the Settings tab you'll be able to change monitor poll interval, disable warnings during games, minimize SmartDoctor during games, and Minimize SmartDoctor after reboot. The Monitor tab will allow you to adjust voltage alarm settings, temperature alarm settings, and fan alarm settings. The Fan Control tab will allow you to adjust fan speed and temperature boundaries. Last, but not least, is HyperDrive. HyperDrive will automatically overclock your card during games. If need be, you can set the clock speed to that which HyperDrive will clock your card. No, that does not mean if you put a core clock of 900 that HyperDrive will automatically make it work. I found that out the hard way.
Now that we've got the drivers and programs installed, let's take a quick look at the CCC.