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Creative Labs Annihilator Pro

by johnd - Jan. 8, 2000

When I'm Christmas shopping in stores that sell computer parts, I sometimes drift away from my original shopping list and end up buying computer hardware and software gifts for myself. This Christmas season was no exception. I decided to walk down the isle containing the video cards to see what was in stock and was surprised to spot a Creative Labs Annihilator Pro in the store. So, after debating with myself for a few short minutes as to whether to wait for a Voodoo4 or Voodoo5, or buy the Annihilator Pro, I gave in to temptation and bought the Annihilator Pro.

The Annihilator Pro comes with 32MB of double data rate (DDR) memory which runs at an effective rate of 300Mhz. The DDR memory is actuall running at 150Mhz, but is transferring data both on the rise and fall of the memory clock to effectively give it a 300Mhz clock rate. It will work in a 2X or 4X AGP slot and according to the box it came in, it fully supports AGP 4X fast writes. If you want to read all the features and specifications of the Annihilator Pro, visit Creative Lab's web site.

My system previously had a Voodoo3 2000 video card. 2D video with the Voodoo3 always looked a little blurry to me. The 2D video with the Annihilator Pro seems to be a lot sharper.

Included Software

The free software supplied with the Annihilator Pro included Colorific and 3Deep, InterVideo WinDVD, Need for Speed 4: High Stakes (full version), Evolva Scout (special edition), and Dagoth Moor Zoological Gardens.

Having previously owned a Creative Labs Riva TNT card, I was familiar with the Colorific and 3Deep software. The Colorific software helps you to setup your monitor to provide whiter whites, "more vibrant" colors, and color printouts that "match the display on your screen." The 3Deep software helps display images "the way designers intended." It only takes a few minutes to install, but I was too eager to get into Quake3 and see the Annihilator Pro perform!

I didn't have to good a luck with the InterVideo WinDVD software. The software would jump backwards a few minutes in a movie at the end of a chapter. The same movie running under "DVD Station" software provided with a REALmagic Hollwood plus hardware decoder runs without any problems. Otherwise, the InterVideo software provided smooth playback with the Anninilator Pro and the Pioneer 10X DVD drive.

I already owned Need For Speed 4 and have played it a good bit in the past. Lately, when I have to time to fire up a game I've been just playing Quake 3, so I haven't gotten around to running NFS4 on the Annihilator Pro, or installing the other software titles.

Hardware Installation and Drivers

As with any video card upgrade, I always remove the drivers from the previous card and select the standard VGA driver before installing the new card to avoid any problems with drivers. Installation of the Annihilator Pro and its drivers went smoothly.

After clicking on the "Tweak" button in the BlasterControl panel, you can click on the "Advanced" button to get to the options that allow you to tweak the Annihilator Pro's graphics performance. The software allows you to select memory speeds up to a max of 330Mhz. An option to overclock the core is not offered in the software.

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