The GeForce 2 cards are coming!
Usually when a new product is announced, you have to wait months, and in some cases even longer before the product readily available. Clearly in the case of the GeForce 2 GTS launch, this won't be the case.
As you probably know by now, the ELSA GLADIAC can already be found on some store shelves - in the next two weeks boards from all of NVIDIA's Tier One Vendors (ASUS, Creative Labs, ELSA, Guillemot, Leadtek) should be available either online or directly in the retail channel.
We've been big fans of ASUS's graphics model: for the no-frills market offer a design with a single monitor output connector and for the budding audio/video enthusiast add inputs and outputs for S-Video, a composite output, and an output for ASUS's VR glasses. This way, everyone gets what they want.
With a new product launch however, ASUS knows gamers want the card, and they want it bad. With this in mind, the no frills card (previously using the "Pure" brand name) is released first, giving ASUS time to perfect their product intended for the high-end market. This trend continues with the GeForce 2 GTS: the V7700 like we're reviewing today should begin shipping sometime next week, with the "Deluxe" model shipping in June. In addition, ASUS plans to eventually release a 64MB version.
So why do we like ASUS video cards so much? For the same reason we like their motherboards of course! ASUS cards are extremely reliable - we haven't had one die on us yet - they're also great performers.
Of course, since the launch of their original GeForce products, (the V6600 and 6800 series) ASUS has added a few handy utilities in their software bundle. We'll talk about these in more depth over the course of this article, but the first thing we noticed when removing the V7700 card from its packaging was the Golden Orb-styled heatsink/fan unit attached to the GeForce 2 chip.
Sarju, James, and I recently transitioned both our personal and testbed systems to Golden Orb heatsinks after playing with the cooler that came with the Game PC system we reviewed a few weeks back. We love the Orbs slick design and the fact that it's one of the easiest coolers to install as well as remove. Before we discuss overclocking and temperatures of our GeForce 2 chip, let's talk a bit more about the V7700 card itself.