Guillemot/Hercules 3D Prophet II GTS 64MB GeForce 2 GTSby Matthew Witheiler on June 29, 2000 4:29 AM EST
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Although the color of the board may not strike many as an impressive feature, being that the card will reside inside your closed system case, the RAM heatsinks are one feature that may users may find attractive upon first glance. We wont find out how effective the heatsinks are until we delve into the overclocking section, however it is clear that the heatsinks do not hinder stock performance.
This is further shown by the speeds at which the 3D Prophet II GTS 64MB was originally released at. Initially, the card came clocked at a rather impressive stock speed of 220/366 MHz, a 20 MHz overclock in the core and a 33 MHz overclock in the memory. This speed was recently brought down by the latest BIOS update from Guillemot/Hercules, reducing the card speed to the standard 200/333 MHz we have seen all other GeForce 2 GTS cards come with. Cards shipping now should be clocked at this "lower" speed, however we suspect that almost every 3D Prophet II GTS 64MB should overclock at least to the 220/333 MHz level, being that this is what the card initially shipped at.
The card comes with eight 6ns Hyundai DDR SDRAM chips mounted on the front of the board and covered by RAM heatsinks. Each heatsink hides below it 2 SDRAM chips, bonded to the heatsinks buy use of thermal tape. We will investigate in the overclocking section the advantages of these heatsinks, if any.
The, surprise, blue heatsink is the generic reference heatsink we have seen on so many other GeForce cards. Disappointingly, the heatsink is bonded to the surface of the GPU only via the side clips. A thermal pad on the bottom of the heatsink serves to aid in thermal transfer, however it is not as effective as the thermal grease we have seen in other cards. This is in contrast to the process that the old Hercules cards used to incorporate. These cards came supplied with thermal grease bonding the GPU to the heatsink, a fact which provided for cards that could overclock to a great extent. Luckily for Guillemot/Hercules, core heat does not play as great of a role in maximum overclockabilty as it used to, however it still does hinder card performance to some extent, as we will see in the overclocking section.
3D Prophet II GTS 64MB is one of the first cards we have seen come with both
TV-out and DVI-out standard. At a retail price of $420 (the card can be found
for significantly lower via a simple search), these features may not be too
much to expect from such a high priced card.
TV-output is provided via a blue daughter board which powered by the commonly found Brooktree 869 chip. This is the same chip that has been used in NVIDIA cards since the TNT2. As we saw in our Picture This: TV-Output Comparison, the Brooktree 869 is a quality output chip that should be sufficient for most video-out applications.
We were quite surprised that it took this long for a DVI port to come standard on a GeForce 2 GTS card. Since the GeForce 2 GTS GPU has a built in TMDS decoder, there is no need for the external chip that we saw on GeForce 256 based cards. As you can see by the picture, the only thing that adding DVI-out support requires is a DVI-out port, a cheap add on from any manufacturer's perspective. Including the DVI-out port ensures at least an upgrade path for those out there interested in keeping the card for an extended period of time.