Overclocking really disappointed us with the 3D Prophet 4500. There were no driver options to adjust the core/memory clock speeds so we had to utilize a third party program called PowerStrip which can be downloaded?here. The highest we were able to overclock the card, after numerous attemps was 182MHz core and 182MHz memory with stock cooling. Any higher would result in great instability including system crashes, image artefacts and tearing. Keep in mind that we have a pre-release version and do not know what will change in the final release version. The performance difference between 182/182 and 175/175 was so low that we did not feel that it was necessary to put the results in the review.
The 3D Prophet 4500 is not yet available for purchase but we have been informed by Hercules that it will be available at stores in May. The 3D Prophet 4500 based on the Kyro 2 will only be available in 64MB version. This question is best answered by Jean-Francois Galle, Product Manager at Guillemot Australia.?“Concerning the 3D Prophet 4500, this is a 64MB card, and we will have a 32MB card but not with this chipset!”?Here is what he had to say when I asked for more information about the 32MB version.?“the second Kyro card that we will launch in june: the 3D Prophet 4000XT, 32MB”. Here is a picture of the 3D Prophet 4000XT with box:
Jean also told us that the 3D Prophet 4500 will only be available in TV-out version in Australia (This won’t be the case in other countries). The AGP version with TV-out will be priced at RRP $AUD499 ($USD253.50) and the non TV-out PCI version will be priced at RRP $AUD449 ($USD228). Please note that the USD prices you see are only the AUD prices converted. This does not mean that our American readers will be paying that much for the card. For all our non Australian readers, the regular AGP version with no tv-out can be purchased for $USD149.
The 3D Prophet 4500 blew the GeForce2 MX right out of the water. Its Tile-based rendering and internal 32bit rendering make up for its lack of a T&L engine and improve the image quality a great deal. Its performance at lower resolutions could have been better but at higher resolutions, especially 1024x768x32bit, the 3D Prophet 4500 beat the GeForce 2 MX by a significant margin. Its FSAA scores were amazing, with the Prophet 4500 doubling the GeForce 2 MX’s FPS in both 16 and 32bit colour. The Kyro 2 chipset’s fate will lie in the hands of OEMs and whether or not they are willing to adopt the Kyro. The performance is there and at a price of $USD149 you are getting a card which is budget priced but delivers absolutely bone shattering performance, comparitive to the MX. If you’re looking for a card on the cheap which delivers rivetting performance and the luxury of being able to play at high resolutions, the 3D Prophet 4500 will do it for you. However, if you are an overclocker or enjoy playing at lower resolutions (640×480) then you may find the GeForce2 MX better for your needs. Is the Kyro 2 too little too late? Tempus Omnia Revelat (Time Reveals All). Has it got the potential to defeat the Nvidia giant? Definitely.
Afterthough:?Anandtech have recently reviewed the MX 400 and in their?conclusion, they state that the MX400 has similar performance to the standard MX. This raises some concern as Nvidia is phasing out the MX to replace it with the MX 200 and MX 400. If you’re looking into buying a budget video card we certainly suggest you look into the Kyro II as its performance is a great deal more impressive than that of a standard MX.
* Great Performance
* Great Price
* Tile-Based Rendering
* Excellent FSAA Performance
* Internal True Color
* Bad overclocking Potential
* Might run into compatibility issues
I would like to thank Jean-Francois Galle from?Hercules?Australia for providing us with this unit for review.
We have received many emails about this sentence. “PowerVR have designed their own similar variation of 3DFX’s Hidden Surface Removal”. This was by no means implying that PowerVR ripped 3dfx off in any way, shape or form. We were mainly implying that they were both developed in order to achieve the same outcome by similar means. This outcome was to more efficiently conserve precious memory bandwidth by rendering only what was necessary.
We were extremely surprised at how low the MX scored. We retested twice in all tests and still got the same results. Please note that my system is also running Win2k which will hinder performance a little bit. Since we had a basis of comparison and both cards were tested under the same conditions, even if we tested with a higher-end system we still would have come to the same conclusion however, obviously with higher results for both cards.
We have been witness to the great popularity of graphics cards in the high end segment since the release of the GeForce2 Ultra and more recently, the GeForce3. There has been much less effort on the manufacturers part directed to the low end market. This is simply because the low end market has been ruled by the GeForce2 MX chipset for some time now and companies just couldn’t produce cards that come close to the performance the GeForce2 MX provides. You may remember the Kyro chipset based on the PowerVR architecture that was released a bit less than a year ago. This was STMicro’s first foray into the 3D chipset market, it produced an admirable performance on par with the Geforce256. Today we are taking a look at the sequel to the Kyro which is a new addition to the budget segment, appropriately named, Kyro 2. STMicro has partnered with Hercules to bring you this card and called it the Hercules 3D Prophet 4500. STMicro have been known for producing unreliable drivers and not so good performance while Hercules are now very well known and have a reputation for producing excellent quality products with their own improved driver sets. Let’s see if this new contender has got what it takes to overthrow the nVidia giant.
|Card Name||GeForce2 MX||3D Prophet 4500|
|Graphics Processor||NV11||Kyro 2|
|Bus||AGP 1x/2x/4x||AGP 1x/2x|
Maximum 2D and 3D Resolutions
The 3D Prophet 4500 features the standard 4 layer blue PCB we see on all Hercules video cards. The core is cooled by a round, blue radial fin cooler that slightly resembles the blue orb from?ThermalTake. The Kyro II features 15 million transistors, 3 million more than the original Kyro. We do not know for sure why STMicro added the extra transistors however, judging by what we have read it seems like they did this in order to reach a higher clock speed. Some earlier pre-released cards only featured a 166/166 memory/core clock speed however, the Kyro 2 had the potential to go up to 175/175. The final release cards that will be available shortly will feature this configuration. It features a 128bit memory interface that is capable of supporting configurations of 16MB, 32MB or 64MB RAM. Hercules decided to put 64MB of SDRAM on the Kyro 2. It is arguable that the extra RAM makes any difference whatsoever in performance with today’s games but it is still a nice addition. You might be wondering why the Kyro 2 features SDRAM rather than DDR RAM. This is because it features tile-based rendering which utilizes memory bandwidth more efficiently than conventional (immediate mode rendering). Therefore it is arguable that Kyro II would benefit from the addition of DDR RAM.
The Kyro 2 dissipates 4 watts of heat. This is the same as the GeForce2 MX however, the MX only requires a heatsink, sometimes not even that to keep the core cool. The active cooling was used so that the Kyro 2 could run at the 175/175 core/mem clock clockspeed. Later in the review we will see if the added active cooling affects overclocking results. Our board featured 8x8MB Samsung memory chips that are rated at 5.0ns. We have noticed two silk screens on the board where chips were supposed to go. As you will see in the top picture, the larger silk screen will feature a Chronotel video-out chip if you purchase the TV-out version. The smaller silk screen is where the Silicon Image TMDS controller will go. This controller provides support for flat panels. Let’s move on to the next page where I will explain each feature the 3D Prophet 4500 has to offer.
Features & Technology
It doesn’t matter whether you choose 16bit or 32bit color mode because all blending operations on all pixels in each tile are performed onchip in full 32bit color (16.7m colors). If you choose 16bit, when the blending process is complete, the final texture will be trimmed down to 16bit. This makes image quality in 16bit mode very close to the quality you will get in 32bit mode. This system is called Internal True Colour. Please note that even though 16bit mode is effectively nearly identical to 32bit mode, the image quality in 32bit is still a tad better but also takes up twice as much memory. I have taken a couple of screenshots in both 16bit and 32bit in Quake 3 Arena so you can judge for yourself how much difference there is between. each colour mode.
Left: 16bit Right: 32bit
Left: 16bit Right: 32bit
PowerVR have designed their own similar variation of 3DFX’s Hidden Surface Removal. This technology was implemented on the original Kyro and is called Tile-Based Rendering. Memory bandwidth is one of the biggest bottlenecks in graphics cards today and tile-based rendering effectively uses available memory bandwidth making it less of a bottleneck. What Tile-based rendering does is, instead of rendering every pixel whether it is visible or not, it only textures visible pixels. Groups of polygons are batched together (in “display lists”) before being processed by 3D hardware. This allows the scene to be grouped into smaller 32×16 tiles which are then rendered independently. This in turn eliminates the need for frequent access to external memory. The data for each tile is then stored on the onboard z-buffer to reduce latencies associated with accessing external memory. Since z-buffering and pixel blending are done only on the chip, they are performed at higher precision with negligible performances loss. The bottom line is, tile-based rendering reduces the amount of data which deprives the card of memory bandwidth by dropping pixels which are not visible in the final image.
Conventional 3D or Immediate mode rendering is what we have seen used in most graphics chipsets in the past. It differs from tile-based rendering because instead of only rendering the pixels that are visible in the final image, it renders all pixels and then decides whether it is viewable or not. This is called overdraw. An analogy that we could use is, your 3D card is rendering a street scene and a car drives past. The building behind the car would still be rendered by the immediate mode rendering. Therefore wasting valuable bandiwidth as those pixels will not be visible in the final product. That is what makes tile-base rendering more efficient because it doesn’t do that, in effect saving memory bandwidth. Here are some diagrams to show you how conventional 3D (immediate mode rendering) differs from PowerVR’s tile-based rendering:
STMicro chose not to feature a T&L engine on the Kyro 2, contrary to what we have been seeing on GeForce2 and Radeon cards. The reason for this is that STMicro feel that modern CPUs are capable of calculating T&L better than a graphics card can. The Kyro 2 features a 2 pixel pipeline. This pipeline is capable of processing one texture unit per clock. This again shows the simplicity of the Kyro 2 chipset. The card does not require any extra pipelines because the tile-based rendering makes it so efficient. The Kyro 2 features a 300MHz RAMDAC (Random Access Memory Digital-to-Analog Converter). It supports a resolution of 1920×1440 at 75Hz. We did not have a monitor capable of that resolution. We find it hard to believe that you would actually need that resolution in a desktop environment unless you were running a dual monitor setup, which the Kyro presently isn’t capable of.
You have the option of either 2x or 4x super-sampling FSAA (Full-Scene Anti-Aliasing) with the 3D Prophet 4500. FSAA smooths out jagged edges, by averaging the colors across a given pixel. This in turn makes the image quality quite noticeably better than if you were playing with no FSAA at all. Say you are running a game at 640×480 with 2×2 FSAA on. The game is effectively rendered at 1280×960. This produces a huge decrease in performance, as you will see in our testing results later on. FSAA is often not worth the performance decrease unless you have a high performance card or require the best possible image quality. FSAA sometimes causes memory problems if your card only has 32MB RAM. This is good news for us because the Prophet 4500 features 64MB of RAM and the FSAA performance was truly amazing compared to our GeForce2 MX. This is due to the fact, not only does it have 64Mb of RAM but also because memory bandwidth is not as much of an issue anymore with tile-based rendering. Below are a few screenshots that I took whilst playing Quake3 with FSAA on and off.
STMicro have had a history of producing unreliable drivers with their past video chipsets. This is mainly due to the fact that being a small company and having limited resources they simply could not keep up to date with their drivers. Now that STMicro have teamed up with Hercules we have seen a great improvement on drivers and we are happy to say that we did not find any serious problems worth mentioning. Every video card customisation option is packed into just two tabs in the additional display properties. There are a lot of options to customize the card to suit your needs.
In this menu you can adjust the position of your screen and set the gamma settings. It also lets you know your screen resolution, refresh rate and colour depth. Pretty simple interface, nothing that needs explaining here.
The picture pretty much explains itself. You can set all the basic features here including FSAA and all the texture/filtering options.
Same with the Direct3D settings. All the OpenGL options are there such as FSAA, vertical sync, buffering and filtering options.
* Asus A7V
* AMD Duron 650MHz
* 256MHz PC-133 SDRAM
* Quantum LM ATA/66 15GB HDD
* SBLive! Value
* AOpen 53x CD-ROM
* Windows 2000 Professional
* 7.51 Hercules Kyro II Drivers
We tested the Hercules 3D Prophet 4500 against the Hercules 3D Prophet II MX 32MB. Both of these cards are classified as value cards and we feel this should be a good basis for comparison. We tested the cards using?ID Software’s?Quake 3 Arena,?MadOnion’s?3DMark2001 andVulpine’s?GLMark. We also tested FSAA and compared 16 to 32bit colours in Quake 3 Arena. In Quake 3 we tested in 640×480, 800×600 and 1024×768 resolutions at 16 and 32 bit colours. In 3DMark2001 we tested at 1024×768 in 16 and 32bit colours. In GLMark we tested at 800×600 in 16 and 32bit. We were unable to test GLMark in 1024×768 as explained later in the review.
Top: Prophet 4500 Bottom: Prophet II MX
Quake 3 Arena
I do not remember the last time I read a video card review that didn’t have Quake 3 benchmarks in it. Quake 3 Arena has become the most mainstream benchmarking program used because it is one of the few games that stresses your video card a great deal. There are also various demos available for you to test your card with. We chose the highly popular, demo001. As mentioned earlier, we benchmarked the cards at 640×480, 800×600 and 1024×768 resolutions in 16 and 32bit colors. As you will notice from the below graphs, the Kyro II really gives the GeForce2 MX a beating at higher resolutions.
3DMark2001 is another extremely popular video card benchmarking software developed by?MadOnion. It uses real world gaming technology to test the full capabilities of your graphics card and then gives it a score of what is called “3D Marks”. This is one of the few benchmarking software that supports DirectX 8. We tested the 3D Prophet 4500 and 3D Prophet II MX at 1024×768 resolution in 16 and 32bit colours.
The Prophet 4500 annihilates the competition in both 16 and 32bit modes. We were surprised that the GeForce2 MX performed so low but even with a driver change we still got around the same results.
Vulpine GLMark is produced by a German company who develop 3D rendering engines. GLMark is based on the Vulpine Vision Game Engine which stresses OpenGL. This is much like 3DMark2001 in a sense that it runs through a set of game demos but instead of giving you a score at the end, it tells you maximum, minimum and average FPS. We tested both cards at 800×600 with both 32 and 16bit colors under high detail. We could not test both at 1024×768 because every time we tried it with the Hercules Prophet II MX it just crashed. We hope 800×600 is a sufficient comparison. All scores below are average FPS.
In GLMark both the cards performed quite disappointingly. You must take into consideration that GLMark stresses your graphics card a great deal, much more than Quake and 3DMark2001. Also this software is still in a premature beta state and may have speed improvements in the future. Even though both cards performance were low, we once again see the 3D Prophet 4500 perform higher in 16bit and 32bit colors.
We showed you image quality in FSAA earlier in the review but now we move on to FSAA benchmarks. We tested FSAA in Quake 3 Arena at 1024×768 resolution in both 2x and 4x FSAA modes. Here are the graphs:
There is only one way to describe the 3D Prophet 4500’s performance. Amazing. It more than doubled the Prophet II MX’s score and this really shows the power of the Kyro 2 chipset and the 64MB SDRAM.
16bit vs 32bit
We made a graph of 16bit vs 32bit performance from results we collected in Quake 3 Arena at the usual resolutions of 640×480, 800×600 and 1024×768. We did this to illustrate how the Kyro’s al lor technology impacts on 16bit and 32 bit performance.
The results were extremely close indeed with a 0.1 FPS difference at 640×480, exact same results in 800×600 and 0.2 FPS between 16bit and 32bit at 1024×768. This is within the margin of error for testing and we conclude that you will notice no performance difference in 16bit or 32bit mode. If you want better image quality then you should play in 32Bit mode however, if you want to conserve memory you should play in 16bit mode.
I’ve worked my way through a lot of weight loss books and courses and get rid of back fat is a common chapter among many of them. I’ve taken a quick look at back exercise examples before but I want to stress this again, the key to weight loss of any kind, fat or otherwise, is understanding weight loss to begin with. I worked hard for years doing things the wrong way which meant I wasted a lot of time. I could have dealt with my weight problems sooner had I known what to do properly. If you want to get rid of that fat, or even just learn how to do – take the time and learn to do it properly. Don’t make the same mistake I made. You’re going to have to work out either way to lose back fat, might as well get the most out of it for the least work.
But back on subject, when it comes to learning how to remove the fat on your back there are a few ways you can look at it. Losing weight for a specific area can be hard but there are exercises you can do which not only help you get rid of it, but also strengthen and tone your back muscles while you’re at it (can’t complain). You also need to have some kind of reliable (and regular – you need to eat) working diet (a healthy one – none of this crazy rubbish people are coming up with) and frequent physical activity will do you no harm either. The first thing you need to do is set out an exercise and workout routine. Set goals which will push you, but they need to be achievable. If it’s things you actually enjoy doing then that’s a nice benefit and will help you stick to it.
This is the same as learning on getting rid of any other fat – with a little more localized exercise on your back muscles. The back, for both men and women, is generally an area which can make you self conscious and lower back fat especially, can be a real issue (trust me – I know). But don’t worry, with the right work and know how – you can learn it soon and change your body (and life) around.
Cybercriminals are now using social media sites like Twitter and Facebook to lure unsuspecting consumers to malicious sites.
Below, Trend Micro has compiled the threats that every online shopper should be wary of.
Coupons & Advertisements That Put the ‘red’ in Rudolph’s Nose
- Discounts, coupons and special offers are used by malware authors to entice users into clicking malicious links
- Advertisements placed on high-trafficked websites such as Twitter and Facebook are sometimes used as triggers for malware downloads
Fake Charity Sites Abusing Generosity, Rewarding Scrooges
- The holiday seasons sets most users into a “giving mood”, making the holidays the perfect time for scammers and malware authors to carry out their schemes
Greeting Cards Delivering Bad Tidings and Viruses
- E-cards are often used by spammers and malware authors as a decoy for users to click malicious links. This type of attack usually takes advantage of holiday seasons, when users are likely to send out e-cards
- Clicking the link or opening the attachment then leads to malware being downloaded into the affected system
Holiday Shopping Search Results
- Query results for certain strings are rigged with a malicious script that leads to various payloads
- In certain cases, malware authors bank on different seasons in choosing which strings will yield the malicious results
Gift Cards Giveth and Gift Cards Taketh
- Shopping rewards such as gift cards or cash may be used to lure users into participating in a survey
- What the user does not know is that the survey page is actually a phishing site and that it is part of a plot to steal confidential information
The kids are back at school, and we’re heading into fall. I’m sure for most families they’ve started their daily routines, which consist of something along the lines of making sure the kids are picked up on time, dinner is on the table, the pets are taken care of and everyone’s homework is completed before going to bed at a reasonable time. It feels like we’re trying to pack more and more activities into our days, and the days aren’t getting any longer. At least when it comes to homework, today’s kids have the benefit of the Internet and having millions of resources at their fingertips to help with their homework. It’s amazing how times have changed.
Now I have children of my own; two tweens whom use computers on a daily basis. Instead of whines of boredom or cries for homework help in the house, I have noticed as my kids have gotten older that they are fewer and far between. Don’t get me wrong, I cherish those moments of peace. That said, I know that those quiet moments are given to me by what I call the “one-eyed babysitter” – the computer. Like most moms, I work outside the home. The difference is just who I work for and what I do. I work for a large Internet Security company and focus my attention on technology that keeps families safe from Internet threats. Those peaceful moments usually signal one thing to me. My children are playing on the Internet surfing the Web, emailing, texting and doing much more.
The Internet gives us so much useful, important and educational information. At the same time – as a mother and a security expert I know that the Internet could prove to be a danger for my family. Every family has to deal with these security issues when they have technology that connects to the Web including PCs, MACs, iPhones, iTouches etc. It’s imperative that everyone, including the children, know about the potential dangers in order to surf the web safely. Talking to your children about online safety is just as important as having the most up-to-date security software. Sitting down with your children at the computer and showing them the various threats and how to avoid them is one way to introduce cyber safety. However, most parents that I talk to are not aware of all the latest threats online.
When it comes to kids’ online safety, there are some areas of risk that my company Trend Micro has identified. What parents need to know is that kids are at risk of the following:
- Being targeted by aggressive or unwanted commercialism (ads or marketing that is intrusive and/or age-inappropriate). Some sites for kids are guilty of serving up ads that are simply inappropriate for kids (such as dating services, gambling sites). They are funded through advertising money, and are careless about thinking through the implications of the ads they are showing to the users of their sites. Some ads are designed to be so engaging, the child thinks it’s a game and not an ad, so they are enticed to click away. This could end up infecting their parents’ computers with malicious software that can spy and/or steal information from them.
- Being a victim of security threats such as hack attacks or scams. Social networking sites are popular among young people and cybercriminals alike. While kids are not necessarily the intended victims of crime perpetrated on these sites, they can be at risk simply because they use them. Some cybercrimes are designed to impact as many people as possible – they do not discriminate based on age. Criminals will use techniques that seem normal to the average user to lead someone to download malicious software without their knowledge (a technique called social engineering). An example of this is when a young person is offered to view a racy photo or video of someone.
- Being more uninhibited with what they say or do online because they believe they have anonymity. Kids can put themselves at risk, too. Posting information or photos of themselves that they did not intend the world to see can damage their reputations, candidacy for a job, or admission to a college. Posting too much personally identifying information (PII) can open themselves up to identity theft (even kids can be victims of this). Harassing others, if considered violent, lewd, or racist can be considered a crime. Creating or distributing music, movies, or video games that are illegally copied or infringe on copyrights is illegal.
I don’t want to cause unnecessary alarm and give doomsday predications. I believe that knowledge is the best armor when dealing with the above topics. The Internet is a necessary tool in the digital age and can help educate the family in numerous ways. What I find is that parents truly want to help protect against the pitfalls but are unaware of the tools to use in order to do so. Part of the solution is relying on good old fashion parenting skills – time limits, open conversation etc. The other part of the solution lies in technology that can help limit the risk and act as a tool to continue talks with kids. Using both techniques, you’ll keep you and your family safe from online threats and enjoy all the positives that the Web offers.