Pros & Cons
- Excellent performance under stress loads
- Low power/cooling requirements
- Drivers need some work
- FSAA pretty, but unusable
- Hard to justify against a GeForce2 GTS
In the end, if you're into bleeding-edge triple-digit framerates, go somewhere else to blow your cash. If you're debating between the purchase of a GeForce2 MX and this card, though, the immediate performance of this card can certainly win you over. The GeForce2 MX can push more frames than this one, and thus has more brute-force power, but this card can do pretty good at any resolution and color-depth, whereas the GeForce2 MX will wimp out as the going gets tough. The GeForce2 MX is also well streamlined, which means that any weak element in your system will likely hinder its performance. With the recent pricedrops in the GeForce2 GTS, however, the decision of buying this card becomes a difficult one. If you've read about the recent flap concerning NVIDIA's marketing tactics against the Kyro II, however, you'll start to wonder if there's a reason NVIDIA's afraid of what this chip can do.
In that light, this chip seems very well designed, but its alternative rendering techniques make it look bad in benchmarking, and the driver quality is questionable. I honestly feel that in actual practice and usage, the chipset does exactly what it was intended to do, and does it very well.
The 3D Prophet 4500 may not get the performance marks, but it works very well nonetheless. If you're in need of a good budget upgrade that won't get held back by your processor, then look no further. You might want to keep your eye on it for a little while, though, to make sure things start working properly on the driver side.
Rating: 7/10 SystemLogistics
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