Creative 3D Blaster GeForce Pro - Page 3

Resilience Unsurpassed

a.  The Machine behind the cards

As a start, let’s look at the system specifications used for testing:

  • P3 450 @ 558MHz (4.5 x 124MHz)

  • 128MB LGS RAM


  • 01 x 13GB Quantum CR Ultra-ATA66 HDD (5400 rpm); 01 x 10.1 GB Seagate Ultra-ATA66 HDD (5400rpm); 01 x 13.2 GB IBM Ultra-ATA66 HDD (7200rpm)

  • 01 x 3D Blaster Pro (32MB DDR RAM onboard) using 3.53 rev Nvidia based Creative customized drivers; Default settings with core/mem settings at 120/300; BIOS version

  • 01 x Sony 6X DVD-ROM drive

  • SBLive!! Platinum (Liveware 3.0 drivers)

  • VirataLink 1025 ATM card

  • 17” Mitsubishi DiamondScan 70 monitor (0.28 dpi)

  • Win 98SE

  • Ambient Temperature of 26 degrees Celsius.

b. Overclockability

As usual, I tested its overclockability in 2 aspects – AGP bus-speed and Core/Mem clock settings. Firstly, I am pleased to report that the GeForce Pro handled my overclocked 82.6MHz AGP bus-speed just fine, as its SDRAM version. So the switch to DDR has not affected its AGP resilience in anyway. 

Secondly, the card I received was extremely overclockable. I really couldn’t believe how high I could clock this thing up to…  Now if only all cards could be this resilient!! Just check out the table below and you’ll see what I mean…

Core Clock Speed Mem Clock Speed Benchmark Result
145 370 Hung about 1 second into Q3Demo benchmarking
145 365 Passed Q3Demo*, but hung in D3D benchmarking
145 355 Passed all Q3Demo and D3D benchmarks
150 355 Hung after several seconds during Q3Demo benchmarking

* Do note that Q3Demo used is the latest rev (i.e. Based on Q3Test 1.09 build); Also 1 cycle means a complete range of benchmarks for different resolutions and colour depths. 

Note that I had to use Powerstrip to change the mem settings beyond 330, as the Creative overclocking utility sets that as its memory speed limit.

I can testify that 145/355 exhibits good stability, having put it through 4 to 5 hrs straight of continuous benchmarking without lock-ups. This includes running it through 3D Exerciser, the strenuous Dagoth Moor Zoological Gardens benchmark, etc. It was strange that at a mem speed of 365, I managed to run a complete set of Q3Demo OpenGL benchmarks just fine, but D3D benchmarks would fail consistently. Nevertheless, it seems that 145/355 is the sweet spot for my setup.

Just as a comparison, my previous SDRAM 3D Blaster GeForce could only make it up to a 140 core stable setting. Hence, as the GeForce chips are typically similar, I was probably fortunate enough to receive a top of the line retail sample. But practically, I think one can generally expect a stable setting ranging from 130 to 150 core speed for the Pro. 

In addition to the DDR memory overclocking experience during my tests, I was also privileged to test yet another DDR GeForce sample during a recent Sitex '99 computer exhibition at Creative’s booth about 1-2 weeks back (held in Singapore, Suntec City). Then, I also cranked the DDR mem setting all the way up to 330 (max allowable on the Creative overclocking utility slide-bar and ran 15 mins worth of Q3Demo benchmarks without any lockups). Hence, I am confident that the Infineon DDR SGRAM can expectedly achieve between 330 – 360 stable mem speeds.

Oooh… Groovy! But how does that
translate to actual gaming performance!!??

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