Diamond Multimedia BizView BV300
Multi-view graphics card for business
By John Virata
In the 1990s there was a whole slew of graphics card vendors using a variety of graphics processors from a variety of vendors. Today, there are just a few graphics chip vendors, and with the proposed AMD acquisition of ATI Technologies, NVIDIA and Matrox (not counting Intel Corp.) are the only independent graphics chip vendors who have product widely used in computers.
Diamond Multimedia, realizing that the high end, OpenGL based graphics market is pretty much sewn up and the low end is dominated by Intel Corp., has released a new graphics card, based on an ATI graphics processor. Called the BizView BV300, it is targeted at the business and SoHO markets. The company's Stealth and Viper lines are targeted at high end gamers and those who want more power than what came with their computer's onboard graphics. We took a look at the BizView BV300. It features dual DVI and TV-out capabilities, giving potential users the capability to view their PC content on two DVI LCD displays and watch TV at the same time.
The BV300 ($149) features an ATI RV515LE graphics processor and ships with 256MB GDDR2 memory. It is a PCI Express x16 based board with a 450MHz core clock and dual 400MHz RAMDACs. It supports Direct X9 and features a DMS-59 display connector, as well as HDTV support. Dual display support includes DVI-I to VGA for dual VGA output and simultaneous DVI to VGA output. It supports 2D display modes ranging from 640x480 at 200Hz, up to 2048x1536 at 85Hz. It supports 3D display modes ranging from 2048x1536 resolution at 65,000 to 2560x1600 resolution and 1.07 billion colors. It also supports 16:9 widescreen formats at 1920x1080 and 848x480 resolutions, giving this card widescreen DVD and HDTV capabilities in addition to support for the business apps the card is targeted at.
The card was installed in a white box 3.2GHz Intel Pentium 4 based system running Windows XP Professional, and after the initial driver install, everything went smoothly. Image output was good to very good and dual display support was enhanced by the fact that the card came with a dual DVI cable enabling us to connect two Gateway FPD1830 digital LCD displays. You can tweak the drivers to span the desktop onto two displays, and even have an entire application take up one display with separate windows showcased on the second display, which is perfect for those multi-tasker types. The card also has its own dedicated fan to keep the GPU cool.
The BizView BV300 is high quality product targeting a potentially huge market. This market is full of graphics offerings ranging from the low end on board graphics market provided by the likes of Intel Corp., to 2D market leader Matrox Corp. The features of the card are pretty common for a card in this price range, including the widescreen support, which is a must especially for those who are watching TV shows on their PC screens. Image quality is quite good and the driver is easy enough to work with.
The question for Diamond Multimedia, and all other companies in the graphics card space, is how they will react to the proposed acquisition of ATI by AMD once everything is finalized. Will the BV300 be compatible with future Intel based solutions? It is highly unlikely that Intel would want to see ATI-based graphics chipsets in any of its partner computers. The card is worthy of consideration, but the questions remain. How long will ATI-based graphics cards work with Intel based computers? Diamond Multimedia's entire line of graphics cards, from the BZ series, to the Stealth and Viper line, are built with ATI graphics chips. Intel Corp. holds the lions share of the CPU market, and will undoubtedly work diligently within the law to ensure that ATI solutions, be it graphics cards or motherboard chipsets, stay outside Intel's sphere of influence. Does Diamond potentially want a smaller share of the graphics card upgrade market if Intel is successful in thwarting ATI inside? For more information, visit www.diamondmm.com