Palit N78S

4th Feb 2008 | 15:06

Palit N78S

Full of features, but just a little flaky

TechRadar rating:

4 stars

Shows plenty of promise, but dodgy drivers mean it’s not quite ready for your affections just yet.

Like:

Great HTPC feature set; Very low power consumption; Promising for HD

Dislike:

Many features not yet enabled

The Palit N78S can't even handle a moderately demanding title like Call of Duty4 at 800x600 with no anti-aliasing or anisotropic filtering. And that's with the texture detail crushed into a blurry mush.

So much for the sparkly newness of the 8200m's DX10 feature set. It's of interest only on paper.

Mediocre performance

Unfortunately, the mediocre graphics performance extends beyond games. The current drivers won't allow the full Aero 3D interface in Windows Vista beyond a resolution of 1,680x1,050, regardless of the amount of system memory partitioned for the GPU.

That's hardly ideal for a board that includes the handy feature of an on-board DVI port and that otherwise looks like a good basis for a low-profile Home Theatre PC.

Hybrid SLI

Another of the N78S's feature is the Hybrid SLI. Intriguingly, it promises to combine the minimal power and noise profile of integrated graphics with the pixel-pushing grunt of a discrete video card.

The basic idea is that it enables the user to choose between the on-board GPU and an add-in graphics card from within Windows without the need to reboot.

It also enables the integrated GPU to boost the performance of a low-end add-in card courtesy of SLI multi-GPU rendering.

Blu-ray support

Hybrid SLI, however, is not an original feature. It was AMD that first mooted this type of technology in the form of Hybrid Crossfire. Making matters worse, early drivers once again prove this board's undoing. Hybrid mode is not yet enabled.

We therefore reserve final judgement, other than to note that we have been privy to a fully successful demonstration under NVIDIA-controlled conditions. No doubt future drivers will deliver on most of the promises.

The Palit N78S also has support for hardware decode of Blu-ray content provided by the 8800m's PureVideo 2D engine. But guess what? That's another feature that's not yet exposed in software.

Before you get hitched to the N78S, you're best off giving it time to grow up.

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