Elsa Erazor III - Swiss Pocket Knife for Video
by Tim "Flyboy" Henderson
ELSA is a German based video board producer that has been producing and marketing equipment for computer graphics and data communications markets for fifteen years.
On June 15, 1998, ELSA AG began trading publicly on the German stock exchange. They are currently ranked fifth in the world for supplying computer graphics solutions, but their goal is to be numbered among the top three. With a market share of 23% worldwide, they are the leading supplier of graphics boards to the professional Windows NT workstation market.
Erazor III and 3D Revelator
About a year ago I tried my first stereoscopic glasses in Battlezone. They were interesting, but when Metabyte sold the store I wondered if we would see them again. Now Elsa is making the shutter-based glasses, called the 3D Revelators. I tested them with Falcon 4 and MiG Alley, as well as experimenting with Flanker 2 and WW2 Fighters.
The Erazor III is a TNT2 based board, lacking the heatsink mounted fan of the TNT2 Ultra variety. But what it lacks in polish it regains in flexibility. This board will do just about anything except defrag your hard drive!
The Erazor III is not only the best documented video product I've ever installed, it's also one of the most feature rich bundles I've ever seen for under $200 US. Packaged with the MainActor Editor and Sequencer suite, and with the ability to bring video in and video out in both Europe and the US, you can really make this product dance and sing.
Install and Documentation
Simply put, the manual is clear, comprehensive and concise. It covers everything from from basic installation to performance tweaking. There is a fairly good write-up on the player/video capture software, and an entire section dedicated to 3D graphical terms and theory! Diagrams are used liberally and explanations are generally simple.
The Hardware: Drivers and Features
This TNT2 board is based on the reference design and is relatively slow. I used the Detonator 2.08 drivers, and then checked out Elsa's own driver. The speed difference was negligible. And if you want to access all the nifty features of the Erazor, you will have to use the Elsa drivers anyway.
That won't, however, prevent you from downloading and firing up PowerStrip and overclocking your board. I was able to go from the stock 125MHz up to 150MHz, pretty impressive!
The Erazor supplies two cable sets: one is a standard 15 pin VGA connector that splits into two for connecting to the LCD glasses, and the other is a 15 pin connector that plugs into the additional outlet on the board. This cable splits up into 5 connections, 3 video-in and 2 video-out plugs, a S-VHS connector for each direction and 2 composite in plus a composite output cinch connector.
Video output to VGA and video-out is independent, and video out can display DVD playback on TV thanks to licensed macrovision support. The board comes with a 6 year warranty, about the best out there.
Go to Part II: Testing
Copyright © 1997 - 2000 COMBATSIM.COM, INC. All Rights Reserved.
Last Updated October 18th, 1999