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Reviewed by: Carl Nelson [02.29.00]
Manufactured by: Creative Labs 


Let's Discuss the Awesome Software Bundle!

As I write the title of this page, I'm trying not to laugh.  Here's the bundle:

  • Creative BlasterControl Panel Util
  • NVidia High IQ Sampler CD
  • Colorific and 3Deep
  • WinDVD
  • Evolva: Scout
  • Need for Speed 4 "High Stakes" (full version)
  • Dagoth Moor Zoological Gardens (wtf?)

Okay, so having the BlasterControl is not THAT bad... Besides basically rearranging the Control Panel Utility of the reference NVidia drivers, this allows you to overclock your memory.  To overclock the core speed, you'll need to download a separate application from Creative's site.  Of course, with the NVidia reference detonators, all you need to do is add one variable to your registry, and you will have access to a great overclocking panel, as well as being able to turn off VSync in D3D

To enable the overclocking tab with the NVidia drivers, back up your registry first, then run regedit and navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\NVIDIA Corporation\Global\NVTweak

If the NVTweak isn't there, add it.  Next, create a DWORD value, and call it "CoolBits" (without the quotes, and make sure capitalization is correct).  Double click on CoolBits, and set its value to "3".  Close regedit, and reboot.  Please note that this won't work on versions 3.75 or 3.76.  It does work on 3.77. 

The downside to using Creative's drivers is the fact that you are not getting the absolute latest ones  available.  Not hardcore.; if you need to contact Creative's tech support for any reason, be sure to install their drivers first.  If you want to overclock your card, download Creative's overclocking utility here.

The inclusion of NVidia's High IQ CD is pretty much obligatory with all GeForce cards.  If you're ever really bored, you can screw around with it, I guess.  The same goes for the pretty much useless Colorific and 3Deep applications.

What really stands out though, is the inclusion of the full version of Need for Speed 4.  This is a somewhat new game, and a great racer at that.  Definitely a good game to bundle.  The thing is, that's the only full version of any game included.  You'll get minimal enjoyment from the crippled OEM version of Evolva: Scout, unless you are into playing lame games with weak storylines.

Another thing that stands out is the DVD Player.  I know, it's kind of weird that Creative would include a software DVD players with a video card that doesn't have TV-OUT, but any regular DVD-watcher would have their own DVD player anyway.  I'm not complaining though, because I personally love watching DVD movies on my PC! Until I buy a better TV and DVD player, the quality (especially sound) of a PIII 733 with a GeForce DDR and Aureal Vortex 2 sound card, on a 0.20 DPI 17" monitor simply can't be beat!

WinDVD is one of the better software players out there, if not the best.  If you use it, be sure to download DVDGenie to access the hidden options, including the awesome GeForce hardware acceleration!


There has ALWAYS been a HUGE debate on "16 bit vs. 32 bit: is it worth the performance hit?".  I have actually argued on both sides.  When I had a Voodoo3, I was so pleased with the 16 bit quality, that I really didn't see the need for the huge hit in performance (even on the GeForce SDR cards), and quite frankly, I wasn't all that impressed with 32 bit, ESPECIALLY when the game slows to a crawl (as it has on all of my previous 32 bit capable cards, the TNT and TNT2).

That is, until I saw this card.  When others are saying, "is it worth the performance hit?" the GeForce barges right in, saying, "What performance hit?"


Really, it does.  In case you were wondering wtf DDR actually is, here's a description:

Double Data Rate transfers allows for data to be fetched on both the rising and falling edges of the clock thus doubling the effective transfer rate of the clock. For example a 100MHz DDR clock would achieve a peak transfer rate equal to that of a 200MHz clock. The effective transfer rate is equal to the clock frequency multiplied by the bus width, doubled.

So basically, the only thing ever really holding 32 bit gaming down was memory bandwidth.  With that taken care of for the most part, the debate is now becoming a moot point.  Keep in mind that there is still a performance hit; just not a huge one.  I'll show you some benchmarks later on (Quake 3, of course).

Let's Overclock This Puppy

Or not... How many people will actually run this card at default speed? Never mind the fact that it's the fastest thing out there right now, We're hardcore, and WE WANT MORE!

Well, you'll get more, but not a hell of a lot.  First off, the default speed is 120/300 (That's 120 MHz core, and 300 MHz memory).  The 6 ns Siemens DDR SGRAM that comes with this board is rated at 166 MHz, so at double rate, that would be 333 MHz.  So right off the bat, we know we can 333 MHz out of the ram!  I pushed it to 140 before things started getting ugly.

Now to the core.  I was nervous just looking at the flimsy little heatsink/fan combo that is glued onto the chip, and rightfully so.  Creative is using the exact same heatsink/fan combo they used on their TNT2 card.  Add to that the fact that it is held on with GLUE and you know you're going to have troubles overclocking this thing.

I could barely get it to run at 133 Mhz, which is only 13 MHz above specs.  It didn't freeze, but it eventually got REALLY hot, and began slowing down.  I was able to run benchmarks, though, just so you can see what a small difference overclocking the core makes.

Don't be discouraged though! I've read that in some cases, CLAP users were able to get theirs to run stable at 160 MHz!  In most cases, though, the overclocking ability of the CLAP leaves a lot to be desired.

Keep in mind that these aren't guarantees! Just because I was able to get mine to go this fast, doesn't mean you will! The 333MHz ram should be a given, but you never know.  The good thing is, unlike CPU's, overclocking video cards won't void your warranty! Your card won't be supported while overclocked, but your warranty will remain intact!

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