NVIDIA GeForce 2

Leadtek's new card arrived first, beating Creative to the punch by three weeks. However, the evident haste with which it was built had its price - the drivers were not fully debugged, and the heatsink, though generous, was incorrectly fitted (a quick check revealed that another WinFast suffered from the same problem). The more pedestrian pace of Creative's development is witnessed by the neat and sturdy construction of its card, which revealed no obvious faults.

These cards were tested against each other, and against the original GeForce, on the same 933MHz Pentium III testbed. The older card scored 4652 3DMarks in 3DMark 2000, a very respectable score, and 65.4fps at 640 x 480 with 16bit colour in the Dagoth Moor benchmark (designed specifically to test the GeForce).

These new cards just aren't in the same class at all. The Leadtek scored 6732 3DMarks against Creative's 6536. In the Dagoth Moor test, the Creative card topped the Leadtek by 92.2 to 89.9. Both left the geriatric GeForce choking in their dust.

While the default performance of both cards was similar, the standard of engineering was not. The original drivers supplied with the Leadtek appeared to be pre-release versions. They were far from satisfactory, breaking up textures and constantly displaying the NVIDIA logo during gameplay. Hopefully, this will be fixed by the time the card reaches the market. The heatsink problem is more serious, since it's not easy to spot and could easily damage the card.

The Leadtek card is cheaper than the Creative, though not so much cheaper as to justify the difference in construction. If Leadtek wants to challenge the leaders in this market, it will need to either drop its prices or improve its quality control.

Creative GeForce 2 GTS

Price: $799

Distributor: Creative Labs Australia

Phone: (02) 9666 6100

URL: australia.creative.com

Leadtek WinFast GeForce 2 GTS

Price: $779

Distributor: Beyond Computers

Phone: 1300 130 029

URL: www.leadtek.com.tw

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