Top 10 graphics boards for gamers
June 18, 1999
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.
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
Top 5 AGP boards
Beyond the top 10This 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.
ATI Technologies Xpert@Play 98
Elsa Erazor II
Matrox Marvel G200-TV
3dfx Voodoo3 2000
Aopen PA2010 and PA70
Asus V3400 TNT
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.
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Chart: PCI gaming boards
Creative Labs, Inc.
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