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"The Winner 2000/Office was one of only two boards reviewed to include both video input and output connectors... itís 230MHz RAMDAC also produced the highest refresh rates of any board reviewed."

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2D/3D Graphics Accelerators

ELSA Winner 2000/Office 8mb PCI

Elsaís Winner 2000/Office graphics accelerator is aptly targeted towards business users, though it proved to be equally as adept at home-based applications. The 2000/Office is based on the Permedia 2 processor and comes with either 4mb or 8mb of fast SGRAM.

Winner 2000/Office Our model didnít come with an original box or general manuals, though if they in any way compare to the Victory Erazor they would be more than excellent. The board is well constructed, and the 4mb version comes with a SO-DIMM memory upgrade socket. A heatsink is attached to the main processor and during our benchmarks it got moderately warm to the touch. As PCI cards face down in a tower case, itís important to make sure nothing sensitive to heat is immediately below.

The Winner 2000/Office was one of only two boards reviewed to include both video input and output connectors (the other was also an Elsa), and this immediately pushes it to the top of the list for people looking for an integrated video solution. Itís 230MHz RAMDAC also produced the highest refresh rates of any board reviewed and provides true-color support up to 1280x1024. One visual nuance that seemed somewhat consistent between all Permedia 2 boards was a darker picture, and our pre-production Elsa board was particularly subject. As if to make up for this, the picture was exceptionally crisp.

Winner - Settings Users who look for a moderate amount of DOS compatibility will be disappointed with any Permedia 2 board. There are no DOS VESA modes available in the BIOS, and our sources claim it unlikely that ELSA will write a software driver. Users will have to hope the a third-party TSR will be written, in the chance that such a thing is even possible.

The Winner 2000/office supports High-color mode as 15-bit, rather than 16-bit, though the difference was imperceptible in normal tasks. The speed in this mode was second only to Riva 128 boards, with Winstone 98 tests pulling ahead of our other Permedia 2 based board, the Fire GL Pro. True-color numbers were not what we had hoped though still quite good, coming in once again just behind the Riva boards. Elsaís drivers support many high-end features including screen size, positioning and custom refresh rates. These setting can be tweaked to the Nth degree, though the interface to do so was confusing and often frustrating to use.

The only substantial downside to the Elsa board is itís next to non-existent software package which consists only of graphic utilities and an MPEG decoder. On the other hand, it has the best driver support of any Permedia 2 board reviewed, supporting Windows 95, Windows 3.1, OS/2 Warp 4.0, Windows NT 3.51 and a full ICD OpenGL driver for Windows NT 4.0.

Winner - Jedi Knight Open GL acceleration is supported only under Windows NT 4.0, and even though 3D Labs is currently writing drivers for Windows 95 Elsa has no plans to support them. Direct 3D performance was good though not exciting, with Jedi Knight pulling in comparably low numbers despite itís mid-range Winbench 3D scores. It seems that Elsa has concentrated on 2D performance with their current drivers, as 3D came in behind the Diamond board while 2D surged ahead.

This board was a catch-22 situation for professional users. Both itís 2D and 3D performance wasnít up to the level of Riva 128 boards, though as the Peremedia 2ís memory limit is 8mb rather than only 4mb for Riva boards it supports true color at higher resolutions. With higher refresh rates and better 3D rendering at high resolutions it becomes clear that high-end users who also need 32-bit color at 1280x1024 will have to take a close look at a Permedia 2 solution. Elsaís Winner 2000/Office proved to be a worthy performer with great drivers that graphics professionals will be more than satisfied with.

Product & Company Information

  COMPANY: ELSA Inc.
  PRODUCT: Winner 2000/Office 8mb SGRAM PCI
  WEB SITE: www.elsa.com
  PHONE: 1-800-272-ELSA
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