TweetBundled Items In the box, we note the fact that while others go cheap and include hardly any software, Galaxy is paying attention to its product. There is a reasonable bundle of software and goodies. Let's have a look:
Cyberlink PowerDVD, Chaser and MotoGP 2. These are all full versions. Next to a manual we can find a S-Video & S-Video to Composite output cable. So everything you need to get started is present. Next to the card itself we'll see a plethora of cables in the form of a nice Molex power supply cable. DVI to CRT/VGA adapter so that you are able to hook up 2 CRT VGA monitors to your card.
If I understood properly they will also release a Limited Edition which includes the game Far Cry.
The Installation It's really not hard to install a graphics card yourself nowadays. Especially with brands like ATI and NVIDIA who use unified driver sets. If you have a really new product then make sure you have the latest drivers on your HD. First uninstall your current graphics card's drivers carefully, this is very important especially if the older graphics card was from a different chipset manufacturer. Now power down the PC and pull out the power cable. Insert the graphics card in the slot, secure it with a screw, connect the monitor and boot up windows, run the driver installation, then restart and you are set to go. That's all. Also important, make sure you have the latest version of DirectX (9) installed.
UltraShadow II Last year we got acquainted with NVIDIA's UltraShadow technology. Shadows, nothing that new you might say. Yet precise and accurate shadows are so important to a 3D scene. They contribute to the 3D scene's environment, it's a step closer to the real thing, I guess... except for performance and that's where UltraShadow II comes in.
UltraShadow II allows the game programmer to define a bounded portion of the scene (often called depth bounds), which limits the calculation of lighting source effects to objects within that specified area. By limiting calculations to the area most affected by a light source, the overall shadow generation process is highly accelerated. Stenciled shadow volumes do not require texturing or color so UltraShadow II hardware can double the rendering horsepower to generate stenciled shadow volumes at up to twice the standard pixel-processing rate. Did you know that allows the recently released and highly shadow intensive Doom III to run 3 to 4 times faster in regards to shadow processing?! That's not made up stuff guys.
NV4x Video Architecture Next to being a gaming card, starting with the GeForce Series 6 some high-quality video options become available also. First off, Series 6 is a fully programmable video processor; you can aqctually use it in paint programs or software like Adobe After Effects. And hey, this has the first ever on-chip GPU video encoder.
Among the features are motion adaptive interlacing, integrated TV-Encoder, complete HDTV support (720p. 1080i, 480p, CGMS). We so need HDTV support here in Europe. Not only that but the NV40 now also can Decode and... Encode MPEG 1/2 and 4, and yes also real-time DiVX Decode/Encode!
Shaders Model 3.0 If you program or play computer games or even recently attempted to purchase a video card, then you will have no doubt heard the terms "Vertex Shader" and "Pixel Shader".
Funny story, I've been following some threads in our forums lately to see the ATI versus NVIDIA discussions regarding 3.0 Shader technology. It's now known that the x800 series from ATI (which we recently tested) does not support DirectX 9.0c Shader Model 3.0.
The step from 2.0 towards 3.0 is a small one and most Shader Model 2.0 games can easily be upgraded towards Model 3.0, which means enabling more tricks. DirectX 9 build C was just released so we are going to see more support for 3.0 Shaders. Is it a huge visual advantage over 2.0? No not at all yet any technological advantage is always welcome and preferred over a previous generation development. The general consensus for developers is to use as low a shader version as possible. Shaders 3.0 will be used only in several critical places where it gives a performance boosts.
Since I've started to ramble on about Shader technology I just realized that some of you do not even have a clue what I'm talking about. Sorry, that happens when you get a bit excited. Let's do a quick shader course.
What do we need to render a three dimensional object as 2D on your monitor? We start off by building some sort of structure that has a surface, that surface is built from triangles. Why triangles? They are quick to calculate. How's each triangle being processed? Each triangle has to be transformed according to its relative position and orientation to the viewer. Each of the three vertices that the triangle is made up of is transformed to its proper view space position. The next step is to light the triangle by taking the transformed vertices and applying a lighting calculation for every light defined in the scene. And lastly the triangle needs to be projected to the screen in order to rasterize it. During rasterization the triangle will be shaded and textured.
Graphic processors like the GeForce series are able to perform a certain amount of these tasks. The first generation was able to draw shaded and textured triangles in hardware. The CPU still had the burden to feed the graphics processor with transformed and lit vertices, triangle gradients for shading and texturing, etc. Integrating the triangle setup into the chip logic was the next step and finally even transformation and lighting (TnL) was possible in hardware, reducing the CPU load considerably (GeForce 256). The big disadvantage was that a game programmer had no direct (i.e. program driven) control over transformation, lighting and pixel rendering because all the calculation models were fixed on the chip.
And now we finally get to the stage where we can explain Shaders. Vertex and Pixel shaders allow developers to code customized transformation and lighting calculations as well as pixel coloring functionality. Each shader is basically nothing more than a relatively small program executed on the graphics processor to control either vertex or pixel processing.
Shader Model 3.0 titles that we can expect soon: Lord of the Rings; Battle for Middle-Earth, Stalker, Vampire; Bloodlines, Splinter Cell X, Driver 3, Grafan, Painkiller, Far Cry and more...
Lord of the Rings - The Battle for Middle Earth - Shaders version 3.0 all the way.
KFA2 Galaxy GTX 550 Ti LTD OC WHITE review In this review we'll have a peek at the warmongers from KFA2 (Galaxy), they unleash this cute little beastly looking GTX 550 Ti LTD OC White edition graphics card. And to make it even more special, they slapped all components on a sexy white PCB again. Armed with that atypical looking cooler you'll learn that this product makes no compromises, you will not hear it, it will not run hot and it even comes factory clocked at a full GHz, quite amazing as GPUs seem to slowly pass that weird 1 GHz threshold.
Galaxy GeForce 9800 GT 1024MB review | test We test a product from the guys at Galaxy, and that means customization and extra features, all for a fair price. Custom PCB, custom cooling, custom bracket, HDMI output, black DVI+backplate heck it even packs 1024MB of memory to play around with for roughly the same money as a 512MB model. All fairly impressive really.
Galaxy GeForce 9800 GTX+ 512MB review Galaxy GeForce 9800GTX PLUS test - Galaxy recently released this product, custom PCB, custom cooling, custom bracket, HDMI output, black DVI and backplate. I sometimes wonder why a small company consistently can push out striking products like that and the bigger AIBs mainly focus on the reference design.
Galaxy Geforce 8800 GT HDMI w/ Xtreme Tuner Our initial review of this product was taken offline as we received an early version of the product. This early version had a "beta" cooler on it that made a truck-load of noise. Galaxy claimed to have a new cooler ready and asked if if we could revise the review based on the new and final cooler. And therefore we have updated this initial article to revision 2; based on new facts with the final cooling solution implemented. And it sure is a lot better.