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Chaintech AGT61 GeForce 4 Ti 4600
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Date: May 03, 2002
Section:Graphics/Sound
Author: HH Editor
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The Chaintech AGT61 GeForce 4 Ti 4600 - Page 1

The Chaintech A-GT61 GeForce 4 Ti 4600
Flashy Packaging with Substance!

By - Robert Maloney
May 2, 2002

There is an old saying that goes something like, "bigger is better".  This definitely seems to apply when talking about video cards. The GeForce 4 is the fourth generation in NVIDIA's GeForce line, and each new installment seems just that much bigger and better, than those that came before it. Today we are going to look at Chaintech's A-GT61.  This is Chaintech's "Special Edition" model using GeForce 4 Titanium 4600 technology, currently the flagship of their line of video cards. We feel this card is a beauty to behold, with its dark PCB board and golden heatsinks on front and back cooling the NV25 chip and ample 128MB of 650Mhz DDR RAM. The card itself is larger than most video cards, with a large number of capacitors at one end.  It's size somewhat reminds me of the original AWE32 from Creative Labs.  Although they have been delivering quality motherboards for sometime, Chaintech, hailing from Taiwan, is a lesser known player in the video card market. While their website is somewhat Spartan, their product line is not, ranging from the new GeForce 4 models all the way back to the Riva TNT2 series, including a standard version of the TI 4600 that retails for slightly less than the A-GT61, but leaves off the memory heatsinks. Lets take a closer look at the Chaintech A-GT61 and see what it can do:

Specifications and Features of the Chaintech GeForce4 Ti 4600
The gold at the end of the rainbow?

   

Chaintech GeForce4 Ti 4600

  • 300MHz GeForce 4 Ti GPU
  • 15-pin VGA, S-Video In/Out, DVI-I
  • 256-bit Graphics Architecture
  • AGP Interface ? 4x/2x support

NVIDIA nfiniteFX II Engine:

  • Dual programmable Vertex Shaders, faster Pixel Shaders

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 and stunning visual quality at high frame rates.

Output Jacks:

  • Standard 15-pin VGA
  • S-video jack
  • DVI-I port

Cooling solution:

  • on-board active heat-sink cooling fan
  • Memory heatsinks on front and back

Specifications:

  • Controller: NVIDIA GeForce4 Ti 4600
  • Memory 128MB DDR SDRAM
  • Core Clock 300MHz
  • Memory Clock 650MHz
  • 350MHz internal RAMDAC
  • API Support Direct-X, Open GL ICD for Windows
  • Connectors VGA, DVI, S-Video In/Out
  • 4.8 Billion Texels/sec Fill Rate
  • 136 Million Vertices/sec
  • 10.4 GB/sec memory bandwidth

Features at a Glance:

  • AGP 4x 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 Out connector
  • DVI connector

Package Contains:

  • Chaintech GeForce4 Ti 4600 Graphics Card
  • Installation Manual
  • Installation CD with NVIDIA Drivers, WinDVD, 3deep, and TurboGFX
  • S-video out cable, S-video in/out cable, and DVI-I/VGA adapter.
  • Bundled games: Aquanox and MDK2
     

 

In the box we found a standard S-Video cable, an in/out S-Video dongle, a DVI-I/VGA adapter and the installation manual.  Also present was a CD that included NVIDIA reference drivers, DirectX 8.1, a full version of Intervideo?s WinDVD, 3deep, TurboGFX and finally two games, Aquanox and MDK2.  Finding full versions of two games is always a nice bonus. Just for the record, WinDVD is a software DVD player that ranks up there with PowerDVD, 3deep is a monitor calibration utility that attempts to correct 3D lighting effects, and TurboGFX is Chaintech?s overclocking utility which worked well, but we did not use, favoring Coolbits instead.

 Setup and Screen Shots 

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The Chaintech AGT61 GeForce 4 Ti 4600 - Page 2

The Chaintech A-GT61 GeForce 4 Ti 4600
Flashy Packaging with Substance!

By - Robert Maloney
May 2, 2002

We aren't going to bother covering the drivers for this card.  You've seen them several times here in previous articles.

Setup and Installation of the Chaintech GeForce4 Ti4600
Is that your video card, or are you just happy to see me

As these pictures can attest, this is simply a great looking card. At first, I wasn't sure if I should install it into my test rig, or put it on a large rope chain and wear it around my neck a la Mr. T!  It sports a standard 15-pin VGA connector as well as an S-Video port for connection to a TV, and a DVI-I port, all on a golden colored bracket. The 128MB of DDR memory consists of 8 Samsung 2.8ns memory modules populating both sides of the PCB. If you do the math 2.8ns modules should be able to run at about 714 MHz, but we will save the overclocking portion of this review until later. The chips are cooled with polished heatsinks that have the Chaintech and GeForce 4 logos embossed on the front two. Also, the front two memory heatsinks are of the raised fin-type variety, while the two on the back are just plates, but everything helps when using such high-speed memory. Checking their website, I noticed that the A-GT60, the "standard" model of the GF4 TI 4600 Chaintech offers, does not have memory heatsinks at all.

As I mentioned earlier, the card is longer than what I was accustomed to seeing. This really didn't cause any problems though, as this length is expected with all of the GeForce 4 TI 4600 cards, and it fit properly into our test rig.  After we got the card in and started up Windows XP, we installed NVIDIA's Reference Drivers Version 28.32 to get it fired up and ready to rock.  These are the latest official drivers released by NVIDIA.  I won't bore you with the particulars save to say we left all settings at their defaults except when changing the Anti-Aliasing and Anisotropic Filtering settings.

 
Screenshots
An quick appetizer before the main meal

I thought it would be cool to give you all a little eye-candy before getting to the tests. Below are two shots, one from a graphically marvelous game called Dungeon Siege, and the other from the equally gorgeous Jedi Knight II : Outcast.

In the former, check out the level of detail in the characters, as well as the broken down cart and especially the surrounding foliage. In the latter, the lighting effects (especially the laser-cast glow on Jan Ors on the right) steal the show.  Also check out the mountains in the background. No blurriness or jagged landscapes here. Both of these shots were taken at 1024x768, with 4x AA and 2x Anisotropic Filtering enabled, with all in-game graphical settings set to their maximum. The great thing is, neither game suffered in the framerate department when using these settings.

Test Setup, Quake 3 With and Without AA and Anisotropic Filtering

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The Chaintech AGT61 GeForce 4 Ti 4600 - Page 3

The Chaintech A-GT61 GeForce 4 Ti 4600
Flashy Packaging with Substance!

By - Robert Maloney
May 2, 2002

 

Next up, a round with Sam in Serious Sam: The Second Encounter. This is quickly becoming a new favorite of testers and benchmarkers, as it uses Croteam?s latest graphics engine. We ran the game using OpenGL mode, and set all settings to the highest quality.

Serious Sam: The Second Encounter
Move over Duke Nukem, the new Alien-bashing king has arrived


We used the ?Little Trouble? scene from the demo version to get our scores.  As you can see, the Chaintech GF4 outperformed the other two cards at every resolution, even when enabling the 2x and 4x Anti-Aliasing.  4x AA isn?t actually supported on the Radeon and GF3 cards at 1600x1200, which explains the lack of bars in that graph, but even if they did, my money would still be on the GF4!

Novalogic's Comanche 4 Benchmark
Direct 3D Testing on a leading edge Flight Sim

A newcomer to the testing scene is the Comanche 4 demo. Adding in the ?/bench? parameter to the command line allows you to choose the appropriate settings, and then kick back and watch some real action.

I have yet to grow tired of watching this demo, it?s just that fun. Just watch the explosion effects and you will see what I mean. At any rate, The GF4 keeps its winning streak alive, and just simply pulls away from the other two cards at 1600x1200. At this resolution the GF3 and the Radeon could not keep up the pace, and were a full 10 frames behind the GF4. 

3DMark 2001SE and Max Payne

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The Chaintech AGT61 GeForce 4 Ti 4600 - Page 4

The Chaintech A-GT61 GeForce 4 Ti 4600
Flashy Packaging with Substance!

By - Robert Maloney
May 2, 2002

Max Payne Benchmarks
Cop with an Attitude!
Being the consummate gamer, I figured I would also give Max Payne a shot, using the benchmarking medications found on www.3dcenter.de. I ran the VGA demo, which uses the end-scene from the game to show the average framerate at the top of the screen. Right at the end of the scene, we recorded the last average before the screen blacked out.

The differences weren?t as major as we had seen with the other tests, especially between the two GeForces. The Radeon really dropped off, however, at the higher resolutions.

MadOnion 3D Mark 2001 SE
Synthetic DirectX 8 Goodness

Finally, lets get to MadOnion?s 3DMark2001 SE. 3DMark uses some advanced pixel and vertex shaders, and it really makes your video card do a song and dance before it will tell you if you made the band.

Once again, the GF4 beats out the competition across the board. Interestingly, the tests could not be run at higher resolutions with 2x and 4x AA on the GF3 and Radeon cards, stating that there was an error initializing the device.

 Overclocking and The Rating

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The Chaintech AGT61 GeForce 4 Ti 4600 - Page 5

The Chaintech A-GT61 GeForce 4 Ti 4600
Flashy Packaging with Substance!

By - Robert Maloney
May 2, 2002

Overclocking The Chaintech GeForce4 Ti 4600
Where you really stretch those dollars

Overclocking the GF4 using Coolbits, we found the sweet spot to be a Core speed of 320 MHz, and a memory speed of 725MHz, which is in line with the 714MHz we figured the 2.8ns RAM would do earlier. At these speeds, we were able to break the 10,000 barrier at 1024x768 in 3DMark 2001. While the performance increase was barely negligible at lower resolutions, the percentage increased as we went to higher resolutions, topping out at a 5% increase when running Quake 3 at 1600x1200. With some extra cooling, we suspect we may have been able to go a bit higher, but we?ll still take the 5%.

As I sat back and looked at the pros and cons of this card, I realized that I really couldn?t find anything negative to say.  First of all, the A-GT61 is powered by the NVIDIA GeForce 4 Titanium 4600, which is not only the most powerful GPU out there equipped with new technologies such as nfiniteFX II, nView and the Accuview AA engine, but the most feature rich.  Couple that with 128MB of blazing-fast DDR memory and you have a card that means business.  Chaintech went a step further, and included a visually appealing setup with a black PCB board and not only golden heatsinks and fan, but a gold bracket as well.  They provided standard VGA out and TV-out capabilities, and also added a DVI connection for digital output to a flat panel.  To utilize these ports, they include the cables and/or adapters to use with them as well.  Also included is the excellent WinDVD and two full games, Aquanox and MDK2.  We were able to get some sweet overclocking done without any extra cooling, and suspect we could have gone even higher with some more concerted effort.  The Chaintech GeForce 4 TI 4600 dominated the charts, except during the Anisotropic filtering tests with Quake 3D, and I'm sure NVIDIA is looking into this "issue" anyway.  Using Pricewatch (http://www.pricewatch.com) as my guide, I found that the Special Edition model of the Chaintech GF4 was only selling for about $10-15 more than the standard edition, at $319 US.  I really can?t justify why anyone wouldn?t cough up the extra money considering the considerable difference in looks, cooling capabilities, and included software.  All in all, we were pleased with the Chaintech A-GT61 and give it a 9 on the Hot Hardware Heat Meter...

 

 Come get some in the Hot Hardware PC Hardware Forum, now!

 

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The Chaintech AGT61 GeForce 4 Ti 4600 - Page 6
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