Absolute Multimedia Outrageous Ultra GeForce DDRby Matthew Witheiler on May 20, 2000 12:08 PM EST
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Besides the green PCB color and the circular fan, the Outrageous Ultra GeForce DDR does not differ very much visually from its Outrageous GeForce DDR brother. The card still uses DDR Infineon SGRAM chips rated at 6 ns, as do all other DDR GeForce cards out there, including GeForce 2 GTS cards. The card continues to utilize NVIDIA's reference design in order to cut costs by decreasing research and development time. Although this is not a bad thing, the vast majority of GeForce cards utilize this design, it does decrease the additional features that a card can have. On the plus side, by using the reference design you can rest assured that no design problems will arise because cards of this type have been extensively tested by NVIDIA as well as card manufacturers.
As mentioned before, the GeForce core itself is cooled via a new "Gaming Fan", as proclaimed by Absolute Multimedia. As is seen in the overclocking section, this heatsink may look different than your standard square heatsink but it performs almost identically. Therefore, one improvement over the original Outrageous GeForce DDR does not seem to be an improvement at all: more of a visual stimulus, proving that looks can be deceiving. Cooling of the card is aided by the use of thermal grease between the GPU surface and heatsink bottom. Usually a feature we expect on more pricey cards, use of thermal grease most definitely allows for the highest level of overclocking to be reached. We will explore how high this is in the overclocking section.
The 32 MB of Infineon 6 ns DDR SGRAM chips are the same as those found on other DDR GeForce cards. In the past we have discussed how Infineon is currently the only memory company to be producing DDR SGRAM chips for use in video cards and that the only speed that they make is 6 ns. These facts remain unchanged in: we have described the same events in recent GeForce 2 GTS reviews as these memory chips are currently the only ones out there. The one aspect of the memory that has changed from DDR GeForce cards to DDR GeForce 2 GTS cards is the default speed of the memory clock. All DDR GeForce 256 based cards, including the Outrageous Ultra GeForce DDR, come with a stock memory clock speed of 300 MHz (150 MHz DDR). This number is well below the 333 MHz that the RAM is speced at (6 ns DDR or 166 MHz DDR). GeForce 2 GTS cards, on the other hand, come with the 333 MHz speed setting as default, suggesting that NVIDIA has put more faith into the Infineon chips used. This is most likely a result of poor yields on the initial batches of SGRAM chips: the initial version of the Outrageous GeForce DDR, for instance, would only provide us with a memory clock speed of 326 MHz when overclocked, well below the speced range. It seems that Infineon has fixed this problem and the overclocking section will reveal whether or not the RAM has improved from the batch received on our last Absolute Multimedia product.
One surprising aspect of the Outrageous Ultra GeForce DDR, one that the Outrageous GeForce DDR also had, is the video-out feature of the card. Powered by the ever-popular Brooktree 869 chip, the Outrageous Ultra GeForce DDR will be able to provide video out with the best of them. This is the same chip as used in almost every NVIDIA card with TV-out since the rise of the TNT2, however we usually associate this feature with more expensive cards. The Absolute Multimedia Outrageous Ultra GeForce DDR breaks this mold.
Last time we reported on the Outrageous GeForce DDR, we asked ourselves how a DDR GeForce can be so low cost compared to the competition. With a bit of investigation, we found that the 2D image quality of the card was extremely poor, especially at high resolutions. We speculated that Absolute Multimedia had cut corners as well as costs when implementing the graphics filters by using lower quality filters which result in a "fuzzy" picture. We are glad to say say that with the arrival of the Outrageous Ultra GeForce DDR, Absolute Multimedia has fixed this major problem. By taking it upon themselves and addressing the image quality issue, Absolute Multimedia was able to correct the problem, whatever it was. If the problem lied in the filters, these filters must have been replaced with higher quality ones. If the problem was elsewhere, that part was replaced. Basically Absolute Multimedia acknowledged the problem and implemented a fix, resulting in a card that is more than capable of displaying clear, crisp 2D graphics and text at resolutions of 1600x1200 and even higher.