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The Test System

This review was conducted on:

  • Intel Pentium-3 600 & Celeron 400 processors -- normal clockspeed
  • Abit BX6 motherboard rev 2.01
  • 128 Megabytes Crucial PC133 ram
  • IBM UDMA 33 10.1 gig hard drive
  • ATI Rage Fury 32 meg video w TV OUT - ATI 6263 drivers
  • Pioneer 103s 6x DVD drive w DMA enabled
  • 17 inch Sony 200ES Trinitron monitor
  • Diamond MX300 Vortex-2 Soundcard. Aureal 2040 Reference Drivers.
  • Klipsch Promedia v.2-400 speakers
  • Plextor 8x20 CD writer w Adaptec 2930c SCSI card
  • Win98SE
  • MS DirectX 8
  • TV OUT tested using S-VIDEO output to a Sony 35KVS66 Trinitron

The Vortex-2 soundcard remains. I'm awaiting a warranty exchange of the SB Live Value, but both cards offer top-quality sound and similar performance in most areas, so nothing to worry on. An attempt at updating to ATI's latest 7078 drivers for Rage 128 cards was aborted quickly, as the DVD performance became quite bad, but was quickly restored be reinstalling the older drivers. Remember, just because its new, doesn't mean its better, but your own mileage may vary.

Celeron testing was Extremely limited on this review. The absence of DVD Hardware Acceleration support by CoolDVD dictated that this review have more power. My Celeron tests held up that modern Software DVD playback should start at 400mhz to be enjoyable without hardware assistance, and 400mhz really should be considered a minimum. (Despite what many manufacturers claim!) Playback improved noticeably when jumping to 600mhz, so I stuck with the P3 since that was more realistic for a player that does not make use of Hardware Acceleration. Users with systems at or below 400mhz may need to use video cards and players that have and use DVD Hardware Acceleration to make playback enjoyable.

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