Retro Hardware – GeForce 2 MX

The GeForce 2 MX GPU was a big upgrade milestone for me back in the early 2000s.

I had previously run a 3dfx Voodoo 2 PCI graphics card. Soon though, it was no longer able to cope with the games I was throwing at it. With that, I saved up enough money to shell out for a GeForce 2 MX card.

The MX model was a low end card in the product’s family line, launched later on and surpassed by it’s predecessors the Geforce 2 GTS, Ultra, and Ti. The GeForce 2 generation of GPUs were based on the nvidia NV15 chip (a 180nm process).

The MX variant had two 3D pixel pipelines removed and lower memory bandwidth in order to cut costs. This meant that it was just barely affordable to me as a teenager at the time. To afford the price of my hardware upgrades in my teens I had started trading in used PC hardware, scavenging where I could to build complete systems which I then sold in the local newspaper’s classified ads. The money at the time went into purchasing a brand new GeForce 2 MX AGP graphics card for my personal system.

I still remember quite vividly getting home, installing the card, and firing up a beta version of Counter-Strike. After entering the show fps console command net_graph, my jaw just about hit the floor when I saw the fps counter stuck at 99 fps.

Upgrading the Retro System with a GeForce 2 MX

Fast forward to today and I still find myself craving the nostalgia of those years. What better way to experience it than to run the games on original hardware I used back then?

My Retro Gaming PC had a 3dfx Voodoo 2 PCI graphics card paired up with a fairly anaemic S3 Trio 3D/2X AGP card for 2D capability.

So, out with old, and in with the new:

GeForce 2 MX AGP graphics card
The ‘new’ GeForce 2 MX AGP card ready to be installed

It’s interesting to note how these cards were passively cooled, especially in the case of lower end versions such as the MX. Nowadays the best GPUs are dual or triple slot monsters. They have massive heatsink and fan assemblies (or are water cooled).

The upgrade paid off for retro gaming performance. For the price of £10 on eBay I can now play games like Soldier of Fortune at 1024×768 resolution. Additionally, I can play with all settings bumped up to high. The previous Voodoo 2 card was showing it’s age in these newer games and was not very good at gaming higher than 640×480 or 800×600 at a stretch.

soldier of fortune game

This system is still running Windows 98 SE, and I plan to keep it that way if possible, locking in that ‘era’ of gaming and PC hardware memories. I was lucky to find the nvidia drivers required for this graphics card specifically for Windows 98. If anyone is interested for the latest drivers compatible with Windows 98, you should look for the Forceware 80 version.