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Leadtek WinFast A340 PRO TD (GeForce FX 5500)
By Vijay Anand
Category : Graphics
Published by Jimmy Tang on Wednesday, 20th October, 2004
Rating : 4 out of 5 stars  

Leadtek's GeForce FX 5500

Although the GeForce FX 5500 is a low-end graphics card, Leadtek has made no exceptions and accompanied the product with lots of accessories, software and even games to go with it. Quite a contrast from those RADEON 9250 graphics cards we've reviewed recently, but then again, the GeForce FX 5500 is not exactly in the same class as them.

Here's what you'll get in the package along with the Leadtek WinFast A340 PRO TD graphics card:-

  • S-Video extension cable
  • Composite extension cable
  • S-Video to Composite converter cable
  • Leadtek WinFast Graphics General Guide
  • Leadtek WinFast Graphics Quick Installation Guide
  • Leadtek WinFast Graphics Drivers CD
  • Software: Leadtek WinFast DVD, Leadtek WinFast II utilities, Cycore Cult 3D, Coloreal Embedded, Coloreal Visual, Coloreal Bright.
  • Games: Gun Metal (full game), Big Mutha Truckers (full game)

    With a complete suite of utilities, software, games and accessories, you hardly need anything else to maximize the capabilities of the Leadtek A430 PRO TD graphics card. Of course, don't expect the product to carry a rock-bottom price tag with all these bundled items, but the consoling part is if you were to get these items separately, they would definitely set you back far more than the premium you would have to fork out for the Leadtek A340 PRO TD. Let's take a look at the card itself:-

    This is the Leadtek A340 PRO TD GeForce FX 5500 graphics card. The layout hardly differs from a regular GeForce FX 5200 since it's just a slightly faster version. As an added measure to keep the card cool, the GPU has an active cooler unit; hence the graphics card was hardly hot during operation.

    Samsung 128Mbit, 4ns RAM chips populated the front face of the graphics card. With only a 400MHz DDR default memory speed, there was room to overclock.

    Since the Leadtek A340 PRO TD has a 128MB configuration, the rear of the card is pretty clean and doesn't have any major components besides power controller ICs.

    As with many graphics cards, this is the defacto rear faceplate sporting one analog DB15 VGA output, a S-Video TV-output port and a DVI-I connector.

    One thing we would like to point out between the NVIDIA and ATI graphics cards are their display output capabilities. All ATI graphics cards have dual 400MHz RAMDACs whereas the entry level NVIDIA GPUs such as the GeForce FX 5200 and FX 5500 series are equipped with dual 350MHz RAMDACs. For the common display resolutions, this differential is not a problem, but display quality at 1600x1200 resolution or higher and coupled with high refresh rates will definitely be in favor of the ATI counterparts since they have RAMDACs that operate at higher speeds and can maintain a crisper display quality at such settings. However, that is only true if you use high quality monitors with high-grade VGA cables or component (BNC) inputs, not the stock VGA cables provided with most monitors.

    So far, what we've said applies for the analog VGA output option only. The output from the DVI-I connector is yet another area of concern, but again, only for LCD panels that have a native resolution of 1600x1200 or higher. The vast majority of mainstream LCDs have a native resolution of 1280x1024 and the bandwidth required to handle this is easily taken care by the graphics processor's built-in DVI TMDS transmitters. Things get a little tricky when catering for 1600x1200 (UXGA) because that will require a bandwidth close to what the 165MHz TMDS transmitters could deliver in the ATI part. For NVIDIA GPUs, we were not quite certain of the specified bandwidth. Though they have vaguely mentioned it to be 165MHz, it isn't clearly documented on their website or technical specs. Therefore, we cannot be certain of the card's output quality when operating at a resolution of 1600x1200. So, those of you planning to pair an expensive UXGA or higher resolution LCD monitor with the graphics card, you might want to consider using ATI's solution instead. For the rest of us with lower resolution panels, any graphics card would be capable of driving your LCD panel equally well and without much concerns.

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