Over the years, Nvidia based graphics cards have become indispensible 3D options for many gamers. And Elsa, a renowned PC hardware manufacturer, has recently unleashed their latest line of graphics cards, namely the Elsa Gladiac and Elsa Gladiac MX, based on Nvidia's GeForce2 GTS and GeForce2 MX chipsets respectively.
Will the participants please line up at the starting line...From top : Elsa Gladiac MX, Elsa Gladiac GTS 64Mb & Elsa Gladiac 32 Mb
The Elsa Gladiac comes in either 32MB or 64MB DDRAM, whereas the Elsa Gladiac MX comes purely in XXMB SDRAM. Both cards sport a second generation GPU with support for hardware transform and lighting (T&L), per-pixel shading, multitexturing, cube environmental mapping, texture compression and more. In addition, each card also enables AGP 2X/4X, fast-write and are optimised for Microsoft DirectX and OpenGL standards.
The Elsa Settings Dialogue Box
The Elsa Gladiac cards do not disappoint, especially the 32MB version when compared against the 64MB version. This is largely due to the difference in quality of the onboard RAM used by the two cards. Results are impressive (even when full scene anti-alias, FSAA, is enabled) in both 3DMark 2000 and Quake III Arena.
On the other hand, the Elsa Gladiac MX performs well most of the time, except at high resolutions, high colours, and especially when FSAA is enabled. But considering its lower price, it is still a great card to possess, especially when the cardís performance is comparable to that of the GeForce SDR.
The cards are decently overclockable. Despite having memories rated at 6ns, they can still be clocked to as low as 5.5ns. Although a mere 0.5ns may not seem significant, but in terms of bandwidth it will make a notable difference (note: 6ns is equivalent to a bandwidth of 166MHz, whilst 5.5ns is equivalent to a bandwidth of 180MHz). The Elsa Gladiac 32MB card gives the best results in terms of overclocking, since it utilizes Infineon RAMs, which are renowned for stability and great overclockability.
ELSA provides a 6-year warranty. For local Singaporean buyers, the distributor provides a first year 1 to 1 exchange of faulty cards with no questions asked.
The purchase of either one of these cards largely depends on one's actual needs If youíre budget conscious, any cards based on the GeForce2 MX is great value. But be forewarned, as I have personally experienced loads of instability problems with the Elsa Gladiac MX card, despite attempting various driver revisions (Elsa or NVIDIA). As such, I would conclude that this chipset may still be relatively new and plagued with immature drivers.
As for the Elsa Gladiac cards, they exhibit greater stability and significantly better performance. But definitely, the 64MB version yields only incremental performance improvement and unless you cannot live without having FSAA enabled, it will be hard to shell out the extra cash. Also, one word of advice for VIA motherboard owners - the present Detonator 3 drivers are still extremely buggy for the VIA chipset.
For the full review, click here.