As I had expect the GeForce2 MX was right there with the GeForce SDR board and in some cases, it surpassed it. Although the GeForce2 MX didn't dominate its bigger siblings, it did what most competitors couldn't do, keep within a reasonable distance most of the time. This type of performance is unheard of for such an inexpensive solution. I am very impressed by what this chipset can offer. I do want to note that this could easily change had the board been a 64-bit/SDR memory interface based board. With such a limitation the results will change dramatically.
To BX or Not to BX, is the Question
Although the i815-based boards will be out in force sometime soon, many of our tweakers out there trying to save a few bucks are still running their OC'ed P3's on BX platforms. Knowing this, I wanted to see if the GeForce2 MX could live up to the favorable past experiences that other NVIDIA based boards offered us on this out-of-spec platform setting.
Typically I see problems within minutes if a board has issues running at the abnormal AGP speed so I felt that a 30-minute looped Quake 3 Arena session would be sufficient. During this testing I had no crashes or visual defects while the demos were running. Results may vary on this type of rig so I can't guarantee that you'll have just as much success. Your best bet is to obtain a board from somewhere you can return the product in case things don't work out.
The NVIDIA GeForce2 MX chip will be filling in a few gaps that NVIDIA has not be able to cover completely for some time now (mobile, competitive low cost 3D/Video solution like ATi has been known to handle well), as it will cover the mainstream consumers who are on a budget, low-cost workstations (for small business), mobile computing and even rumored Apple support down the line. This highly configurable solution can be geared towards cost, performance or video functionality. Although it does have 3D performance limitations when compared to the high-end parts, it does excellent in all other areas. No other solution available can offer the same for the price.
Why is this a big deal? Well, there are a couple of interesting things to note here. First, it allows NVIDIA to crush its competition in yet another market segment putting some serious hurt on their ability to make money somewhere. This also means they'll be able to capture more design wins with OEMs as this chip fits perfectly in that market due to the cost, flexibility and even more importantly, offers more than the competition can.
The second reason this product will be a huge win for NVIDIA is due to the fact that it will flood the mainstream with a T&L capable graphics solution. This in turn will make software developers more comfortable with the idea of creating T&L enhanced titles that NVIDIA lacks so badly at this point in time. It's amazing how their budget product will help push the success of their flagship part soon.
So is this newcomer really worth buying? For the majority of you that have a GeForce solution or better by now, I wouldn't advise you to head out and replace it with a NVIDIA GeForce2 MX board unless you fancy DualView enough to trade off some 3D performance. For the rest of you who have been holding out for an inexpensive GPU, that solution has finally arrived.