Taking your first look at Diamond's Monster of a Video Card will reveal much more than a catchy name printed on the board, you'll see what happens to be the same basic design just about all Voodoo2 Graphics Accelerators are based on. While many manufacturers have tried to step ahead, boasting one or two new features such as TV-Output, new "optimized" drivers, or even easier to configure display utilities, it is sad to say that it just doesn't get any better than this.
Diamond realized early on, as they were the second to release a Voodoo2 board (second to only Creative Labs who cranked out their Voodoo2 cards as originally stated, before anyone else), that the battle for the king of the Voodoo2 hill would be a difficult one to win. The reason behind this is that there is simply very little room for improvement. Canopus modified 3Dfx's reference design to allow for a Voodoo2 card that was a full inch shorter than the competition's boards, however for those of you not concerned with saving that extra inch of space, the Pure3D II was simply another overpriced 3D card.
Featuring either 8MB or 12MB of on-board 100MHz Memory, every last meg able to be clocked between 90 and 100MHz using Diamond's supplied utility, and for the most part stability at overclocked memory speeds is not an issue. One difference you may notice between the Monster 3D II and most competing Voodoo2 cards is the unique markings on the board's RAM. The absence of the Silicon Magic logo may lead one to believe that the Monster 3D II's price tag should be at least somewhat lower than that of the competition, however, in reality, the price difference between the Diamond, Creative Labs, and even the Canopus Voodoo2 boards are negligible. It all boils down to who your purchase the card from, and availability of the boards on hand. An unofficial survey was conducted by AnandTech among stores local to the Raleigh, NC (USA) area about the prices and availability of Voodoo2 Graphics Accelerators. For the most part the Diamond boards were readily available and sometimes were priced between $10 and $20 below that of the competition, overall the difference wasn't too incredibly great, not large enough to tilt the balance of power in favor of Diamond at least.
Diamond packaged the Monster 3D II with a fairly thick and very difficult to manage, especially if your 2D video card and Monster 3D II happen to be installed adjacent to each other. You may want to separate your Monster 3D II from your 2D card by at least one slot to make connecting the cable easier. Diamond supplies you with a 1.5" female cable that closely resembles what can be mistaken for a tiny Floppy Drive cable. This cable is what can be used to connect two Monster 3D II's together for operation in the supported Scan Line Interleave (SLI) mode for achieving a true gamer's definition of performance. When taking advantage of Dual Voodoo2's running in SLI you not only open up your options to a world of gaming in 1024 x 768 resolutions with Z-Buffering but you also increase performance considerably at 800 x 600.
Nothing too special right? Let's take a look at the only category left to amaze the market with, let's turn to the soft side of things with the Monster 3D II's Software Installation...