If you listen to the benchmarks alone, then it doesn't look too good for the Kyro II. The problem may lie in that the benchmarks are not very HSR-friendly. MadOnion's benchmarks generally carry an equal number of outdoor and indoor scenes, offering potential for the card to perform its HSR magic. Something still didn't work out right, though, and the scores forecast the Kyro II's doom. If you look at the Q3A scores, though, things don't seem to be so bad. The Kyro II performs just fine alongside its brethren, and the other cards have been on the market for over a year, giving plenty of time for driver optimizations and maturity.
Since benchmarks don't tell the full story, I elected to give the Kyro II some general playtesting. Instead of just benchmarking the Kyro II in Quake III, I started playing through a few tiers using it. Just to make things interesting, I cranked up the engine to maximum quality and ran the game at 1280x1024. The results were nothing short of surprising. The graphics were smooth and seamless, and didn't feel as if they dipped a bit below 45 FPS. This didn't seem to make any sense at all, but the more I played it, the more things seemed unbalanced in the ruling of the video card's performance. I tried out other titles, like Unreal Tournament and Trespasser. Unreal Tournament seemed to perform equally well. Trespasser, on the other hand, failed to run. It seems to have fallen victim to the Kyro II's immature drivers.
In watching the performance of the benchmarks, I frequently saw the Kyro II stutter and jitter in places, yet it turned out comparable scores to the other cards. The game performance of the 3D Prophet showed no signs of this, however, leading me to believe that the benchmarks don't accurately measure the capabilities of a card using HSR algorithms. When employed in actual practice, the games tended to respond very well to the card, running just as fast as they did on the other cards.
Full-Screen Anti-Aliasing is also available on the Kyro II, as you've noticed with the benchmarks I gave in Q3A a page before. The Kyro II's implementation is questionable, however. 3DMark2001, which contains the option to run tests in FSAA, would not allow the option to be set when using the Kyro II. Even if I turned on the "Force FSAA" options buried within the control panel, the card still would not run with FSAA turned on. Furthermore, when running Q3A and Alice with FSAA turned on, the games ran okay, but the keyboard and mouse response seemed to lag by almost a half-second. Even casual gamers would scoff at such an occurrence, let alone twitch gamers who live and die by their mouse's refresh rate.
No Full Screen Anti-Aliasing. Click Image To Enlarge.
Above and below, you'll see some images below which depict the image quality of the Kyro II's laggy FSAA. Unfortunately, the JPEG compression somewhat destroyed the image quality, but you can still see areas where FSAA is taking effect. In particular, notice the surface edges on the rocket launcher, and also the stone molding in the lower-left corner at the bottom of the archway. The FSAA quality of the card seems to do really well. If only the performance were so pleasing…
Full-Screen Anti-Aliasing Active. Click Image To Enlarge.