Inno3D Tornado GeForce2 MX400 in the test: 32 and 64 MB VRAM in comparison
Not everyone has the money to get a high end right away -Graphics card à la GeForce 2 Ultra or even GeForce 3 to buy. For this target group nVidia launched the GeForce2 MX series about a year ago. This offered an unbeatable price/performance ratio for a long time. But for a few months now, STMicroelectronics has been trying to win the favor of buyers in this price segment with the Kyro 2 graphics chip. Almost at the same time nVidia split up its GeForce2 MX series. On the one hand there is now the GeForce2 MX200 and the GForce2 MX400, which promises almost the same on paper as the normal GeForce2 MX once did. Inno3D was kind enough to provide us with two graphics cards with the GeForce2 MX400 (Inno3D Tornado GeForce2 MX400). In order to be able to compare the results with those of the previous chip (GeForce2 MX), we have also included the performance of the Hercules 3D Prophet 2 MX in the benchmark diagrams. Since we wanted to limit ourselves to graphics cards that are interesting for gamers in this comparison, we deliberately left out the GeForce2 MX200. Itit should already be said that this test did not turn out as expected.
Scope of delivery
Compared to some other manufacturers, the packaging of the two graphics cards from Inno3D is relatively small at 29cm x 20cm x 4cm. So you do without superfluous volume and focus on the essentials. Incidentally, the packaging of both graphics cards looks 100% identical and, among other things, indicates 32MB of graphics memory as a performance feature regardless of the actual content of the package. Only an additional sticker on the packaging indicates that you may not be holding the GeForce2 MX400 with 32MB memory, but the version with 64MB. Another sticker shows whether the graphics card is equipped with a TV-out, which was the case with us. A third sticker tells us that this is a 'Value Pack' in our case. Therefore we have to do without additional software and an Inno3D mouse pad. Inno3D also has a version with twin view in its program, which would probably have meant the fourth sticker. Twin-View enables two monitors to be connected to one graphics card. However, the image is not necessarily duplicated, but one monitor can expand the image of the other monitor vertically or horizontally. As already mentioned, our test objects came without this technology.
Now we come to the actual contents of the pack. First of all, of course, the graphics card itself, which is packed in an anti-static bag. However, it has no hold and can therefore slide around in the package. Of course, this does not damage it immediately, but it is by no means healthy. With the 64MB version, you immediately notice the graphics memory on both sides. If you take a closer look, you can still see that different memory was installed on the two graphics cards. The memory of the 32MB variant has an access time of 5ns, the 64MB variant, however, has to fall back on slower memory with 6ns. Therefore the graphics memory of the two products is already clocked at different speeds by default. The 32MB variant is operated with 184MHz memory clock 9MHz above the specifications, the memory of the 64MB variant is operated with 166MHz exactly according to the nVidia specifications. We will clarify in detail later in the benchmarks what effects this has on performance. As expected, the graphics chip itself is clocked at 200MHz in both variants, which means an increase of 25MHz compared to the GeForce2 MX. During work, an active fan ensures that the graphics chip does not get too hot and also improves the prospect of good overclocking options.
There is also a cable in the pack with which you can connect the TV-out of the graphics card to the video input of the television. We subjected this to a small test of the well-known TV tool. All that can be said about this is that the TV-Out works, as you could expect.
Of course you also have a driver CD and instructions in the packaging. The Detonator drivers 6.49 dated 11/17/2000 are hopelessly out of date, so you should download and install the current reference driver (currently version 12.41). Furthermore, the Pro version of 3DMark 2000 with the Result Browser 2000 and a number of 3D graphics demos from nVidia are on the CD. With the help of these demos you can get an idea of the features of the graphics chip yourself, even if the demos are not very demanding, but are geared towards the pure representation of a certain effect.
The manual is completely in English and comprises only 16 pages, but describes all the necessary steps from installing the graphics card to installing the driver - albeit not in great detail. In addition to a few typing and grammar errors, however, page 1 is particularly interesting. According to the text, the 64MB version should deliver up to 25% more images per second with a resolution of 1600x1200 and 32Bit color depth than the 32MB version. We will clarify whether this is true in the course of this test. It is also written there that the additional 32MB graphics memory of the 64MB variant could be very important in the future. Since owners of the 32MB variant are holding the same manual in their hands, they could easily believe that they are not equipped for the future despite buying their new graphics card. We'll see if that's really the case.
On the next page: Specifications