ELSA Erazor X and X2 - Page 3

First Impression

Box and Design
The box design is attractive though less eye-catching compared to the stark-black Creative Annihilator boxes.


Box Front


Box Back

Erazor X SDR
Inside it, you will find the Erazor X being one rare board that differed from nVidia’s reference design. It comes on a trimmed PCB affixed with 4 pieces of Samsung 5.5ns SDRAM (instead of the widely-adopted ESMT) and no TV-Out support. In fact, it looks very much like its high-end Gloria II sibling, with a stubby fan/heatsink combo mounted.


Front: Erazor X SDR using non-reference design 


Back: Erazor X SDR

Erazor X2 DDR
Surprisingly, ELSA’s Erazor X2 DDR board did not come on another ‘in-house’ designed board. Instead, it utilized the reference layout you are familiar with. ELSA also did away with the mostly redundant VMI/VIP connectors and threw in great TV-Out support instead! The 'integrated' active heatsink is similar to that of Creative’s (see pics below).


Front: Erazor X2 DDR using nVidia's reference design


Back: Erazor X2 DDR

Different Places Of Birth
Aside from the above observations, if you care at all, the ‘Made in France’ vs the ‘Made in Taiwan’ sticker differentiated the origins of the X and the X2 respectively.


Different birthplace: SDR in France and...


... DDR in Taiwan

Documentation
Besides the TV-Out S-Video-to-Composite converter cable for the X2 and the CD bundle, you will be delighted to actually see a great set of printed manuals.


Installation Guide and Manual

They may not matter to most veteran card-swappers, but it is reassuring to see the efforts invested for good documentation in 3 different languages.

In fact, I found myself obliged to read the text. Frivolous as it might seem, here’s some steps they put down for a newbie:

‘Mission Possible’ was printed in bold, with the purpose of alleviating fears a newbie might have. Indeed, the attention to detail is amazing! Kudos to ELSA!

Take a step back
Install the standard VGA drive for your operating system. This will guard against any driver conflict between the old and the new graphics boards. You can find out how to do this on the pages that follow.

Make the first move
Disconnect your PC from the mains power supply before you open the housing! Before doing this, briefly touch the metal housing of the computer to draw off any electrostatic charges.

Get to the heart of things
Remove all retaining screws or release the catches for the PC housing, and remove the cover.

Out with the old…
Before inserting your new board, you should first reveal a slot by removing the blind bracket, or remove your old graphics board.

Take care when removing the board. If your computer was just running, the graphics processor may be very hot. Please let the board cool before removing it and avoid touching the board’s components under any circumstances.

… and in with the new
Insert the graphics board into the right slot on the main board and screw the mounting bracket to the housing.

Fit the housing
Close the PC and screw back the housing.
 

The right connections
Plug in the monitor cable and reconnect the computer to the power supply wit hthe power cord.

The final stage: the ELSA driver
Now install the ELSA driver for your operating system, as described in the pages which follow.

Alongside the 48 page Installation Guide comprising 3 languages, there is another neatly bound Manual that spans 38 pages per language, covering technical data, software drivers and tweaks, plus the TV-out functions on the DDR card.


Brooktree 869KF

First Impression In Summary
It struck me again that ELSA’s focus is not merely producing the cheapest generic board for the mass market. They stand out in the crowd for their dedication to quality, having carried this philosophy from their roots in the workstation market. And even so, the retail price of the Erazor X SDR and X2 DDR remains competitive at S$399 and S$499 respectively (not forgetting that the X2 comes with a high-quality Brooktree 869KF TV-out).

Now let's get down to more details.

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