ELSA Erazor II 16MB TNT AGPby Ga'ash Soffer on January 23, 1999 5:25 PM EST
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Traditionally a high end provider, ELSA is steadily making their way into gamers boxes. The ELSA Erazor II is perhaps the most promising move by ELSA, as far as gamers are concerned. Powered by nVidia's hot (also literally) RIVA TNT chipset, the Erazor II is sure to be a top choice. The question remaining is: how does the Erazor II stack up to the rest of the TNT boards...
The Elsa Erazor II is slightly smaller than the Creative Labs RIVA TNT or the STB Velocity V4400 boards. Also, instead of equipping the TNT powered board with a large heatsink, Elsa opted to include a fan instead. Whether or not the fan does its job better than a large heatsink is debatable, but at default clock speed, the card was stable. The ELSA board is packed with Entron SGRAM, instead of the usual SDRAM. Whether or not this makes a performance difference, is again, debatable. The tests Anandtech ran showed that the SGRAM did not prove to increase performance over SDRAM solutions...
The Erazor II came with a small, yet thorough installation guide (which is shared with the Victory II Banshee). The manual is perhaps one of the best I have seen. Not only did Elsa include detailed instructions for operating various parts of the board (i.e. changing resolution/color-depth, using the multimedia player and "Fine-tuning for Performance Freaks". The part I mostly enjoyed was the glossary of 3D-terms and the 8 page "All About Graphics" tutorial. The ELSA manual is definitely top-notch.
The installation of the Erazor II board went very well. With the exception of dropping the screw which secures the card in the AGP slot on the floor, the physical installation was smooth. The software installation went well; however, the card was detected as an nVidia RIVA TNT (reference drivers) and I had to manually install the ELSA drivers. Of course, manual installation is no problem, especially since the installation guide takes you through it step by step, should you have a system where plug and pl(r)ay doesn't seem to work well.
The drivers for the Erazor II board have excellent control over gamma correction, refresh rates, virtual screen res, and refresh rate. The board also provides the standard nVidia OpenGL/D3D options, ranging from anti-aliasing quality, MIP mapping options, texture memory size, and more. The drivers are simple, but get the job done. I would have like to see an overclocking utility, but Entech's Powerstrip does the job well.
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