Canopus Spectra 5400 PE - Page 12

The Last Word
So what’s the verdict you may ask?  Well, I really (x10) wanted so much to find something truly outstanding about the Spectra 5400PE that would warrant me replacing my V770. However, sad to say, I am unmoved.

The biggest flaw in my opinion is the inability to run stably at overclocked AGP bus speeds of 124MHz and above. Considering that this card would be marketed as a high-end product, it would be logical to deduce that a large proportion of potential buyers (such as myself) would have overclocked P3 systems.

Specifically for those with overclocked P3 450s, accustomed to speeds of 558MHz (and above), it would be an unacceptable sacrifice in general system performance just for the purer and sharper visual output that the 5400PE offers. I guess unless your motherboard supports some sort of multiplier that limits AGP bus-speeds to 66-75 MHz, it won’t be possible to run it at higher bus-speeds.

However, Canopus supporters may argue that gameplay at 1024 x 768 / 32 bit, is usually limited by the TNT2 core / mem speed rather than the P3 processor (as the benchmarks indicate). But unless you’re really that displeased with the visual quality of a regular TNT2 Ultra card, then I don’t foresee many paying the price difference and still forsake general system performance for this cause.

For gamers interested in pure performance, the high retail price of SGD 550 just doesn’t warrant its purchase. It would be more cost-effective / value-added to save the price differential of SGD 200, and go for another TNT2 Ultra board (either Xentor or Creative Labs) and overclock it to similar speeds.

However, Canopus must be accredited for their speedy driver updates (v2.11 was out just today). In addition, their drivers do seem slightly more optimized than the reference drivers, as I have read write-ups of similarly spec-ed Ultras and system configs that failed to perform as well.

It is indeed a pity, as one can tell the efforts taken by Canopus to ensure the best visual quality possible. Their proprietary design and technology offers the crème-de-la-crème and icing to a great product. But till it runs at a higher bus-speed, I guess it’ll be back to my trusty old Diamond V770 for now.

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