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Reviewed by: Carl Nelson [06.23.00]
Manufactured by: Elsa
MSRP: $329


Vanilla is My Favourite Flavour

If you are selling and marketing a video card that is based on a common and popular chipset, there are a few ways of going about it.  One way, which is what most manufacturers do, is to release a video card based completely on the reference design, and get it in stores as early as humanly possible.  Too few manufacturers do it the other way; release a cool video card with some extra features.  Those features could be anything from a great software bundle, to a bigger, more flashy heatsink and an overclocked card, to something entirely unique like an SLI version, or something similar.

Elsa chose to do it the easy way with what ended up being the very first GeForce 2 GTS card on the market.  Besides the "Elsa" sticker on the card, there is absolutely no way to distinguish this from any other reference board (such as the Creative Annihilator 2).

They do want to offer you a couple things though... The software bundle is unique; rather than pack in a couple crippled versions of a full game, Elsa allows you to buy full versions of games off them at a discounted price.  The software selection page doesn't go live until June 23, but some games have been announced.  When it does go live, customers can pick 1 game for $8.99, pick 2 for $15.95 and pick 3 for $19.99.  No word on what Shipping & Handling will cost (especially for international consumers like myself).  The only games that are confirmed to be there so far are Messiah, MDK 2, Viva Football (Soccer for the Yankees and Canucks out there), and F-16 Aggressor.

The other 'unique' aspect of this board is its native support for the Elsa REVELATOR 3d Glasses.  We will be looking at those at a later time, but I will tell you now, I can't get the damn things to work :) I haven't heard to many good things about them anyway, but I won't pass judgment until I see for myself.

Got Specs?

I'm not going to list the Nvidia GeForce 2 specs here and waste a page of your time... You can head to Elsa's page for that (you're welcome!).  How about a nice picture of the board instead? Click the thumbnail for a high res shot (sorry about the blur)

Haven't I seen this somewhere else?

As you can see, it looks exactly the same as any other GeForce 2.  In fact, it looks about the same as an older GeForce 256 card.

Should I Sell My GeForce DDR Now?

Please don't.  There aren't enough new features to warrant an upgrade from the GeForce DDR (SDR may be another story, but who actually bought those?).  You WILL get higher frame rates, there's no doubt about that.  They will NOT, however, be 3 times higher than DDR benchmarks (yes, that's what they are telling us).  I'll show you some scores later.

Will you benefit from having a card with a nifty "GTS" on the end? I doubt that.  Here's how NVidia explains the name "GTS":

GigaTexel Shader. GeForce2 GTS delivers four pixels per clock, dual textured, or eight "texels" per clock as the industry has adopted that term to represent a filtered texture. The GeForce2 GTS delivers 1.6 Gtexels per second, or 1.6 billion texels per second, more than three times the performance of GeForce256. In addition to the tremendous increase in pixel and texel fill rates, GeForce2 GTS enables per-pixel shading and lighting, allowing for dramatic improvements in visual quality.

Here, let me translate that for you:

GigaTexel Shader.  We needed a nifty new name for our video card, because the competition also has a nifty name.  Don't you think "GTS" sounds cooler than "VSA"? It reminds me of a very fast car.

So basically, if you have a GeForce DDR already, this is not likely for you.  If you absolutely MUST have the fastest thing out there, then it probably is, because believe me, the Elsa Gladiac is VERY fast.

Hardware TnL... Okay Stop Laughing!

What good is a GeForce review without the mention of the nifty 3 letter feature everyone loves to argue about? Some people say it's good, others say it is "a joke".  The bottom line is, yes, it will speed your framerates up.  Just look at 3dmark scores (which I will do later in the review), turning on the hardware TnL engine gives significantly higher scores.  The thing is, 3dMark is NOT a game.  There are not many games that will benefit from your hardware TnL! Wondering exactly how many? Well, let's ask NVidia... This is what they say on their FAQ Page:

Of the games that are currently on the market, how many take advantage of T&L?

Over 100 titles are expected to ship by the end of the year.

That was answered last April, but I seem to recall them saying the exact same thing when the original GeForce was released.  Oh well...

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