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Product: STB Velocity 4400 AGP
Company: STB
Estimated Street Price: $130
Chipset: NVIDIA RIVA TNT
Review By: Matt Klosterman

Introduction

Since the days of the RIVA 128 STB has been one of NVIDIA's main customers. Fueled by their strong retail and OEM presence, STB has continued this trend with the release of their RIVA TNT based Velocity 4400. Unfortunately, 3Dfx's recent acquisition of STB means that we won't see any STB products based on future NVIDIA chipsets.

 

Specifications
Card type: AGP 2x
TV-Out: Yes, (Max. Res: 800x600)
Maximum 2D Resolution: 1920x1200x32bpp
Maximum 3D Resolution: 1920x1200x32bpp
RAMDAC: 250Mhz
RAM: 16MB SDRAM
Cooling Method: Heatsink
Multitexturing: Yes
Anisotropic Filtering: Yes
Bump-Mapping: Yes
Stencil Buffer: Yes, 8-bit
 

Software Bundle

 

  • NFL Blitz (Full Version)
  • Asymetrix Digital Video Producer (Special Edition)
  • Asymetrix Web3D (Special Edition)
  • 3Deep

 

Installation

Installing the Velocity 4400 was quite simple. The only areas where someone might have problems is setting the video driver to Standard VGA before installation, and setting the BIOS correctly.

Direct3D Performance

Test settings and conditions are shown at the end of the review

3DMark 99

 
Pentium 166 MMX
Pentium II 266
Pentium II 300
Pentium II 333
Pentium II 400
Pentium II 448
1425 1724 1828 1894 2022 2115

 

Forsaken

 
 
Pentium II 266
Pentium II 300
Pentium II 333
Pentium II 400
Pentium II 448
640x480
133.15 115.49 124.74 141.7 159.02
800x600
98.54 108.31 111.61 117.17 120.08
1024x768
73.12 73.47 73.21 73.67 73.93

There's not much to say about the Forsaken scores, as you would expect the scores are very high in every resolution and on every processor. However, the Pentium II 266 score is a little odd.

 

Incoming

 
16-bit
 
Pentium 166 MMX
Pentium II 266
Pentium II 300
Pentium II 333
Pentium II 400
Pentium II 448
640x480
28.47 56.7 64.31 71.35 84.18 95.21
800x600
29.3 58.1 64.92 69.07 72.89 73.51
1024x768
30 46.32 46.68 46.77 46.81 47.14

 

32-bit
 
Pentium 166 MMX
Pentium II 266
Pentium II 300
Pentium II 333
Pentium II 400
Pentium II 448
640x480
28.29 58.63 62.51 64.93 65.3 65.8
800x600
29.17 43.05 43.42 43.45 43.48 43.79
1024x768
25.37 23.52 26.11 26.12 26.11 26.27

As you can see the TNT takes a huge hit when going from 16bpp to 32bpp. I'll cover the 32bpp issue in more depth later in the review.

 

Turok

 
Pentium 166 MMX
Pentium II 266
Pentium II 300
Pentium II 333
Pentium II 400
Pentium II 448
640x480
52.6 81.3 105.8 104.7 137.6 154.1
800x600
52.5 76.1 91.5 85 101.8 104.8

 

OpenGL Performance

 

GLQuake 16-bit 640x480

 
Pentium 166 MMX
Pentium II 266
Pentium II 300
Pentium II 333
Pentium II 400
Pentium II 448
Demo1 47.2 90.5 94.7 97.5 99.7 99.7
Bigass1 Demo 22.4 50.9 57.3 62.7 72.5 76.9

 

GLQuake 32-bit 640x480

 
Pentium II 266
Pentium II 300
Pentium II 333
Pentium II 400
Pentium II 448
Demo1 55.7 54.4 49.4 54.4 49.9
Bigass1 Demo 39.5 42.8 44 46 49.6

 

Quake2 16-bit Demo1

 
Pentium 166 MMX
Pentium II 266
Pentium II 300
Pentium II 333
Pentium II 400
Pentium II 448
640x480 21.4 50.9 56.8 63.7 72.7 79.2
800x600 21.6 49.2 53.4 56.4 58.9 59.7
1024x768 - 37.4 37.7 38 38.1 38.1
1152x864 - 30.4 30.5 30.6 30.7 30.6

 

Quake2 16-bit Crusher.dm2

 
Pentium II 266
Pentium II 300
Pentium II 333
Pentium II 400
Pentium II 448
640x480 24.9 28.2 31.2 37 42.3
800x600 24.9 28.1 31.1 36.3 40.5
1024x768 24 26.3 28.3 30.4 31.4
1152x864 22.3 23.5 24.6 25.6 25.7

 

Quake2 32-bit Demo1

 
Pentium II 266
Pentium II 300
Pentium II 333
Pentium II 400
Pentium II 448
640x480 46.9 52.6 56.1 60.1 62
800x600 39.5 40.8 41.3 41.7 42
1024x768 24.8 25 25 25 25.1
1152x864 20.2 20.3 20.3 20.4 20.4

 

Quake2 16-bit Crusher.dm2

 
Pentium II 266
Pentium II 300
Pentium II 333
Pentium II 400
Pentium II 448
640x480 23.6 26.7 29.7 33.1 37.8
800x600 23 25.8 27.7 30 31.5
1024x768 18 19.3 19.9 20 20.6
1152x864 12.3 13.1 13.5 14.1 14.5

On the Velocity 4400, Quake2 remains what I consider playable (30+ fps in Crusher.dm2) up to about 800x600 or 1024x768, depending on the speed of your processor.

 

32-bit Performance

Percent performance penalty using 32-bit (Pentium II 400)

 
640x480
800x600
1024x768
1152x864
Quake2 Crusher.dm2
10.54% 17.36% 34.21% 44.92%
Quake2 Demo1.dm2
17.33% 29.20% 34.38% 33.55%
Incoming
22.43% 40.35% 44.22% -

These percentages represent how large the slowdown is when switching from 16-bit to 32-bit color. As the resolution increases, the performance penalty grows. On benchmarks that are more fill-rate dependent than CPU dependent (i.e. Quake2 Demo1.dm2 is more fill-rate dependent than Crusher.dm2, and Incoming is more fill-rate dependent than Demo1.dm2), the performance penalty is greater.

Conclusion

Pros:
  • Great performance
  • Good price
  • TV-Out
  • Decent software bundle
Cons:
  • No DVD support (Out Of The Box-Download add-on likely in the future)
  • Large performance hit when using 32-bit color
  • Runs very hot, an active cooling system such as a fan in addition to the heatsink would have been preferable.

The Velocity 4400 is by far the best 2D/3D card I've had the opportunity to use so far. While not perfect, the card shows great balance and has a reasonable price. However, if you need hardware DVD decoding you may want to consider the ATI Rage128 based cards, which seem to have very good performance.

 

Scores

Design 9
Value 10
Performance 9
Ease Of Installation 8
Documentation 7
Software Bundle 8
Stability 10
Overall 9

 

Test Conditions

Component Product Driver Revision
Processor: Intel Pentium 166MMX
Intel Pentium II 400, clocked at 266 (4x66), 300 (4x75), 333 (4x83), 400 (4x100), and 448(4x112)
-
Motherboard: Socket 7: FIC PA-2012 1MB L2
Slot 1: Abit BH6
-
Hard Drive: 2.1GB Western Digital -
RAM: 64MB of Samsung -G8 SDRAM -
Sound Card: Turtle Beach Montego A3DXStream 4.05.112

All tests have been performed on Windows 98, with DirectX 6 installed unless otherwise noted. The tests are performed three times each, then averaged together.

 

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