How does its performance fare? In the testing following I pit the Hercules 3D Prophet 4500 against an ATI All in Wonder RADEON and another Hercules card, the 3D Prophet II GTS 64MB, based on the GeForce2 chipset. I originally opted to have the Kyro II overclocked as another "card" to compare results to, but you'll find out more about that later. It should also be noted that the Prophet 4500 comes in two flavors - with and without TV-out. Hercules supplied us with the 4500 sans TV-out. The TV-output equipped model should cost you about $10 more.
The tests were conducted in both Windows 98 and Windows 2000 using DirectX 8.1 and the newest official drivers available. For the Kyro II, the drivers used were the official Hercules v7.103 drivers. The GeForce2 was run using NVIDIA WHQL-certified reference 12.41 drivers, and the ATI card was using the drivers-only installation, v5.13.01, build 3102. Tests were conducted using MadOnion's 3DMark2000 and 3DMark2001, eTestingLabs' 3DWinBench 2000, and Quake III Arena.
The testing system was an Athlon 900 on an Abit KT7A-RAID with 256 MB of RAM and an IBM Deskstar 75GXP 20GB on the ATA-100 controller. The most recent official 4-in-1 drivers from VIA were installed (4.32), along with the SBLive! 5.1drivers, and the appropriate video card drivers. Let's begin.
Here, we see that the Kyro II seems to perform about half as well as a GeForce2. Oddly enough, as I was watching the benchmarks for 3DMark2000 go by, the framerates on the Kyro II weren't all that much lower than those of the competitor cards. Next, we have the same tests in Windows 2000.
The GeForce2, using v12.41 WHQL drivers, didn't much like the idea of switching to 32-bit color mode. It would cause a memory dump every time 3DMark2000 tried to switch it over. This seems to be a bug in 3DMark2000, however, because 3DMark2001 ran in 32-bit color with this configuration.
Here, the Kyro II exhibits much better benchmarking performance, and comes up to speed with the Radeon. It still doesn't match up to the raw power in the GeForce2 however...
>> Testing/Benchmarking Cont.