Creative 3D Blaster Banshee - Part 2

Box Contents
The half length card was housed between thick layers of sponge contained in Creative's typically colourful box, together with a drivers/utilities CDROM disc, full-version of Incoming & manual plus a small installation guide. Here's the run down:

  • 3D Blaster Banshee board
  • Drivers for Windows 95/98 (DirectDraw, Direct3D, Glide)
  • Drivers for Windows NT 4.0 (DirectDraw and Glide)
  • 3Dfx OpenGL drivers for Quake1/Quake2/Hexen2
  • BlasterControl desktop control software
  • Creative Software MPEG-1 player
  • Incoming (full version) with manual
  • Sonnetech's Colorific and 3Deep
  • Installation Guide

I'd gotten this card for a friend who'd asked me to build a low cost PC for him, so it is on a spanking new Celeron 450A sitting atop the Abit BH6 which I tested the Creative Banshee. Really no problems on this one, even if you did it without the aid of a printed manual. Ok, here's how the box described it:

1. Insert the 3D Blaster Banshee into a AGP slot, ensuring that the connector is fully seated.
2. Connect your monitor to the 3D Blaster Banshee card.
3. Once you have assembled the PC, run the 3D Blaster Banshee setup programs located on the diskettes or CD-ROM. Refer to the manual for details.

For me, I had simply plugged the card into the AGP slot, connected the monitor and switched on the PC with a boot up disk inserted (remember this is a newly assembled PC!). I won't bore you with more details of partitioning the harddisk and installing Windows 98 on the computer.

"Even after the plain sailing installation thus far, one thing was seriously troubling me... this card is freeaakin' hot! Not just the chip but the whole PCB as well!"

Even after the plain sailing installation thus far, one thing was seriously troubling me... this card is freeaakin' hot! Not just the chip but the whole PCB as well! (I haven't even started using Windows at this point!) It was certainly hotter than the evaluation Spectra 2500 (TNT) from Canopus even though both chips are fabricated using the 0.35 micron process. This brings me to wonder if cutting the cost of implementing a cooling fan heatsink was a wise choice for Creative.

Without much more delay, I'd jumped into my car to Sim Lim Square to buy a JUST COOLER Slot Fan, which has since been dedicated to cool this smoking silicon, bringing down temperatures significantly to a 'touchable' level.

After the Win98 installation, the OS detected the card and asked for the drivers disk which I promptly supplied. All went on fine. Immediately after the reboot, Colorific popped up asking me to calibrate my screen with the card (I didn't bother, it looked mightily fine to me!)

Without any thought, I changed the screen resolution to my preferred 1024x768, 16-bit colours. Not a glitch up till this point. Everything looks really vibrant and SHARP!!! A marked contrast to my Diamond Viper V330 4Mb Riva128 card. Kan who'd once thought it was a problem with my Philips 17A being blurry was wowed by the change and we both turned our criticism of the lacklustre quality found on my Viper.

Next, I breached the "Don't fix it if it ain't broken" rule to download the latest BIOs and drivers for the card. These drivers seem to be sprouting out of Creative's Labs incessantly which had once made me worry that my initial install would be ridden with problems. It hadn't been. Nevertheless, I took no chances in case I ran into them in the future - I flashed v1.01.2 of the BIOS (dtd 06/11/98) and installed v4.10.01.0106-4.232 of the drivers. No problems absolutely. Am I lucky or what?


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