ad info
   personal technology

 custom news
 Headline News brief
 daily almanac
 CNN networks
 CNN programs
 on-air transcripts
 news quiz

CNN Websites
 video on demand
 video archive
 audio on demand
 news email services
 free email accounts
 desktop headlines

 message boards




PC World

Top 10 graphics boards for gamers


June 18, 1999
Web posted at: 4:48 p.m. EDT (2048 GMT)

by Rex Farrance

(IDG) -- Our current round of testing shows two important trends in graphics boards for gamers. Good news first: The new generation of graphics chips is definitely raising the bar for 3D gaming performance -- some of the AGP boards we tested in the last couple of months are among the fastest we've ever seen. Unfortunately, because of driver problems, these latest boards are not always the greatest.

This month we tested five of the latest models, and two of them made our chart. But even those weren't without blemishes -- including display glitches caused by the aforementioned buggy drivers and one sluggish showing on 2D applications tests.

In this latest go-around of our Top 10 Graphics Boards for Gamers, we continue to emphasize 3D gaming performance, although we employ the same proven tests we use for PC World magazine's Top 10 Graphics Boards.
  PC World home page
  FileWorld find free software fast
  Make your PC work harder with these tips
 Reviews & in-depth info at
 *'s desktop PC page's portable PC page's Windows software page's personal news page
  Year 2000 World
  Questions about computers? Let's editors help you
  Subscribe to's free daily newsletter for computer geniuses (& newbies)
  Search in 12 languages
 News Radio
 * Fusion audio primers
 * Computerworld Minute

As always, we update the pricing and introduce some new models.

This month's players

Like last month, the biggest changes are again to be found in the AGP category. Two new boards make our chart: Diamond Multimedia's Stealth III S540 -- which is based on the S3 Savage4 Pro + chip, and the ATI Xpert 128, based on the Rage Fury 128 GL chip. Both earned their spots with impressive 3D performance. The Stealth III S540 posted a higher Quake II frame rate than all but one other board -- the 3dfx Voodoo3 3000 (first reviewed last month and still on our chart). The Xpert 128 was very fast on both the 3D and mixed-media business tests. But unlike the other models on our chart, the Diamond Multimedia board was slow running business apps. The ATI board's drivers disappointed us, and its display quality wasn't as good as it should have been.

Last month's number two PCI board, Guillemot's Maxi Gamer Phoenix -- soon to be discontinued -- dropped out, making space for Creative Labs' Graphics Blaster RIVA TNT. Price changes rejiggered the rankings, but otherwise the PCI chart stays the course.

Top 5 PCI gaming boards

  1. Creative Labs 3D Blaster Banshee

  2. Quantum3D Raven PCI

  3. Matrox Millennium G200 SD PCI

  4. Diamond Multimedia Viper V550

  5. Creative Labs Graphics Blaster RIVA TNT

Top 5 AGP boards

  1. Creative Labs Graphics Blaster RIVA TNT

  2. Diamond Multimedia Stealth III S540

  3. Hercules Terminator Beast SuperCharged

  4. ATI Technologies Xpert 128

  5. 3dfx Voodoo3 3000

Beyond the top 10

This month we also tested ATI's All-In-Wonder 128 and Rage Fury along with Diamond Multimedia's Viper V770; none of these AGP boards made our chart.

In addition, we tested the following PCI and AGP boards, none of which rated highly enough to make our Top 10.

PCI boards

    •  ATI Technologies Xpert@Play 98
    •  Elsa Erazor II
    •  Matrox Marvel G200-TV

AGP boards

    •  3dfx Voodoo3 2000
    •  Aopen PA2010 and PA70
    •  Asus V3400 TNT
    •  Aztech VGS3D
    •  CardExpert Technology Cardex GX3 and Dragon 4000
    •  Creative Labs 3D Blaster Banshee
    •  Elsa Erazor II and Gloria Synergy
    •  Gigabyte Technology GA-630
    •  Great Magic MachSpeed Raptor 740
    •  Hercules Computer Dynamite TNT
    •  Matrox Marvel G200-TV and Millennium G200
    •  Number Nine Revolution IV
    •  Quantum3D Raven AGP

Rex Farrance is senior reviews editor for PC World Online.

Chart: PCI gaming boards
(PC World Online)
Chart: AGP gaming boards
(PC World Online)
Top 10 graphics boards (June 1999)
(PC World Online)
Sound sensation: Best sound systems for gamers
The best products of 1999
(PC World Online)
3Dfx, STB merger may cut graphics choices
(PC World Online)
Voodoo3 boards: 3D lightning
(PC World Online)
Year 2000 World
Note: Pages will open in a new browser window
External sites are not endorsed by CNN Interactive.

Creative Labs, Inc.
Diamond Multimedia Systems, Inc.
Matrox Graphics Inc.
Hercules Computer Technology
Note: Pages will open in a new browser window
External sites are not endorsed by CNN Interactive.
Enter keyword(s)   go    help

Back to the top   © 2001 Cable News Network. All Rights Reserved.
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines.