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SGN's Holiday Special

With the technology nowadays, consumers can be often confused by all the advertising and marketing. Therefore, we have put together a quick guide concerning the Voodoo 2, TNT and Banshee cards. We tested a card from each of the 3 categories. We used STB's Velocity 4400 16MB TNT card, AOpen's PA 2000 12MB Voodoo 2 and Diamond's Fusion 16MB Banshee card. The reason we choose not to go through all the different brand names in each category is that we feel that the majority of the cards are very similar. Maybe with slight differences here and there. We tried out the cards on a bunch of games. We will try to make the review as brief as possible so we don't take up your valuable shopping time.:)

The Equipment
Having a video card that supports Glide and/or DirectX is almost nowadays vital to experience a game the way it is meant to be experienced. We tested the PA 2000 Voodoo 2, Velocity 4400 TNT and the Diamond Fusion Banshee cards on just about all the newer sports games including Madden 99, NCAA 99, Gameday 99, Tiger Woods 99, FIFA 99, Nascar 1999 and much more. We are using two systems for this test. First off, we used a K6 266 MMX (the original chip, not a 3D Now! chip), and after that we went to a Pentium-II 450 CPU.

The Installation
Installation for all three of the cards was a breeze. Nothing more than just unscrewing the computer, sticking it into a PCI slot and screwing the computer back together. After that, we booted up Windows and it detected the new hardware. We then installed the drivers and we were done!

Layout: Anything Special?
The Diamond Fusion Banshee 16MB Card has a fan attached to the card. Diamond decided to attach the fan to enable them to overclock the card. The Fusion runs at 115MHz core speed and 125MHz memory bus speed which is the fastest Banshee card on the market today.

The Banshee design only has one texture processing unit, while the Voodoo2 has two. This means is that in normal Direct 3D games, the Banshee's higher clock rate and faster memory will yield higher performance than a single Voodoo 2, but in games featuring support for the dual texture units (multiple passes per pixel), the Voodoo 2 will have better framerates. There aren't many sports games that have a need for dual texture units, though. The dual texture units are mostly for gamers who enjoy Quake and other graphically intense games.

Please note that the drivers that came with the Monster Fusion did not support Bilinear Filtering with Mip-Mapping or Trilinear Filtering, but don't fear, updated drivers are available on their Web site which fix the problem.

Software Bundle
What about the software bundle that comes with each card? Well the PA 2000 Voodoo 2 card came with 12 demos. STB's V4400 TNT card came with the full version of Forsaken along with a lot of other Web programs. The Diamond Fusion included the full version of Unreal as well as a little coupon which you can send away for Microsoft's award-winning Motocross Madness.

Click here for our performance ranking of the three cards...

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