MSI's VT2D8X GeForce4 Ti4600 - HotHardware

MSI's VT2D8X GeForce4 Ti4600

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MSI's VT2D8X GeForce4 Ti4600
More Bandwidth, More Cooling, More Goodies!

By - Jeff Bouton
February 16, 2003


A
s we enter the latest phase in the nVidia vs. ATi battle, the focus again is on who's video card is going to be the all out fastest.  It's natural that we get caught up in the hype of who has the faster card, but the bottom line is you only need the fastest card, if gaming is your life and you have some money to burn.  What is unfortunate is that we tend to lose sight of the fact that both companies have existing products that are a better over all value.  What were yesterday's top contenders, are today's mid-range to value cards that can offer performance on the cheap.  The deciding factor all comes down to longevity.  Sure, you can pick up a Ti4600 or Radeon 8500 for half the price of their current successors, but they will become obsolete quicker than the newer cards.  On the flip-side, you can pick up the top of the line card and pay a premium and expect that card to have a longer lifespan.  The choice is ultimately yours.  The one thing that makes the slightly older cards more attractive is the evolution they've under gone.  As a new model card begins to settle into the market, manufacturers tend to rework, tweak and modify them, allowing them to sell revamped, more robust editions in the future.  Current Radeon 8500s and GeForce4s have already run this course and have evolved into mature, refined cards that prove to be quite attractive.  Such is the case with this MSI Ti4600 VT2D8X graphics card.


 

The latest rendition of MSI's Ti4600 has undergone the same evolution as we mentioned above.  Previously Ti4600s were found with stock coolers and support for AGP4X.  Today the trend has shifted toward AGP8X compatibility and customized cooling designs aimed at keeping the card cooler, and in the case of the VT2D8X, quieter.  So we are going to set aside the hype over the latest high end offerings from ATi and nVidia for a moment and take a look at the MSI Ti4600 VT2D8X video card to see if it is still worthy of your consideration.
 

Specifications and Features of the MSI GeForce4 Ti4600-VT2D8X
GeForce4 Power.

MSI GeForce4 Ti 4600-VT2D8X with T.O.P cooling:
  • 300MHz GPU
  • DV, TV In/Out
  • 256-bit Graphics Accelerator
  • 1.23 trillion operations/sec.

Nvidia nfiniteFX II Engine:

  • Dual programmable Vertex Shaders, faster Pixel Shaders and 3D textures give developers the freedom to program a virtually infinite number of custom special effects never seen before and gives you the power to play true-to-life characters in hyper-realistic environments. At twice the performance of GeForce3, Xtasy Ti 4600 delivers the most realistic game play available.

Lightspeed Memory Architecture II:

  • With 128-bit DDR Lightspeed Memory Architecture II provides nearly double the memory bandwidth of GeForce3.

Accuview Antialiasing Engine:

  • High-performance visual quality at high frame rates.

TV In and Out Jack:

  • TV In/Out connector allow you to play on any size TV in your house with an S-video connector.
Specifications:
  • Controller: NVIDIA GeForce4 Ti 4600
  • Bus Type AGP
  • Memory 128MB DDR
  • Core Clock 300MHz
  • Memory Clock 650MHz DDR memory
  • RAMDAC 350MHz
  • API Support Direct-X, Open GL ICD for Windows
  • Connectors Dual-DVI, TV In/Out
  • 1.23 trillion operations/sec.
  • 136 Million triangles/sec setup
  • 10.4GB/second memory bandwidth

Features at a Glance:

  • AGP 8x compatible with fast writes
  • 256-bit 3D and 2D graphics accelerator
  • NVIDIA nView display technologies
  • Lightspeed Memory Architecture II
  • Accuview Antialiasing
  • High Definition Video Processing Engine
  • TV In/Out connectors
  • DVI connector
  • Thermal Obviation Protection Cooling System (T.O.P.)

 

BUNDLE:

The bundle of software and hardware that accompanied the VT2D8X was one of the more comprehensive arrangements we've seen in a while.  The package comes with a slew of software and a nice array of complimentary hardware.  The system comes with a nifty MSI case badge, a DVI to VGA adapter and a TV-Out/Video-in adapter that makes four connections out of one.  I for one am not a big fan of the types of adapters that mount directly on the card.  Especially when we are talking about the DVI-to-VGA adapter.  Often we find that once a monitor cable is connected , there is a great deal of additional stress put on the card.  However, there really isn't much you can do about physics.  The same concern holds true with the TV-Out/Video-In 1-to-4 Connecting Cable which is quite rigid and adds a little stress of its own to the card.  MSI only includes one DVI-to-VGA adapter in the VT2D8X package.

Package Contents
GeForce4 Ti4600 8X
T.O.P Tech Cooler
DVI to VGA Adapter
TV-Out/Video-In 1-to-4 Connecting Cable
Users Manual
Setup CDs
Bundled Utilities/Games
Case Badge
Setup CD Contents 
MSI Live Update Series
3D! Turbo Experience
GoodMen
LockBox
WMIinfor
ThinSoft BeTwin
MSI Secure DOC
E-Color
Adobe Acrobat Reader
Trend Micro PC-Cillin 2000
Microsoft® DirectX 8.1

The VT2D8X also comes with a fair share of applications/utilities, some very useful and some not so good.  One of the products that initially caught my eye was MSI's own 3D Desktop.  Its main function is to change your 2D desktop into a 3D world.  At first this seemed like a cool application that made Windows a little more fun, but after 5 minutes, it began to lose its luster.  We found the interface a little awkward to get the hang of, which soon turned to frustration.  I think the concept is interesting to say the least, but in the end, it's not worth the time.  Another more useful package was Virtual Drive 7 Pro.  This program lets you create virtual drives on your system for a wide range of uses.  The biggest advantage to this is to create a virtual CD drive that you can copy game CD's to for improved performance. 


 

Full-Version Games 
Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon
The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind
Duke Nukem: Manhattan Project
Lite-Version
Games 

The Sum of All Fears
IL-2 Sturmovik
Serious Sam 2
Rally Trophy
Beam Breakers
Zax: The Alien Hunter
Oni
 Utilities 
MSI 3D Desktop
Virtual Drive 7 Professional Version
Restore It 3 Professional Version
MSI 5.1 Channel DVD Player
Foreign Language Learning Machine

Speaking of games, MSI adds enough games to the VT2D8X package to keep the fun going for hours.  The bundle is really too large to cover each piece of software in detail, but as you can see, there is no shortage of treats.  Three full version games are included as well as 7 "lite" versions of such greats of IL-2 Sturmovik, Serious Sam 2, and Oni. 

So there is clearly a lot of fun to be had, but a game is only as good as the video card driving the graphics.  So now let's turn the page and take a closer look at the VT2D8X...

The Card... 

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