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Re-Printed From SLCentral

Visiontek Xtasy 6964
Author: David Pitlyuk
Date Posted: November 28th, 2001
URL: http://www.slcentral.com/reviews/hardware/video/visiontek/xstasy6964

Introduction

NVIDIA is right on track with their release cycle, this time announcing their Titanium lineup, the Ti, Ti200, and Ti500. Visiontek sent us their entire line. So, while this is officially a review of their Ti500 model, we will be looking at the numbers of all the cards and more.

Visiontek actually intended their GeForce3 line to be OEM only, but then at that point in time they decided to target the consumer market as well. The difference? OEM will allow a company to sell a lot more of their product, but because of demand for quality in retail, a company has the chance to get some hardcore fans. Does their Ti (Titanium) lineup allow them to get some dedicated users? That's what we'll be finding out. Not only will we be looking at the numbers, we'll take things like price and offerings into consideration, as these play a crucial part in the retail game.

Visiontek bases their cards on NVIDIA's reference design, we call this a vanilla design, since nothing is really changed. Visiontek had the first Ti cards out on the shelves, lets move on and see if they are worth a purchase.

Specs

Processor

  • NVIDIA GeForce3 Ti500 GPU

Bus Interface

  • 1x/2x/4x AGP with Fast Writes

Memory

  • 64Mb 3.8ns Hi-speed DDR 500MHz DDR-SDRAM using Lightspeed Memory Architecture.

RAMDAC

  • Built-in 350MHz

Maximum Resolution

  • 2048 x 1536 pixels
  • 60Hz to 240Hz

TV-Output Option

  • S-video
  • PAL + NTSC support

3D Performance

  • Lightspeed Memory Architecture
  • nFiniteFX engine technology
  • High resolution antialiasing (HRAA)
  • 2nd Generation Hardware Transform and Lighting
  • AGP 4x texture support
  • Alpha-Blending
  • Trilinear and 8-tap
  • Anisotropic filtering

What's New?

The GeForce3 Ti 500 (Ti standing for titanium) is essentially the same card as the GeForce3 but really just clocked higher. The Ti 500's core runs at 240MHz and the memory runs at 500MHz. Compared to the original GeForce3 whose core runs at 200MHz and memory runs at 460MHz, the Ti runs around 17% faster in the core and 8% faster in memory.

In The Box/Features

So what can you expect in the box? All you can really expect is the card, a driver CD (Which is actually the reference drivers from NVIDIA, we recommend just downloading the newest versions from NVIDIA), Cyberlink PowerDVD, and a quick install guide. Oh yeah, on the CD, there is a also a video guide as to how to install your video card, so if you're a newbie, that's definitely useful. As you can tell, there's not much to look forward to, BUT, that all comes out in the price. While the card retails at $349.99, we found it on iBuyer as low as $306.67 (The lowest price when writing this).

What kind of extras can you expect on the card itself? Well, as I stated, the card is based on the NVIDIA's reference design, which means it does have memory heatsinks, and nothing different or custom here. There is a DVI connector which I really like. The DVI connector is for LCD screens which have digital input. Most people use the regular analog input and this doesn't allow for the best quality, the DVI connector will allow you to really make use of your LCD.

Test Setup

  Hardware
Processor Intel Pentium 4 2GHz
Motherboard Intel D850MV
Memory 256MB PC800 Samsung RDRAM
Hard Drive IBM Deskstar 30GB 75GXP 7200RPM ATA100
Video Card(s) Visiontek Xstasy 6964 - NVIDIA GeForce3 Ti500
Visiontek Xstasy 6564 - NVIDIA GeForce3 Ti200
Visiontek GeForce3
Visiontek Xstasy 5864 - NVIDIA GeForce2 Ti
Visiontek GeForce2 MX400 64MB
Leadtek Winfast GeForce2 GTS
CD-ROM Sony CDU-5211 52X
Ethernet Netgear FA-311
  Software
Operating System Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition
Video Drivers NVIDIA Detonator 3 v21.85
  Benchmarking Applications
Gaming Quake III Arena v1.30 Final
3DMark 2001
Wolfenstein MP Test

3DMark 2001

As we can see here, and what you will be seeing with mainly every benchmark we ran, Visiontek's GeForce3 Ti500 card runs a little faster then everything else, but as the resolutions start to increase, the gap it creates increases as well. Comparing directly to the regular GeForce3 card, looking at each resolution in order (from 640x480 to 1600x1200) we see these percentages of increase in performance: 3.6% > 8.6% > 16%. At higher resolutions this is a pretty nice gain considering no real architecture was changed in the chip. You will also notice that the Ti200 is not running far behind, and at a retail sticker price of $150 less then the Ti500, it's not too shabby. Here is the percentage breakdown when comparing the Ti200 and the Ti500: 7.3% > 18% > 32%.

Quake3 Arena - Fastest

We see here that the Ti500 performs pretty much equal to its top competitors but we start to see the split again at 1600x1200 where there is a 16% performance gain over the GeForce3 and a 32.7% gain on the Ti200. At this setting in Quake3 it doesn't really unlock all of the potential of the card, which is why many of the other cards are running on par with the Ti500 until the highest resolution we tested.

Quake3 Arena - Normal

Now with more detail set, we see that more of the split in performance gains starts to happen now at a lower resolution, 1024x768. At 1600x1200 there is a 15% performance gain over the Ti500 and a 32.5% gain on the Ti200. Notice how the numbers are pretty constant in terms of how the Ti500 is performing over the other cards.

Quake3 Arena - High Quality

Now that we have high quality turned on, lets see what this baby can do. As we can see here, the percentage gain jumps up a little with a 7.7% gain on the GeForce3 at 1024x768 and a 15.5% gain at 1600x1200. As we look at the other cards being tested we can see that the GeForce2 Ti always runs a bit faster than the normal GeForce2.

Wolfenstein MP Test - atdemo6

As an standard for comparison we decided to use Anandtech's demo tests. They recorded two quick demos for this test by hopping on a random online server and going at it for a few; one outside on the beach with many players visible and some very big explosions and the other inside the compound with very few players. If you would like the demos yourself, you can download them here.

We tested with the standard high quality setting turned on.

We can see in this test that it doesn't really show much differences in performance until the 1600x1200 setting. Even at that point the Ti500, GF3, and Ti200 aren't running THAT much different from each other, but the rest of the cards definitely start losing their performance here as we've seen in the previous tests.

Notice how the FPS is a lot lower then some of the other tests, this bottleneck is not the card. The game doesn't necessarily put enough stress on the parts where some of the newer GeForce line cards excel until a higher resolution like 1600x1200, which is why there are very similar results at lower resolutions.

Wolfenstein MP Test - atdemo8

We see the same scenario in these tests as we did with atdemo6, but the Ti500 does show more of a performance gain at a higher resolution here. It ran about 12.4% faster over the GeForce3 and 28% faster then the Ti200.

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Doesn't cost that much more over the original GeForce3
  • Has a DVI connector
  • Is the fastest consumer card out there
  • Good price

Cons

  • No bundled software
  • Weak documentation
  • "Featureless"

Conclusion

Visiontek's Xtasy 6964 featuring the GeForce3 Ti500 chipset turned out to be a pretty decent competitor gaining about 15% or so at higher resolutions over the original GeForce3. The one thing you do have to look at is the prices though. You can find a Visiontek GeForce3 card for about $275 and a Ti500 card for about $310. That's a 11% addition in price, not too shabby eh?

Should we leave it at that and definitely recommend this card? No sir, if you look at Visiontek's Xtasy 6564 featuring the GeForce3 Ti200 chip, you will find that you can get it online for about $175. The card ran about 30% slower then the Ti500, but the price difference is about 43% less.

What does this mean? It may be your best bet to pick up a Ti200 card rather then the Ti500 if you want to upgrade from a non-GeForce3 card. Although if you want the latest and greatest, the Visiontek Xtasy 6964 is your best bet. It's a great card that runs very fast, if you want to impress the friends, stick one of these in your computer.

SLRating: 8.5/10

Re-Printed From SLCentral