Leadtek WinFast Nvidia Geforce 3 Titanium 500 review

Admin - 2006-12-14 23:06:13 in Video Cards
Category: Video Cards
Reviewed by: Admin   
Reviewed on: November 2, 2001
Leadtek
Leadtek
Price: $315

Introduction

My 3DFX Voodoo5 5500 has been really good to me this last year.. but all the new games out require a more powerfull card. The Voodoo5 5500 no longer has support, nor does it have updated drivers and nor will it ever.

Earlier this year Nvidia came out with the famous Geforce 3 chipset and completely stole the video card market for gamers. Now, Nvidia has something better with more power and feature's, the Titanium graphics line. There are currently three different Titanium chipsets, the Geforce 2 TI, Geforce 3 TI 200 and the powerful Geforce 3 TI 500.



Memory Interface: 128-bit/400mhz DDR
Pixels per Second: 1 Billion
Operations per Second: 6.4GB/s
Memory Bandwidth: 31 Million
Graphics Core: 250MHz/256-bit

GeForce3 Ti 200
Memory Interface: 128-bit/400mhz DDR
Fill rate: 2.8 billion AA samples/sec
Operations per Second: 700 billion
Memory Bandwidth: 6.4GB/sec
Graphics Core: 175MHz/256-bit

GeForce3 Ti 500
Memory Interface: 128-bit/500mhz DDR
Fill rate: 3.84 billion AA samples/sec
Operations per Second: 960 billion
Memory Bandwidth: 8.0GB/sec
Graphics Core: 240MHz/256-bit


The Geforce 3 TI 500 has a 20% core gain over the 200mhz Geforce 3. The memory has only gained very little more power over the Geforce 3. So, is the Geforce 3 TI 500 worth buying over the old Geforce 3? Well read on and I'll tell you my thoughts on the subject.

Specifications

Hardware

Nvidia GeForce3

Hardware Monitoring:

Cooling solution:

Memory:

AGP Standard:

TV-out:

DVI connector

Driver support:

System Requirements:

What you get

The only things that differ when you buy a Geforce3 video card from another company is the software bundle you get, the heatsinks that they put on the card, and if the card has TV in/out. The Geforce 3 TI 500 that I am reviewing is the Leadtek WinFast. I was very disapointed in the software bundle, as I only received two retail games with it. Dang, if someone is going to pay over $300 for a video card you would expect atleast 4 or 5 games bundled. My Sound Blaster Live! X-gamer 5.1 came with 4 games, and it only costs about $100.


Check out the massive heatsink on this card. (In my opion, I don't think the fan is big enough)

Installation

First things first, before you even shutdown your computer go and uninstall your old video card drivers. This prevents conflicts with your new drivers. Once you have done that, shutdown, unplug everything, and open your case. Locate your old video card (usually found in an AGP slot which is the slot closest to your CPU and is shorter than the PCI slots). Remove it from your system and replace it with your new Geforce 3 TI 500. Lastly, close your case, reconnect all your cables and turn your system on. When loading windows you will probably get a popup that says new hardware found. If so, just click cancel. Right click on your desktop and click properties. Click on the Settings tab -> Advance button --> Adapter tab -> and the Change button. You should now be at a screen that says Update Device, just click next on this screen. Then click on where it says Display a list of the drivers.... and click next. Now, click on "Have Disk" and browse to your WinFast CD. You should browse to X:\GF3\WIN2K. *Note X: being your actual CD-ROM drive location, and WIN2k needs to be changed to the windows version you are running. IE, if you are running Windows 98 it would be X:\GF3\WIN9x After you have do this, hit the OK button, then select the WinFast Titanium 500 driver from the list and click OK. You may get a warning message, just click yes to it. You should now see a dialog that says Windows is read to install the driver for this device. Hit next on this screen and it will install the driver you selected from your CDROM. Lastly, you will see a dialog that says it has finished installing the driver, hit finsh and then choose yes when it asks to reboot.

Performance

To test all aspect's of the Geforce 3 Titanium 500, I ran it thru a few benchmark tests. One which was Quake3 (OpenGL), Unreal Tournament (Direct3D), and 3DMark2001. The test rig we used:


For the Quake3 test, I used a variety of resolutions to see how well the Geforce 3 TI 500 could handle itself. All tests in Quake 3 were running with 32bit color.

Resolution Frame Rate Clock Speed
1024x768 130.8 250/525
1200x1024 94.8 250/525
1600x1200 66.3 250/525
1024x768 128.4 240/500
1200x1024 91.3 240/500
1600x1200 63.7 240/500

The UT test consist of Direct3D, 32bit color with various resolutions.

Resolution Frame Rate Clock Speed
1024x768 96.2 240/500
1200x1024 94.1 240/500
1600x1200 91.0 240/500

A video card review wouldn't be complete without a 3DMark2001 benchmark. Did we benchmark with it? You bet! This program is avaliable to anyone, and it can be downloaded from Madonion.com. It will run about 16 different graphical test's on your video card and give you a "Score". The higher the score, the better. You can also see what your score looks like compared against other users that have the same setup as you do. Enough with the chit chat, and on with the results!

The first time I ran the 3DMark2001 benchmark, I used the 21.88 Detonator drivers. Below is the score I got:



WoW, that's a pretty good score, in my book :) I thought I would download the new 22.50 Detonator drivers and see if my score would increase. My score after installing the 22.50 detonator drivers:



When I saw 7226, I was happy :) It was a big jump up from the 2200 score I got with my old Voodoo5 5500. Hrm, wonder what kind of score I would get if I increased the FSB and bump up the core and memory clock speeds on the card? :o)

This is what my video card score looks like, compared to other people's score:



I'm up on top :) That's what I like to see.

Overclocking

You may ask yourself, Why do I need to overclock a video card that is already the fastest on the market? Well, if you run a high resolution like 1920x1200 or 2048x1536 and have your graphics settings turned to high, your going to lag (Frame rate wise). Or maybe you just want to beat your friend and blow their 3DMark2001 score away. In any case, you can overclock your video card to get somemore performance out of it. My friend Greg, showed me this game called Microsoft Train Sim. Sound's cheesy I know, but this game has some awesome graphics, and it's great for testing video cards. I was running 1024x768 32bit color, and all of the graphic settings in that game on high, and I was getting 28-35fps. That should tell you how detail the graphics are in this game. As you can see, if I were to overclock my video card I could run a higher resolution in that game without a bad frame rate. We already did a small overclock earlier when we were playing the Quake3 demo. We are going to really see what this card, and the stock heatsink/fan is made of.

Overclocking this card is very easy. Right click your desktop and click properties, click on the settings tab, then on advance. Now, find the Geforce 3 TI 500 tab and click it then click on the Additional Properties button. Lastly, click the Clock Frequencies tab and you should see that looks like this:



If you don't see this screen, go back and try again :) To enable overclocking of your card you need to checkmark the box at the top. Once you have done that, you should be able to adjust the core and memory settings. We have already done 250/525 and it worked great. We will now try and go higher, say.. 260/550. If this is the first that you have overclocked your video card, it's best to start low and work your way up. When overclocking there is always a "sweet" spot that is fast and yet stable. I'm sure with an upgraded heatsink and fan we can go even higher with this card. I'll try and upgrade the heatsink and fan and see how much more I can overclock, and I'll update this review with my results.

Conclusion

I'm very happy with this card and there are alot of things I like about this card, but there are also a few things I don't like. I don't like the small fan that they put on the heatsink, I think they should have put dual fans or one good fan. The price of this thing is outrageous! I would recommend you wait until the price drops before buying one. Lastly, an overclocked Geforce 3 would just about be head and head with this card. If you want to save some money, go with the Geforce 3 and overclock it, and you should come close to the speed and performance of this card. The software bundle wasn't impressive at all. My SB Live! X-Gamer "$100 Sound card" came with more games and software than this $300 video card. Don't get me wrong, the Geforce 3 TI 500 is a superior card, and should be around along time!

Pros

  • Fast!!!
  • Excellent graphics!
  • Very overclockable

    Cons

  • Very expensive!
  • About the speed of an overclocked Geforce 3
  • Needs a fan and heatsink upgrade
  • Lacks a good software bundle