Axle GeForce G210 Review

gotdamojo06 - 2009-12-23 18:33:43 in Video Cards
Category: Video Cards
Reviewed by: gotdamojo06   
Reviewed on: January 31, 2010
Price: $50

Introduction:

Are you looking for a new video card for your setup? Maybe you are building a new HTPC or you are building a workstation that is not going to be used for gaming. Either way, you are going to need a video card for the system, however you may not want to spend an arm and a leg for one of the more powerful gaming cards out on the market, but you want some of the newer technologies like the large amount of CUDA cores on your card to help with the video/image editing software you may run. Well, Axle may just have the solution for you - a GeForce G210 video card. This card is going to allow you to have the CUDA cores needed to allow your video card to help with rendering, as well as allowing you to hook up any display device via either a DVI, Analog, or HDMI cable. I am curious to see how this card is going to perform when it is compared to some of the others that are out on the market.

Closer Look:

Looking at the front of the packaging, you are going to see an image of a female warrior depicting that the card is going to be strong enough to battle with some of the other cards out on the market. In the top right hand corner of the package, you are going to see the Axle logo with the slogan "Soul of the Game" printed below it. Under that, you see the Arctic Cooling badge, letting you know that the cooler on the card is not the standard reference cooler - it should allow for more heat to be dissipated off of the core and surrounding components, allowing for a better functioning card with higher overclocks. At the bottom of the package, you are going to see that the card does have 512MB of GDDR3 memory operating at 64 bits and the card has been certified to work with Windows 7. At the top left hand corner, you see that Axle uses Solid State Capacitors, which have a life expectancy of about 50,000 hours. The back of the package lists the key features of the card, and contains a few images and blurbs explaining the "Gorgeous Graphics", "Fantastic Video", and "Premium Windows 7 Experience", which will be available with the Axle G210 installed in your system.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When you open up the package and pull everything out, you are going to see that you get a VGA Card Installation sheet, a User Manual, a Drivers CD and the Axle G210 card itself. The yellow special notes card is just going to let you know a few of the things that you are going to need to do to install your video card if you have never done so before, while the user manual is going to give you a detailed installation procedure as well as go over how to install the drivers for the G210. The card itself is packaged up inside of an anti-static bag, which helps protect the card from being harmed before it is installed.

 

 

 

While Axle did not include any other accessories with the G210, this does not mean that the card is not worth checking out at all. With that said, let's continue onto the card and see exactly how this card is setup.

Closer Look:

Taking the card out of the anti-static bag, you are going to see that the Axle G210 video card is a completely black card that has a fairly large cooler placed over the memory modules as well as over the GPU core to help keep these components cool, especially while they are being worked. The heatsink and fan setup that Axle is using on their G210 card is quite a bit smaller than most other cards out on the market, as it does not stick out and need to take up a second expansion slot. This is going to be helpful if you were installing the card in an HTPC setup. The G210 does come clocked in at 589MHz on the Core, 790MHz on the Memory, while the Shader Clock is 1402MHz. There are a total of 16 processor cores, or CUDA cores, that will help reduce your rendering times during video or image editing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Axle G210 has three different ports on the card that you are able to install a display to.  You have your choice of HDMI, DVI, or D-Sub (Analog), which will allow you to have just about any monitor you may have laying around to be supported by the card, without needing a dongle to switch between digital and analog. The G210 does support the PCI-Express 2.0 standard, so to use the card to its fullest, you will need a PCI-E 2.0 slot on your motherboard.

 

 

When you pull the heatsink and fan off of the card, you are going to expose the GPU core as well as the memory modules. The GPU core is the GT218-300-A2 and the memory modules are manufactured by Qimonda with the model number of 1DSH1G-04A1F1C-16G F6514288. Each of the modules are 128MB, with four of them you are going to come up with a total of 512MB worth of GDDR3.

 

 

Now that we know how the card is setup and how it looks, it's time to get the drivers and software installed and take a look at how it is going to compare to the other cards in its class.

Closer Look:

When you place the installation disc in your computer, the NVIDIA GeForce CD Drivers & Manual display will appear. From this screen, you are going to be able to choose your Operating System, when you choose which one you are using, the drivers will automatically install. There is no extra software bundled with the card, so once the drivers are installed you need to restart your computer and you will be done with the software installation portion.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Once everything is installed, you can go into the nVidia control panel to play around with the different 3D settings of your card. You will be able to change your resolution settings either inside of the nVidia control panel or you can still use the Windows Display Settings screen. 

 

 

 

 

Now that we know what kind of software is packaged with the G210, it's time to take a look at the specifications of the card.

Specifications:

 

Model
210
Process technology
40nm
Processor Cores
16
Memory Amount
512MB
Memory Interface
64bit
DRAM type
GDDR3
Graphics Clock
589MHz
Memory Clock
790MHz
Video Support
DVI, Analog, HDMI

 

Features:

All information Courtesy of NVIDIA @ http://www.nvidia.com/object/product_geforce_210_us.html

Testing:

Testing the Axle GeForce G210 is not a challenge, so much as determining what kind of gaming performance this card is capable of. The computing attributes make it a card that will help improve the everyday experience of a computer for the mainstream user. To test out the G210 gaming credentials, I will run the card through the OverclockersClub suite of benchmarks, but since it won't be able to deliver playable frame rates at the settings I use, I will reduce the settings to a level that gives an expectation of playability. In reality, this card will most likely find its home in a mainstream computer with a 17" to 19" LCD panel in a home office or in the family computer. Testing will be limited from 1280x1024 to 1920x1200, with the revised settings listed at the top of each game page. 1280x1024 should be playable in all of the games in the suite, so let's get to it and see if we can make it playable. Of course, overclocking will be part of the exercise. The drivers used for this test will be Catalyst 9.10 for all ATI cards and 191.07 for the nVidia cards.

 

Comparison Video Cards:

 

Overclocking:

Overclocked settings:

Overclocking the Axle G210 video card was pretty straightforward.  You simply go into your favorite software to adjust your GPU Core, Memory, and Shader Clock frequencies and slowly adjust them higher and higher until you get an unstable overclock and back it down until it is stable again. Well, unfortunately, the Axle G210 was unable to get a very high overclock without becoming unstable. I was able to get 650MHz on the core, the memory was able to get up to 850MHz and the shader clock was able to get to 1547MHz. I am hoping that the gain in raw power translates into higher scores during both the gaming benchmarks as well as the synthetic ones.

 

  1. Far Cry 2
  2. Crysis Warhead
  3. Darkest of Days
  4. Call of Duty World at War
  5. Warhammer 40,000 DOW II
  6. Batman: Arkham Asylum
  7. Resident Evil 5
  8. Left 4 Dead
  9. 3DMark 06 Professional
  10. 3DMark Vantage

Testing:

Far Cry 2:

Featuring a new game engine named Dunia, this game looks to be another one to stress your video card. Built especially for Far Cry 2, this engine allows for real time effects and damage. This next generation First Person Shooter comes to us from Ubisoft surprisingly - not from Crytek. The game is set in a war-torn region of Africa where there is a non-existent central government and the chaos that surrounds this type of social environment. If you have seen the movie Blood Diamond, you know the setting. Ubisoft puts the main story line of the game into focus with these statements: "Caught between two rival factions in war-torn Africa, you are sent to take out "The Jackal," a mysterious character who has rekindled the conflict between the warlords, jeopardizing thousands of lives. In order to fulfill your mission you will have to play the factions against each other, identify and exploit their weaknesses, and neutralize their superior numbers and firepower with surprise, subversion, cunning and, of course, brute force." In this version of the game, you don't have the beautiful water, but instead the beauty and harshness of the African continent to contend with. Most games give you a set area that can be played through, while Ubisoft has given the gamer the equivalent of 50km2 of the vast African continent to explore while in pursuit of your goals. The settings used are just a few steps below the maximum in-game settings and offer a good blend of performance vs. visual quality.

 

Settings:

 

 

 

 

 

 

The G210 was unable to keep up with any of the other cards. When it was overclocked, it started to gain a little ground, but not much.

Testing:

Crysis Warhead is a standalone expansion pack situated in time with the story line of the original Crysis. As Sergeant "Psycho" Sykes, you have a secret mission to accomplish on the far side of the island. Along the way there are EMP blasts and aliens to contend with, as you hunt down the KPA chief. This game uses an enhanced version of the CryEngine 2.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The G210 was stomped by all of the other cards in this benchmark.

Testing:

What would testing be if you did not show both sides of the fence? In this test, PhysX was set to low, while leaving the remaining settings intact. You have seen time and again where the ATI cards suffer when PhysX is enabled. Mirror's Edge and Cryostasis are two prime examples. Darkest of Days is no different. What happens in this test shows that, although the game can be played by cards from the red team, the video effects and quality are diminished.

Game Settings:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Axle G210 was, once again, unable to keep up with the other cards.

Testing:

Activision's Call of Duty: World at War goes right back to the bread and butter of the franchise - WWII FPS action. In this rendition, you start off in the South Pacific and move through a series of missions that flip back and forth between the Russian front and the island hopping advance toward the Imperial Japanese homeland. Included is a mission on Peliliu Island, arguably one of the more difficult and costly battles in the Pacific theater. The gameplay in the single player mode is rather short, but the game makes up for this shortcoming in online gameplay. If you thought CoD4 looked nice, this game is amazing with the graphics maxed out playing at a high resolution. I will use Fraps to measure a section of gameplay in the Semper Fi map on Makin Island to compare the performance of these video cards.

Settings:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


At the highest resolution and overclocked, the G210 was able to come within 11FPS of the GT220.

Testing:

Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War II is a Real Time Strategy game that is significantly different than its predecessor, with improved AI and an improved physics engine. You can play either as a single player in campaign mode, or in a multiplayer game where Microsoft's Live ranking system can be used.

Settings

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The G210 was able to come within 10FPS of the GT220 at stock speeds during this benchmark.

Testing:

Batman: Arkham Asylum is a new game that brings together two bitter foes, the Joker and Batman. The Joker has taken over Arkham Asylum, Gotham's home for the criminally insane. Your task is to reign the Joker back in and restore order. This game makes use of PhysX technology to create a rich environment for you to ply your trade.

Game Settings:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Batman benchmark really did some damage to the G210; it was unable to keep up with any of the other cards.

Testing:

Resident Evil 5 is the sequel to one of the best selling video games of all time. You play the game as Chris Redfield, a survivor of the events at Raccoon City, who now works for the BSAA. Sent to Africa to find the genesis of the latest Bio Organic agents, you meet up with another BSAA operative and work together to solve the problem. The game offers incredible 3D effects and a co-op gaming style.

Game Settings:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Once again, the G210 was unable to perform near the other cards in the Resident Evil 5 benchmark.

Testing:

Left 4 Dead from Valve, leaves you as part of a group of survivors in a world where an infection has rapidly turned the populace into a zombie horde. You goal is to make it to a rescue point, all the while fighting what seems like overwhelming odds. Along the way there are safe houses where you can replenish your weapons and health. The movie 'I Am Legend' comes to mind to set the stage for this game. But unlike the movie, there are four characters and not just a lone gun and his faithful companion. The horde is not at all like the typical slow walking, foot shuffling zombie. These zombies are quick and work with the pack mentality. Your job: survival!

Settings:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You can tell that the G210 is not meant for gaming during this benchmark.  All of the other cards were well above 50FPS, however the G210 couldnt even break 25FPS.

Testing:

3DMark06 is one of the benchmarks that always comes up when a bragging contest has begun. 3DMark06 presents a severe test for many of today's hardware components. Let's see how this setup fares. The settings we will use are listed below.

 

Settings:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There was a slight increase in performance when it was overclocked, but the card is still unable to perform.

Testing:

Featuring all-new game tests, this benchmark is for use with Vista based systems. "There are two all-new CPU tests that have been designed around a new 'Physics and Artificial Intelligence-related computation.' CPU test two offers support for physics related hardware." There are four preset levels that correspond to specific resolutions. 'Entry' is 1024x768 progressing to 'Extreme' at 1920x1200. Of course, each preset can be modified to arrange any number of user designed testing. For our testing, I will use the four presets at all default settings.

Settings:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The G210 got slaughtered in all three resolutions, at both stock and overclocked settings.

Conclusion:

The Axle GeForce G210 video card was able to provide you with what it says you get, a video card that supports Direct X10 games and has 512MB of GDDR3 memory. The video card itself was able to handle all of the games and benchmarks that I threw at it, however it was unable to provide any decent looking scores in any of the games even with the relaxed settings that we use for lower end video cards. I did like that the video card when it was overclocked never saw over 48°C during the benchmarking, which means that the Arctic Cooling solution that was installed on the card did work quite well. The fact that you are able to use a monitor that supports an HDMI, DVI or D-Sub input does make the card a little more versatile when it comes to the uses of the card. With the HDMI output, you would be able to easily use this card as an HTPC video card, especially with the temperatures being so low.

I was quite disappointed to see that I was not able to overclock the card as much as I had wished to, however for using the 210 GPU from nVidia, it was not too bad. When looking at a video card that only has 512MB of GDDR3 memory and operates on a 64-bit bus, you need to keep in mind that it was not designed for the gamer, but as card that can be used to increase your productivity and reduce the time it takes to do the everyday tasks.  We use our computers for such things like a fixing that video of a summer vacation with a program that uses the CUDA cores to speed up the repair such as vreveal, or to compress media for use on our portable devices with a program like Badaboom. Even fixing pictures with Photoshop, now that GPU acceleration can be enabled, will be expedited. Using the newest Flash Player from Adobe, you can watch the latest HD content on the web without the stuttering and pauses.  High-end gaming is not the G210s specialty, as you can see, but games like WOW and the Sims should be well within the grasp of the G210, as the latest IGP from Intel can handle them.

I would suggest this card to anyone who is looking to be able to view all of the pretty features in their operating system as well as someone who is building an HTPC on a budget. If you are looking for a card to game with, you may just want to look for a different card.

 

Pros:

 

Cons: