inbuilt Dual Filter mechanism and Super Signal Highway promises to
offer unparalleled picture quality for any resolution. In order to perform the visual tests, I removed all external
looped-back connections and connected the Spectra’s output
straight into my monitor input.
What’s that raised platform for?
A Super Signal Highway to digitally guide all signals to the
Video RAMDAC. Hmmm…Can
I get one up to my monitor?
my usual resolution of 1024 x 768 / 32bit with a refresh rate set at
75Hz, it looked as sharp (if not sharper) than my Diamond TNT2 card. I tried extremely hard to look for a significant difference,
but couldn’t really pinpoint any obvious improvement over my
increasing the refresh rate to 85Hz (max that my monitor can take)
did exhibit a slight improvement in clarity over my original TNT2
resolutions of 1152 x 864 and above, my old Mitsubishi monitor just
couldn’t cut it with its jaded 0.28 dot pitch. Hence, I couldn’t really test out the visual prowess of the
card, without getting hold of a larger monitor or one with a smaller
dpi. But from my
limited testing, I can conclude that it does offer as good or
perhaps, better picture quality than my V770 card. But I guess the Spectra’s visual advantage would only be
applicable for those with 0.25dpi / 19” monitors and above.
only commercial software that the Spectra 5400PE comes with, is the
WinDVD player by Intervideo. My
past experience has given me access to sample several software DVD
players (including Cinemaster, XingDVD and PowerDVD). In my opinion, WinDVD is probably the most balanced player
and would be a welcome addition for anyone buying the card.
bundled WinDVD player (version 126.96.36.199) does support multiple
speakers (4 or 6 speakers – full Dolby Digital) decoding.
However, the only caveat is that the player supports a
limited number of multi-speaker soundcards (so far I only know of
the Fortemedia chipset– like the Magic Live 5.1 soundcard, that is
supported). My Creative
SBLive!! isn’t supported and both the 4 / 6 speaker options have
been grayed out.
that aside, the software DVD playback is handled extremely well on
my Sony 6X DVD-ROM drive. I
even put in my “Zhang Hui Mei In Concert” DVD, whose MPEG-2
encoding is of a lower standard than that of Hollywood movies, to
test its dexterity. It
handled it perfectly. Even
at the opening title sequence, where I would consistently get a
glitch with other software players (ie. XingDVD, Cinemaster and
PowerDVD), WinDVD managed to play it through without problems. Perhaps it points to a larger buffering mechanism that WinDVD
"Enough! Just give me your