Creative's Blaster TNT Review
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TNT & The Super7 System

There's no doubt that Creative Labs and nVidia have enjoyed a long and fruitful relationship, and the decision to fashion a graphics card based on the Riva TNT accelerator chip was, for Creative, sound, both fiscally and technologically.  Touted as the 'King of the Combo" 2D/3D chips, the TNT is realizing major successes with a number of component manufacturers as well as the public at large.  Sure, as with most of the so-called next generation graphics chips, there are some problems for those of us that have chosen to go with the super7 platform, but with new release AGP drivers from chipset manufacturers and and tailored BIOS and driver updates from both nVidia and individual card makers, the beast has now been tamed and is ready to be unleashed on even the most delicate of configurations.  Provided you know all the right tricks.

Creative's Graphics Blaster Riva TNT comes with a full 16MB of SDRAM framebuffer memory in both AGP and PCI flavors. The card I tested enjoys full x2 AGP implementation with sideband support, and on the surface seemed much different than the OEM Viper 550 (reviewed last month).  To begin with there seems to be a good deal more real estate on the Creative card, as well as a somewhat stouter and more evenly thermal pasted heatsink covering the TNT chip itself.  The chip is surrounded by 8 - 2MB Samsung -7ns SDRAMs that provide that generous 16MB framebuffer and while not quite as fast as powerful SGRAM, Creative in no way skimped, providing one of the fastest Video SDRAMs currently available. 

Accompanying the card Creative has included a very thorough 50+ page user's manual and installation guide that covers all you'll need to know to install both the hardware itself along with the necessary drivers and utilities the company provides, as well as some technical documentation and troubleshooting help.  And speaking of technical documentation, below you will find the Blaster Riva TNT's spec sheet... blastertntlogo.gif (4509 bytes)

Technical Specifications

3D features

2D features

Video Support

Specifications

Drivers

Utilities

System Requirements

Warranty
Three-year limited hardware warranty covering parts and labor.

Chipset Features

  • 128-bit wide graphics engine and frame buffer
  • 180 million pixels/sec peak fill rate
  • 6 million triangles/sec peak
  • Large 12K on-chip cache
  • 36 billion operations/sec pixel processing pipeline
Interfaces

  • Comprehensive AGP2X support
  • Bus mastering DMA PCI interface
  • 32-bit PCI version 2.1 or AGP version 1.0 with 2X data transfer and full sideband support

2D Resolution Table

Refresh
Rates

Color Depth

Resolution 8bpp 16bpp 32bpp
640x480 60, 70, 72, 75, 85, 100, 120Hz
800x600
1024x768
1152x864
1280x1024
1600x1200 60, 70, 72, 75, 85Hz 60, 70, 72, 75Hz
1920X1080 60, 70, 72, 75Hz
1920X1200

3D Resolution Table

Refresh
Rates
Color Depth
Resolution 8bpp 16bpp 32bpp
640x480 60, 70, 72, 75, 85, 100, 120Hz
800x600
1024x768
1152x864
1280x1024
1600x1200 60, 70, 72, 75, 85Hz 60, 70, 72, 75Hz
1920X1080 60, 70, 72, 75Hz N/A
1920X1200

Refresh rates shown are the highest obtainable and are monitor-dependant. Resolutions, pixel depths and refresh rates are driver-dependent and may not be available in all applications or operating systems.

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