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|Author: Boon Kiat|
Date of review: 22-October-1999
Type Of Review: Videocards
I finally took the plunge and bought the Canopus Spectra 2500. Tecdrome (in Sim Lim Square) had the last piece retailing for S$345, which I suppose was to make up for the fact that I paid S$129 for the MS FreeStyle Pro gamepad on the first day it was sold. Elsewhere it was still selling for at least $360!
The Canopus is a surprisingly small card, even though it carries far more memory than my Voodoo2.
- Celeron 300A SL32A (boxed) overclocked to 450Mhz
- Abit BH6 Motherboard
- 2 X 64Mb LGS -7J PC100 SDRAM
- 2 X 8.4Gb IBM Deskstar 8 UDMA Harddisk
- Sony SCSI-II CD-R Drive
- Creative Encore DVD Dxr2 Drive
- Encore DVD/MPEG2 Decoder Card
- Iomega Buz MJPEG Video Capture Card with Ultra SCSI controller
- Voodoo 2 SLI (1 X CL 3D Blaster V2 12Mb Classic + 1 X CL 3D Blaster V2 12Mb CE)
- Sound Blaster Live!
- Microsoft Force Feedback Pro
- Microsoft Freestyle Pro Gamepad
- Creative Cobra USB Gamepad
Installation was pretty straightforward. As instructed by the manual, I had started up Windows with my existing card (the Asus i740), changed the video drivers to standard VGA, and powered down. I removed my old AGP card, plonked in the new, and voila. Actually, it took more time to disconnect and re-connect the tonnes of cables I had behind the PC. =)
The only hiccups I encountered were all caused by me: my VGA IRQ was disabled. Luckily, this point was covered in the brief FAQ in the manual. For info, the VGA IRQ MUST be enabled for the TNT to work. I had disabled the VGA IRQ in the BIOS because of the numerous devices in my PC. So far, the IRQ (11) has been shared between my Encore card and my TNT, with no problems.
"Overall, the card comes across slightly less polished than my Asus i740, which the Canopus Spectra replaced, but if you give it more attention, you will be rewarded with excellent results."
I wasn't really planning to install the card after work last night, but a friend called to ask me how the card was and that prompted me to give it a go. Turned out I was right after all. I ended up going to bed at 3:30am, just tinkering with the PC. I had quite a scare, when for a while, I could not get any output from my Voodoo2 card at all, but more of that later.
Overall, the card comes across slightly less polished than my Asus i740, which the Canopus Spectra replaced, but if you give it more attention, you will be rewarded with excellent results. I suspect that like the i740, it needs several driver revisions before reaching stability.