ELSA announced this card, a slightly less powerful version of the GLADIAC, a while back and we have actually had it for a while and its about time this review went up, so here goes, read on to find out what we thought of it.
GeForce 2 MX GFX Processor
350 MHz RAMDAC
AGP2x/4x, including fast writes and execute mode
256-bit 2D acceleration, optimized for 32, 24, 16, 15, and 8 bit color depths, hardware cursor in TrueColor, multi buffering (double, triple and quadruple for fluid movement and video playback)
256-bit engine with HyperTexel architecture, optimized Direct3D and OpenGL acceleration, complete DirectX7 support, 32-bit Z and stencil buffer, Single pass multi texturing, anti-aliasing, high-quality texture filtering, including anisotropic; advanced per-pixel texturing for perspective correction, fog and depth cueing, texture compression
Enhanced motion compensation for full-screen video playback at all DVD and HDTV resolutions, video acceleration for MPEG-1, MPEG-2 and Indeo
DPMS, DDC2B, plug&play
Direct3D, OpenGL, DirectX7, DirectDraw, DirectShow
Up to 2048 x 1536 at 60hz
6 year Warranty via hotline and Website
First impressions reveal nothing, It looks similar to any other graphics card out there, some chips a connection or 2 and that's it, the card is very small but not thinking that small means less powerful we installed the card an proceeded to play with it.
Since we got this card as a preview version there was no manual, they supplied some beta software on a CD but that was that.
My experience with ELSA cards started very badly, the ELSA Erazor III and Erazor X didn't work at all no matter what I tried but thankfully the GLADIAC did and our review showed that it was a stonkingly good card so I was expecting everything to go swimmingly for this card as well.
The card being so small was no problem getting into the actual case and after loading into windows 98 it detected the card right away and I proceeded to install the beta drivers which worked wonderfully first time.
As this was an nVIDIA powered card I thought to try the Detonator drivers with it but I was not expecting to have any luck as this was a preview version, however they did work without any glitches and I decided to test the card using these drivers instead.
Usability & Performance Statistics:
Celeron @ 466mhz
A-bit BE6 Motherboard
128mb PC100 RAM
18gb IBM Deskstar UDMA/66 Hard Drive
Pioneer 6x SCSI DVD Drive
Phillips 32x CD-ROM Drive
ELSA GLADIAC, 32mb RAM - GeForce 2
Guillemot 3D Prophet 2, 32mb RAM - GeForce 2
The programs used to test the card were Mad Onion's 3D Winmark 2000 and Quake 3, 3D winmark was run at 1024x768x32 and was set to run all the tests, Quake 3 was run at 3 resolutions, 640x480, 800x600 & 1024x768. I choose to run Q3 at these resolutions as I still know many people who use 640x480 to gain the highest frame rates while 1024x768 is one of the best resolutions to test a 3D Graphics card. Each resolution was furthermore set to either 16bit Textures & Colour or 32bit Textures and Colour where possible.
The GLADIAC MX was able to do 16bit and 32bit Textures & Colour in all of these resolutions and you can see from the scores below that it beats the Guillemot GeForce 2 in every test except for the 1024x768 32bit colour test and falls just short of the full blown GLADIAC in most resolutions, you can see the scores below.
3D Winmark 2000, set to run all of the tests performed really well. Many of the game examples didn't slow down once and at times in the adventure game the frame rate was well above 80fps. The simple demos such as texture rendering and multiple lighting ran smoothly and nicely with out any hitches. 3D Winmark 2000 gave the GLADIAC MX 3047winmarks, compared to 2566 for the 3D Prophet 2, the biggest surprise was the fact that the GLADIAC MX scored higher than the full-blown GLADIAC, which scored only 2978 Winmarks!
To those who want to know how the games play, well I can tell you that according to the stats above for Quake 3 that's only the tip of the Iceberg. Every game we tried, Diablo 2, Daikatana, Unreal Tournament, half-life and more ran at amazing speeds, not a glitch or hitch anywhere. For those wanting to know if its good for online games, well yes it is, gameplay ran very well at 640x480 on Half-life Counterstrike and TFC and in UT at 800x600 the game ran smoothly with only a few jerks here and there.
The card also came with the ability to do FSAA (Full Scene Anti Aliasing) and with this effect on the games ran very fast indeed. Below are 2 screenshots which show off the effect of FSAA in half-life, as you can see the screenshots on the right is normal game mode while the one on the left has FSAA enabled and you can clearly see that the lines around the gun are smoother and the lines of the structures around are smoother. FSAA is really getting better and this card shows how far card have got since FSAA was a regular feature in modern GFX cards.
'The card In front is a GLADIAC!' was the final conclusion in our last review, well this card is practically as good as that one. The Quake 3 FPS scores were higher than I thought and as the resolution increased they dropped but considering this is the run down card its just too damn good. Once again ELSA pull out all the stops, I can recommend this card to anyone who needs a cheaper card that performs very well indeed.