Wicked PC




The Goods

   Product Name:
   Victory II

   Company:
   ELSA

   Good:
   Drivers, Price,
   Support

   Bad:
   AGP Only

   Date Reviewed:
   12/18/98

   Reviewer:
   Ben Evans


ELSA Victory II - Page 1

Even with the recent controversy over 3Dfx Interactive on if they'll stay alive after the STB merger, the point remains valid that they still make the best-dedicated 3D accelerator boards on the market. We all remember a year or two ago when the Voodoo Rush was around, and we all know it was a flop. Major compatibility issues, and most of all, slow slow slow.. It was like having a rendition product in your PC, but worse (eek). 3Dfx then unveiled its Voodoo2 line of boards that continually blow anything away even a year later. After the major (and continuing) success of Voodoo2, 3Dfx took the next leap into low to mid-priced systems with the Voodoo Banshee. The Banshee was pretty much a Voodoo2 with out some of the core components, and instead added a 2D processor, that allowed the Voodoo Banshee to be the same in theory as the Rush -- an all-in-one 2D/3D combo board. For a large part of their theory, they won. For a few minor points, they lost... Keep reading...

ELSA produced the Victory II product, based on a reference Voodoo Banshee board. Like all Voodoo Banshees, it came with 16MB of SGRAM in an AGP (no PCI) configuration sporting a 128-bit 2D engine with a nice 250-MHz RAMDAC. The only difference between this board and the rest of the Banshees is the price, no TV-out feature, and driver support.

It's probably important to get some facts out about why the Banshee differs from all other 3Dfx products. Other than being a 2D/3D combo, the Banshee sports something that is odd in regards to their drivers. You have the choice of installing reference drivers from 3Dfx (which are very rarely updated), or you can use the manufacturers drivers. In this case, ELSA is a top performer when it comes to driver releases. They simply take 3Dfx reference drivers that they (not the public) get and then pop them on their website. At the time of writing this review, their drivers aren't even 2 weeks old. If you downloaded drivers from a more 'popular' vendor like Creative or Diamond, they will return an error when installing saying that the board isn't one of theirs, and therefore they can't install the drivers. This makes a very very important sales point when buying a Banshee. Get one from a company who frequently updates their drivers, or you're screwed. In this case, ELSA is a good buying choice. They even have the latest flash BIOS updates on their website.

Early reference versions of the Banshee did not have TV out on their design. We're starting to see this incorporated into some of the more expensive or feature-filled Banshee boards (Vengence by Metabyte for example). The ELSA Victory II does not support or have TV out -- not a plus, not a minus, just a fact. TV out generally adds $25 to the cost of any video card, so if you need TV out (which a majority of readers don't give a whoop-dee about), this isn't the card for you.

Read Page 2



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