Installation & Setup

The machines used to test the device were indentical except for the mainboards used and were comprised of either Iwill's XA 100 AT or FIC's VA-503+, AMD's K6-2 300MHz processor, 64MB PC100 Corsair RAM, 2 WD Caviar 3.2G Harddrives (with the latest available Bus Master drivers, Stealth II G460 w/Diamond G460 RC OpenGL ICD Drivers, and using the Windows98 operating system.

Virtually identical to the StarFighter i740 card, the Stealth II G460 doesn't deviate much from the design implemented by Real3D.  Installation of the card itself went smoothly on both systems.  The card fit snugly and tightened down without moving out of line and the Iwill system booted without incident allowing Win98 to detect the new device.  The VA-503+ on the other hand would not boot as the chipset does not seem to be able to allow the system access to the video BIOS unless it gets a small electrical charge first.  The solution to this was to hit the power button briefly before quickly restarting the system.  This seemed to be helped somewhat by flashing the VBIOS with release candidate BIOS Rev 1.16 downloded from the Diamond FTP site.  Once the VBIOS are detected the system continues to boot normally.

Diamond's driver installation CD is very easy to follow, which doesn't make up for the lack of written documentation packaged with the G460, but is all the same a simple step by step process (a fortunate thing for OEM users like myself).  Important! Super7 users will want to install ALi's or Via's newest AGP drivers to solve any compatibility problems that may arise when using an AGP card on a super7 board, a quick trip over to the  ALI website or the VIA website will provide those users with the drivers they need to proceed.  MPV3 users will want to be sure and download and install the Miniport IRQ Router provided by VIA as well to prevent miscueing the AGP and PCI busses.

At present all i740 based cards make full use of the AGP 2X specification transferring data on the both the rising and falling edges of the AGP Bus.  Not only does this speed up Direct Memory Execution (DME) but also makes possible storage and retrieval of large textures in system RAM, surpassing conventional PCI card resolution barriers. The use of the AGP bus also provides access to an extra PCI slot so necessary to the upgradaholic.

Stealth II G460

Fully upgradable, as are many Diamond video products, the G460 is compatible withDiamond's TV Tuner and Video Capture cards. While most professional video editors prefer a more advanced system, editing home videos and watching TV on your PC are possible using an add-on card available from Diamond.  Unfortunately, the G460 has no support for an AC3 Decoder add-on like those found on some other graphics cards, so if you're planning on adding a DVD drive for your PC, plan on having to spend a few bucks for a seperate adapter card.

Every Diamond graphics card includes a program called Diamond In-Control Tools.  Although pleasant and probably helpful for first time users as it assists in the configuration of your Display properties, I find it more of a nuisance than a help and so do not use it.  Once the drivers are loaded I go straight to the Win98 Display Properties in the Control Panel to set the 1024x768 resolution at 16bpp color at which the tests were run. A quick reboot to set the system properties and we're all ready to begin.

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