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Reviewed by: Bryan Pizzuti [01.10.01]
Manufactured by: Hercules
MSRP: $59.99 (!)


The Cards

We will be comparing the Hercules 4000XT to its bigger brother, the Hercules 4500, which is a Kyro2 based card, and an Asus V7100, which is a GeForce2MX-based video card. A summary of their specifications can be found below.

  Hercules Prophet 4000XT Hercules Prophet 4500 Asus GeForce2 MX
Clock Speed 115 Mhz 175 Mhz 175Mhz
Memory Speed 115 Mhz 175 Mhz 166 Mhz
Memory Type 32MB 128 bit SDR 64MB 128 bit SDR 32MB 128 bit SDR
Memory Bandwidth 2 GB/s 2.8 GB/s 2.7 GB/s
Fill Rate 250 MPixels/s 350 MPixels/s 350 MPixels/s
Interface 2XAGP 2XAGP 4XAGP
Approximate Price $60 $80 $76

The 4000XT at first glance looks very similar to the 4500. However, it is a smaller PCB. It uses the same orb-shaped heatsink/fan combination as the 4500, but the 4000XT's Kyro processor is manufactured using a .25 micron process, which will run a bit warmer. This is the only explanation I can see for the additional heatsink that is placed flush on the back of the card on the opposite side of the GPU. When I completed benchmarking this card, I went to remove it from the system, and this heatsink was quite warm to the touch. If the GPU is getting that hot during use, it can present quite a problem.

The drivers are identical to the 4500's Kyro2 drivers, which are just PowerVR reference drivers modified with Hercules graphics. This makes sense since there's very little architectural difference between the two...the Kyro2 is just a Kyro manufactured with a smaller process, so it can be clocked higher. The drivers are very simple, but still give you a lot of configurability in only 2 dialog tabs. They will NEVER be Windows certified, since they support overclocking without having to make any modifications at all. Hopefully, STMicroelectronics and PowerVR will continue using combined drivers, like NVIDIA with their Detonator drivers, since this reduces confusion on both the user ad support side. This is assuming that they can make that setup work with the upcoming "Kyro3." The other chip rumored to be coming is just supposed to be a clocked up Kyro2, though nothing is confirmed yet.


These cards were all tested with the following configuration:

AMD Athlon-C 1.2 GHz 266Mhz bus
256 MB PC-133 SDRAM
ECS K7S5A motherboard
Turtle Beach SantaCruz sound card
Western Digital 7200 RPM 15 GB IDE HDD
Toshiba 12x ATA-33 DVD-ROM
Windows 2000 Professional SP2

Kyro and Kyro2 drivers: 9.31
Asus drivers: Detonator 21.83

Testing Methodolgy

In this review, I will be benchmarking the Prophet 4000XT with a Hercules 3D Prophet 4500 and an ASUS V7100, which is based on the GeForce2MX.

Testing will be using 3DMark 2000, 3DMark2001, and VillageMark for synthetic benchmarks, the WolfensteinMP Test Demo (ATDemo8), Serious Sam, and Unreal Tournament (Also to test FSAA performance).  For links to all the benchmarking apps we use on this site, please see the Downloads Page.

I used my nice big 20 inch Apple Trinitron monitor in order to look for graphic glitches and such, as well as quality differences between 16 and 32 bit color settings, and FSAA quality.

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