GeForce2 MX Preview

Review By:  Brian Evans, Editor-in-Chief
Posted On:  Wednesday, June 28, 2000

I want to start off this article with a short quiz. Answer the questions below, being completely honest:

  • Do you own a video card that costs as much as a new car payment?
  • Do you wish QDR memory was available for graphics cards?
  • Have you ever played a game at 1600x1200 resolution?
  • Do you have more video memory than many have system RAM?
  • Have you ever had a discussion regarding Memory Bandwidth with a friend?
  • Can you calculate fill rate and clock speeds?
  • Do you buy a new video card every six months?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, step on the bus, next stop Graphics Card Snobville. We are the early adopters of the video card world, the elitists, the snobs. Every hobby has them, some people buy $10,000 speaker systems while some already own a HDTV set. This is not a bad thing…we are the people who push the graphics industry forward, making companies spend time and money developing "the next great thing". However, it is easy to forget that we are a tiny minority of the entire spectrum of computer users out there. The vast majority of people just want to be able to do their work, balance their checkbook, surf the web and yes, pop in the occasional game for a little R&R. The do want performance, they just aren't willing to take out a second mortgage to get it.

NVIDIA has always been at the forefront of the graphics industry. While companies like Matrox and ATI were content supplying the OEM and System Builder market low cost graphics solutions, NVIDIA was giving us 32bit color, Transform & Lighting, per-pixel-shading, all with blazing speed and performance albeit at a premium price. Now, having established themselves as the technology and performance leader in the market, NVIDIA has decided to give performance and features to the masses. Say hello to the GeForce2 MX.

                   NO TV OUT                                                            TV OUT


Designed for the corporate or home-user, the GeForce2 MX has been designed for the best price to performance ratio available. this card is also targeted at OEM customers and system builders who want to be able to provide high quality graphics performance at an extremely competitive price. No longer will the average user forgo features like T&L and per pixel shading, merely because of cost. Now everyone can begin to enjoy games like the developers want you to see them, and developers no longer have to worry about alienating the mainstream user by incorporating the latest graphical enhancements into their software.

The GeForce2 MX is a lot like the little brother of the GeForce2. A quick look at the specifications will show that.

GeForce 256
GeForce2 MX
GeForce 2 GTS
Chip Size
.22 micron
.18 micron
.18 micron


Shading Processor
Dual Digital Out
32/63MB DDR

As you can see, the GeForce2 MX is built using the .18 micron die as the GTS and uses the same second generation T&L Processor as the GTS, and uses the same Shading Processor. However, it only processes 4 Texels/clock and uses slower SDR memory. One big thing to notice is the MSRP…that's right $119US dollars. Assuming the normal things happen, that means you should be able to grab a MX board on the street for less than a hundred bucks. That is a TON of performance for your dollar.

I'm not going to spend time rehashing Transform & Lighting or Per-Pixel Shading. If you would like an in-depth look at them, head over to our GeForce Preview for T&L, or our GeForce2 GTS First Look for the details on per-pixel shading.

Digital Vibrance Control
Lets take a look at a couple of things that differentiate the GeForce2 MX from other cards out there. First thing is Digital Vibrance Control or DVC. DVC consists of a simple, user controllable setting (off, low, medium, high) that enhances the visual quality of all visuals, images, 2D, 3D, and Video. Below is an example of DVC. And what it can do to improve the visual quality of an image.

As you can see, DVC can make a big difference, and if you don't like it, just turn it off. Power to the Users....

Dual Digital Output
Next we have Dual Digital Output. We have all heard of Matrox's Dual Head technology, and NVIDIA has done all that and more. The GeForce2 MX is the first consumer graphics card to support dual digital flat panel output. While this may not seem like a big deal for the casual gamer, for the graphics professional, this is a god-send. In addition, you have support for all of the same output features as the Matrox G450. The chart below shows the details.

The only thing about this that is not good, is the need for an external DAC for dual CRT usage. With the support for simultaneous CRT and TV output , how does cranking up Quake3 at a LAN Party and being able to watch the game on a big screen TV while people play on their monitors sound. This really has some sweet possibilities.


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