STB Velocity 4400 Review


Image(s) courtesy of STB

Specs.

To start things off, here are the drool worthy specs of the STB Velocity 4400:

  • Optimized Direct3D acceleration
  • Optimized OpenGL ICD acceleration
  • Complete DirectX 5.0 and DirectX 6.0 support
  • 100% hardware triangle setup
  • TwiN Texel (TNT) 32-bit graphics pipeline 2 texture mapped, lit pixels per clock, single pass multi-texturing support (DirectX 6.0 and OpenGL) Square and non-square texture support
  • TextureBlend Support examples: Multi-texture and Bump map
  • Texture modulation, Light maps, Reflection maps, Detail textures, Environmental maps, Procedural textures,
  • Backend blend DirectX 5.0: 121 modes supported for source and destination and alpha blending 32-bit ARGB rendering with destination alpha Point sampled, Bilinear, Trilinear and 8-tap Anisotropic filtering (better than Trilinear Mip Mapping)
  • Per pixel perspective correct texture mapping, Fog, Light, Mip mapping
  • 24-bit or 16-bit Z buffer (floating point or integer)
  • 8-bit stencil buffer
  • Anti-aliasing: full scene, order independent
  • 128-bit 2D, 3D and video accelerator
  • nVidia Riva TNT TwiN Texel Processor
  • 16MB high speed SDRAM memory
  • AGP 2X or PCI bus
  • MPEG-1, 2 playback
  • Connect to PC monitor or TV (s-video or composite)
  • 250MHz RAMDAC
  • Up to 180 million pixels/second peak fill rates
  • 6 million polygons per second peak processing
  • 1.76 GB/second peak bandwidth
  • Single-pass trilinear filtering
  • Single-pass multi-texture processing
  • Up to 1600x1200 resolution and refresh rates up to 160Hz
  • Voodoo killer?

    So, what do all these specs mean? Do they mean that the Velocity 4400 will out-perform a Diamond Monster 3D II or a Canopus Pure 3D II in 3D game performance?

    Well, after getting this baby installed into one of my PCI slots and after having Windows 98 auto-detect it and install the appropriate drivers I decided to give it a try and see how well the RivaTNT chip will do against a Voodoo2. However, before doing anything I immediately went to the STB website and downloaded a couple of updated drivers - not that I had any problems with the ones that came in the box, but I always like to be up to date.

    Terminal Velocity?

    First off let me tell you about the test system. I decided to review this on a baseline system, just to show people how much of a performance boost the V4400 can give them.. the system is an AMD K6 233MHz with 64MB of SDRAM.

    Anyway, I quickly fired up SiN (I mean, what else would I fire up?) and did a few tests. While doing these tests I noticed something odd, something that totally defies logic.. in 640x480 I was getting 33.8fps but in 800x600 I was getting 48.2fps! At first I figured something was wrong so I did it again, and I still got more frames in 800x600 than I did in 640x480. In 1024x768, however, it dropped down to 19.4fps, which is understandable considering this is on a 233MHz system.

    640x480 33.8fps
    800x600 48.2fps
    1024x768 19.4fps

    The Final Verdict

    The STB Velocity 4400 is a great 2D/3D card. Gamers out there will love it! Although it doesn't beat the Voodoo2's 60fps, it still gets pretty close. Unlike the Voodoo2 it doesn't have Glide support, meaning you won't be able to play some of the older games that only have Glide support.. however, it does allow higher resolutions, which in order to achieve with a Voodoo2 you will need to SLI two boards together for double the price.

    Also, on a side note I noticed little difference between the TNT's and the Voodoo2's graphical quality in Sin. It's just a bit more sharper and the colors have a little more contrast. And for those of you who wondered what video mode I used in Sin..well, I used "Default OpenGL". :)

    Highs:
    - Low Priced 2D/3D combination
    - Capable of high resolutions

    Lows:
    - Doesn't accelerate old games that use Glide

    Score:
    9.5/10

    Related Links
    STB
    nVidia