Asus ENGTS 250 Reviewtacohunter52 - April 13, 2009
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So now you've put your rig back together with the ENGTS 250 firmly in place. Are you done yet? NO! In order for your new GPU to run properly, you'll have to install the drivers. To do this place the driver CD into your optical drive. When the auto-run pops up you'll be greeted with three options. The first option will install the drivers for your video card. The second option will install programs associated with the GPU. The third option will give you ASUS contact information. You want to begin by installing the drivers so click on "VGA DRIVERS". When the Install Wizard box pops up click next twice.
Once you've done this, NVIDIA's Driver Install Wizard should be hogging your whole screen. Once again you'll just have to follow the on screen steps, which consist of you clicking next, and then agreeing to the terms and conditions. After the Drivers have been successfully installed a restart will be required.
After you've installed the drivers, you should install the programs ASUS included. Click on the second option in ASUS's VGA Driver box. Once again you'll have to click next, but hey - it's good practice for in game sniping. AIM, POINT, CLICK!
Two programs will be installed; Gamer OSD and ASUS SmartDoctor. Gamer OSD is a program that you can use to take videos from your games. This means if you're into watching yourself PWNage people over and over again, this program will be perfect for you. For the rest of you it will be relatively useless. ASUS SmartDoctor on the other hand is in fact very useful. It is ASUS's overclocking tool that will allow you to change your GPU settings on the fly. You'll be able to adjust Engine (core clock), Shader clock, and memory clock straight from your OS. Clicking on the triangle shooting sound waves (bottom right hand side) will bring you to the settings menu. Why a triangle shooting sound waves means "settings" escapes me. The settings menu has 5 tabs, the first of which being labeled "settings." What this actually allows you to do is change monitor settings, meaning you can adjust the polling interval, enable overheat protection, and a few other small things. The next tab is again mislabeled as "Monitor." In this tab you'll be able to adjust the temperature, voltage, and fan alarm settings. The third tab, thank god, is actually named correctly as "Fan Control." In this tab you'll be able to adjust the speeds of your fan. The final two tabs have also been named correctly. One is "HyperDrive," and the other is "Information." HyperDrive allows you to adjust the settings for HyperDrive, which will basically OC your card as needed. Information will give you information on your graphics card. Who'da thunk?
Like all NVIDIA cards in the 8 series and up, the ENGTS 250 is CUDA-enabled. Companies will utilize this software, because the parallel processing is just so powerful. Think about it - what would you rather have powering your program - 4 cores or 250 cores? A lot of companies will use CUDA technology to help convert video files faster, increase their definition or to increase the FPS. While this can all be done on your CPU, CUDA technology makes the GPU much faster. Plus it keeps your CPU free for other things. A new program that utilizes this technology is MotionDSP's vReveal. The software is designed to take a blurry, shaky, noisy, or distorted video and greatly improve the quality. It is designed to run from a CUDA-enabled GPU, but can run off your CPU too. However, the GPU is able to process the videos 5 times faster than a CPU.
Another program that utilizes this technology is folding@home. Stanford's folding program uses your GPU (and CPU) to simulate protein folding. The goal of this program is to help find a cure for diseases caused by protein misfolding. Some of these diseases are Cancer, Mad Cow, and Alzheimer's. The great thing about this program is that you help. Instead of Stanford using one super computer, they uses thousands of other people's computers, which in the end turns out to be more powerful. If you'd like to join in on the folding click here, and remember fold for team 12772 (aka OCC).
NVIDIA GPU's also include PhsyX, which is actually a pretty cool technology. It helps to make the physics in games more realistic. This means instead of a grenade landing on the ground, a bullet hitting the wall, or a wrench hitting glass, you'll get bounces, ricochets, and glass shattering. Basically, this program helps make games more realistic. More and more companies are starting to utilize it. Hopefully it will end the days where a block of wood can save you from a barrage of bullets.
Now that we've got the card and programs successfully installed, let's find out what this baby brings to the table.