Hardware

Diamond BV300 (First Look Review)

22 Feb, 2007 By: Ron LaFon

PCIe graphics card is a low-priced option for 2D design and dual-monitor use.


Diamond BV300 Graphics Card
Pros: Moderately priced, PCIe, supports two digital LCD monitors simultaneously, 256MB of onboard RAM.
Cons: Not suitable for high-end graphics applications.
Price: $149.99

Diamond Multimedia
818.534.1414
www.diamondmm.com

For the past 20 years, Diamond Multimedia has been making graphics, digital television, communications and sound-hardware products for home and business users. The company's line of BizView Multi-View graphics cards are designed with business users in mind. I examined the Diamond BV300 graphics card, a compact PCI Express (PCIe) graphics card that offers 256MB of GDDR2 onboard memory.

Priced at an economical $149.99, the Diamond BV300 is a low-profile and compact graphics card, measuring 2.3" x 6.6" and fitting both standard-height and low-profile system configurations. The BV300 offers two 400MHz RAMDACs and a core clock speed of 450MHz. It is a PCIe graphics card that requires a 16x PCIe slot.

figure
The Diamond Multimedia BizView BV300 is a low-priced PCIe graphics card with 256MB of GDDR2 onboard memory.

The Diamond BV300 has connectors for both standard D-sub VGA connectors and S-video. The dual digital LCD support is provided by an included cable that fits the standard DMS-59 display connector and splits to two DVI-I connections. Although the graphics card isn't up to the rigors of more demanding graphics applications, the BV300's great value lies in the productivity gains it offers by providing support for a second monitor. The BV300 will handle 2D workstation graphics with aplomb, however, easily driving 2D design applications and graphics programs (such as the Adobe suites). The BV300 also provides support for HDTV and can output DVI and VGA signals simultaneously.

The BizView line of graphics cards features extensive OS support and unified drivers that are WHQL certified. The drivers support Microsoft DirectX 9.0, Shader Model 3.0 and OpenGL 2.0.

For those who need dual-display capabilities and have only a standard PCI slot available, the Diamond BV200 graphics card is appropriate. The BV200 also offers two 400MHz RAMDACs, but it has a slower core clock speed of 240MHz. Priced at $129.99, the Diamond BV200 offers the same OS support as the BV300, the same unified and WHQL-certified drivers and the same connectivity options. The BV200 is a PCI graphics solution, so users can operate more monitors, depending on the availability of free PCI slots. The advantage is that the high-end graphics card can drive hard-core 3D applications, and the BV200 can drive as many as eight monitors.

The Diamond BV300 graphics card ships with an instruction manual, a DMS-59 dongle that splits to two DVI-I connectors and two CDs—one with the drivers and documentation and the other with Windows updates, Diamond Tools and a variety of bonus software. A DVI-to-VGA adapter, a low-profile bracket and an S-video cable are also included in the bundle.

Minimum system requirements for the Diamond BV300 are a PC with a 16x PCIe-compliant slot, an Intel Pentium 4 or AMD Athlon 64 FX or higher processor and 512MB of system memory. The system also will need to have a 420W or higher power supply, 90MB of hard disk space and a CD-ROM or DVD-ROM drive for software and driver installation. Operating support includes Windows XP, XP MCE, Windows 2000, Windows Vista and some variants of Linux.

As an affordable graphics card solution that handles two monitors, the Diamond Multimedia BizView BV300 is well worth investigating, as is the BizView BV200 for those who need a less powerful graphics card to operate from a standard PCI bus.


About the Author: Ron LaFon


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