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While Creative's TNT based card generated slightly lower benchmark scores than those rendered by the Viper 550, I am still favorably impressed by both the stability and included utilities and have no reservations whatsoever bestowing our Super7 Award on this TNT based graphics card.  Creative offers pretty good tech support and if you have to call you won't sit on hold for long but most major problems are covered well in the excellent user's guide.  The Blaster Control applet, as I say, can help you to generate higher benchmark scores but they can cost you a bit in the image quality department.  To make sure that the card was indeed stable on all super7 based systems I tossed it into a system incorporating ALI's Aladdin V chipset (Iwill XA100 Plus) and ran it for a few days without any major problems, however the smaller L2 cache can account for a very minor performance hit.  With prices for the retail box as low as $130.00 on the web, the money is well spent.  Especially if you intend further upgrades as 1999 wears on.  Super7 users will really see a performance increase with the release of the K6-3 just over the horizon. 

A Few Configuration Tips...

As I mentioned before there are a few things you'll need to know to make the most of your Blaster Riva TNT.  First of all, make sure that you are using the very latest AGP drivers for your chipset as well as your graphics card.  Also, the heatsink is there for a reason.  The TNT chip generates a good deal of heat so a case fan or two is definitely a good idea.  Proper configuration of certain BIOS settings is essential to avoid problems:  Under the BIOS Features Setup Screen - PCI / VGA Palette snoop: Disable - Video Bios Cacheable: Disable (Today's video cards have very fast Flash ROM making use of this setting virtually obsolete in most cases. It could theoretically even lower the graphics subsystem's performance.)  In the Chipset Features Setup Screen - Assign IRQ to VGA: enabled - Setting aside an interrupt  is necessary for your video card to work in a bus master configuration.  If you are experiencing difficulties with your graphics card you may want to try disabling the following settings which may or may not apply to your particular mainboards BIOS configuration - Cache Rd + CPU Wt.- Disable, DRAM Read Pipeline - Disable, Cache Read Pipeline - Disable, Read Around Write - Disable, Write Pipeline Cache - Disable.   If you have these settings, disable them to get you system stable although it will cost you a bit as far as performance.  And remember, too many changes at the same time can mess up your configuration files.  An interesting fix for this problem is to disable all hardware acceleration.  Go to System Properties through the Control Panel, click the Performance tab then the Graphics button, use the slider to disable all hardware acceleration and then reboot.  After you are back up and running do the same thing to get to the slider and move it all the way up and again reboot.  While it won't necessarily fix everything it will correct most of the registry settings that you messed up making too many changes at once.  If you're still having problems Johan De Gelas' excellent article on making wayward graphics cards obey can be found at Ace's Hardware and is an excellent starting point for troubleshooting.

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