VisionTek Xtasy 6964 (Nvidia GeForce3 Ti 500) review: VisionTek Xtasy 6964 (Nvidia GeForce3 Ti 500)

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CNET Editors' Rating

3.5 stars Very good
Review Date:
Updated on:

The Good Excellent 3D performance.

The Bad Expensive; extra performance largely due to the new Nvidia and OpenGL drivers; no increase in 2D performance over GeForce3.

The Bottom Line The VisionTek Xtasy is a great upgrade from an older GeForce2 model, but it's not yet worth the price over a GeForce3 card running the new Nvidia drivers.

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The newest bad dog in 3D graphics has arrived, Nvidia's GeForce3 Ti 500 GPU, and one of the first cards to put it into play is VisionTek's $399 Xtasy 6964. The new Nvidia chipset is loaded with 3D steroids, making the Xtasy 6964 the new heir apparent to the title of fastest of the fast. But if you're not looking for the last word in 3D gaming, you can come within arm's reach of the Xtasy 6964's maximum effort simply by updating the drivers to an old GeForce3 card--for now. The newest bad dog in 3D graphics has arrived, Nvidia's GeForce3 Ti 500 GPU, and one of the first cards to put it into play is VisionTek's $399 Xtasy 6964. The new Nvidia chipset is loaded with 3D steroids, making the Xtasy 6964 the new heir apparent to the title of fastest of the fast. But if you're not looking for the last word in 3D gaming, you can come within arm's reach of the Xtasy 6964's maximum effort simply by updating the drivers to an old GeForce3 card--for now.

Seen one, seen 'em all
The Xtasy 6964 board itself is fairly mundane, not really differing in appearance from the older GeForce3 boards we've seen, right down to the SVGA, S-Video-out, and DVI connectors. Installation is still a snap; VisionTek provides a huge step-by-step chart to walk you through the process. The driver installation is automatic, leaving you with the relatively simple task of selecting the appropriate resolution and color palette from the Display control panel in WIndows. The card is compatible with Windows 95, 98, Me, 2000, NT, and XP, but there are no bundled games.

Nvidia pumped up the power on the Ti 500 by using a .15-micron manufacturing process to cram 57 million transistors into the GPU and ramping up the memory subsystem to 500MHz. To make things happen reliably, according to Nvidia, board partners such as VisionTek have access to the cream of the crop of memory products. The result (or so the companies say) is a graphics card with 1.5 times more punch than the GeForce3.

Silicon vs. software improvement
We didn't quite find that to be the case, but the Xtasy 6964 did come close to meeting those expectations in CNET Labs' performance tests. MadOnion's 3DMark 2001 Pro trials, run at 32-bit color and 1,600x1,200 resolution, gave the Xtasy 6964 a 35 percent advantage over the older GeForce3. Quake III Arena was 35 percent faster at that same resolution and palette level. And in eTesting Labs' 3D WinBench 2000 1.1, the Xtasy 6964 scored almost 34 percent better in that same environment. Don't look for any 2D graphics improvement, however; eTesting Labs's Business Graphics WinMark 99 2.0 shows the two cards to have nearly identical 2D performance.

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VisionTek Xtasy 6964 (Nvidia GeForce3 Ti 500)

Part Number: 724160
Pricing is currently unavailable.