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Product: Hercules 3D Prophet 4500 64MB
Company: Hercules
Estimated Street Price: $149
Review By: Julien Jay


Table Of Contents
1: Introduction
2: Install & 2D Features
3: Kyro II Specifications
4: Drivers & GamePlay

5: Benchmarks
6: Conclusion

    Since a graphics card review cannot be complete without the usual benchmarks, here we go. To test the Hercules 3D Prophet 4500 64MB we used the Intel D815EPEA2 motherboard along with a Pentium III 1GHz. The configuration of the system was:

  • Intel D815EPEA2 Motherboard (with P12 Bios),
  • 256Mb SDRAM PC133,
  • Seagate 20GB UDMA 66 Hard Disk,
  • GoldStar DVD-Rom 8120b,
  • Hercules 3D Prophet 4500 64Mb (with latest drivers 7.89),
  • Hercules 3D Prophet II MX 32MB & 3D Prophet II Ultra 64MB (with latest drivers 12.40),
  • Pinnacle Studio DV,
  • Microsoft Natural Keyboard Pro,
  • Microsoft IntelliMouse with IntelliEye.

    Everything was running on a fresh and clean install of Microsoft Windows 2000 Professional with Service Pack 2. We used the Quake III & 3D Mark 2001 software to test the performance of the Kyro II GPU on this mainstream PC.



If the 3D Prophet II Ultra 64MB is largely ahead in this benchmark the 3D Prophet 4500 surpasses the GeForce II MX.


In 32bits colors mode, the 3D Prophet II 4500 64MB let the GeForce 2 MX far behind and approach the results of the GeForce II Ultra without matching them.



Enabling FSAA 2x in 16bits color mode reserves a good surprise: not only the 3D Prophet 4500 64MB is much faster than the GeForce II MX but it even mangage to beat the GeForce II Ultra in the highest resolution! Notice that in 1280*1024-16bits the Kyro II outperforms itself (just like in 32 bits mode). Why you'll ask? It’s simply due to the FSAA technique; the card doesn't have to apply a filter to re-reduce the resolution in order to display the image (unlike in 1024*768), thus resulting in faster operation times.


With FSAA 2x enabled in 32 bits color mode, the 3D Prophet 4500 64MB outperforms the GeForce II Ultra in 1280*1024 resolution by 30% while sticking to the GeForce II Ultra heels in modest resolutions. Obviously the GeForce II MX lags behind.

In FSAA 4x 16bits the 3D Prophet 4500 64Mb is a bit weak comparing to the GeForce II Ultra and only surpasses the GeForce II MX by a few fps (except in high resolution). This is normal due to the architecture of the GPU: remember every calculi are done in 32 bits so the Kyro II looses time to reconvert images in 16bits.


Here is the final Quake III Arena test run in FSAA 4x 32bits. It corresponds to the highest settings to get the best possible image. As usual the GeForce II MX isn't worthy of speaking about. The 3D Prophet II 4500 64MB is very near to the results of the GeForce II Ultra and beats it in the 1280*1024 resolution by 25%. As usual with the Kyro II, the GPU outperforms itself in the high resolution of 1280*1024 due to how the FSAA technology is implemented in the graphics card.


With 3D Mark 2001 the lack of Tranform & Lighting support penalize the 3D Prophet 4500 64MB since the benchmark program massively uses DirectX 8.0 Optimized instructions. Another to thing to consider is that 3D Mark 2001 is so resources hungry that with a more powerful CPU the 3D Prophet 4500 64MB would get better results.


Once again in 32bits, 3D Mark 2001 relegate the 3D Prophet 4500 64MB home due to the missing T&L support. However the Kyro II based graphics card manage to beat the GeForce II MX in the 1280*1024 resolution but stay far behind the GeForce II Ultra.

    To conclude the benchmarks as you have understood the 3D Prophet 4500 64MB is the ultimate device if you’re in quest for the best image quality. Indeed the Kyro II GPU manages to always beat the GeForce II Ultra in 1280x1024 resolutions, which is quite incredible! The Kyro II is the fastest graphics card when you enable the most consumming settings to have the best image quality. As you may have noticed there’s barely no performances difference between the 16bits or the 32bits color modes when with other cards the performances’ variation can reach 25-30% or more, thanks to the Internal True Color feature. 3D Mark 2001 doesn't make the 3D Prophet 4500 64MB shine, unlike Quake III, since this 3D benchmarking software uses T&L: as the Kyro II GPU doesn't feature this precious T&L engine its performances are highly affected. Anyway a few games use the T&L features so this isn't actually a major drawback. FSAA is definitely designed for the 3D Prophet 4500 64MB since in this mode the Kyro II reveals all its power in comparison to its competitors. In comparison to the GeForce II MX, the 3D Prophet 4500 64MB offers for approximately the same price much more performance along with an unrivalled quality image in 3D.


« Drivers & GamePlay Conclusion »


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