Albatron's GeForce4 Ti4800SE

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Albatron's GeForce4 Ti4800SE
Powerful Graphics on a Budget

By - Jeff Bouton
March 26, 2003


 

The Albatron GeForce4 Ti4800SE Up Close & Personal
The Basic Package

The Ti4800SE is powered by an nVidia GeForce4 GPU with AGP8X support and 128MB of DDR RAM.  The Ti4800's core clock speed is 25MHz slower than the Ti4600, running at 275MHz.  Complimenting the GPU is 128MB of 3.3 nanosecond DDR memory clocked at 550MHz compared to the Ti4600's which can range from 650-700MHz depending on the model.  Take one look at the card though, and it becomes clear that this card was designed with overclocking in mind.  As you'll see later, we were easily able to overclock this card into true Ti4600 territory...

        

The GPU is fitted with an excellent copper based cooling package backed with a relatively quiet fan.  Releasing the two retention pins allowed the removal of the cooler assembly, revealing an even layer of thermal paste to insure optimal heat transfer from the chip to the cooler.  One way to gauge a manufacturer's standards is to see what type of thermal interface material is used between the GPU and cooler.  All too often, cheap, inefficient thermal pads are used that diminish a heatsink's ability to properly cool a GPU.  We were glad to see Albatron take the "extra step" and properly apply thermal paste to the GPU on their Ti4800SE.

    

Aluminum heat sinks were fitted to the RAM chips on both sides of the card to help insure that the RAM is kept cool under load.  The sinks were applied firmly with some form of thermal adhesive that held the sinks securely in place.  One thing to watch out for if you purchase a card like this, is that trying to remove the sinks can damage the card irreversibly.  The BGA packaged memory could actually come off if too much pressure is applied in an attempt to remove the heatsinks.  The best thing to do in our opinion it to leave well enough alone, Albatron has done a fine job at tackling the heat issue and it is doubtful any modifications short of water-cooling would make much of a difference.

What is clear is that while this card is sold as an economic alternative to the Ti4600 model card, the Ti4800SE is certainly prepared to be pushed just as hard.  This is a card that is designed with the overclocker in mind and if all goes as planned, this should prove to be a fruitful experience for all.

Let's give it a try...
 

Overclocking
We Want More!

Before we get started with the benchmarks, we like to get a feel for how fast a card will overclock.  With the card outfitted with a top quality GPU cooler and RAM sinks, we thought it would be sure to please.  In the end, the Ti4800SE overclocked "pretty well."  Using the Coolbits registry tweak included on the installation CD, we reached a maximum core speed of 328MHz, anything higher resulted in random pauses during testing.  With the RAM, the scale of the Coolbits slider allowed us to go up to 690MHz and no higher, preventing us from truly pushing the RAM beyond its limits.  In an effort to try to get more performance out of the RAM, we did try to use the latest version of Powerstrip, but that didn't go too well.  For some reason, Powerstrip detected the GPU speed at 137MHz. rather than the default 275MHz.  We didn't trust Powerstrip this time around, so we stuck with Coolbits.   With that said, we managed to increase the clock speed of the GPU 19.27% and 25.45% on the RAM, a fair increase overall.  In the end, the card easily entered Ti4600 territory. 

Next we'll throw some benchmarks your way to see how the Albatron Ti4800SE stacked up against the tried and true Ti4600.

The HotHardware Test System & Testing Methodology
AthlonXP + nForce2=Snappy
 
COMMON HARDWARE:

Athlon XP 2100+
Asus A7N8X Deluxe (AGP 8X)

512MB Geil PC3200 (CAS 2.5)
On-Board NIC
On-Board Sound
Western Digital 7200RPM 30GB HD
Creative 52X CD-ROM
Standard Floppy Drive
Windows XP Professional SP1 (DirectX 8.1)
nForce Chipset Drivers v2.03
NVIDIA Detonators v41.09 Drivers


VIDEO CARDS TESTED:
Albatron GeForce4 Ti4800SE (128MB) 275/550
eVGA GeForce4 Ti4600 (128MB) 300/650
 
Methodology:

We have seen significant variations in benchmark scores from one site to the next.  Therefore, we feel it is necessary to explain how we configure each test system before running any benchmarks. We chose to test these video boards on the
Asus A7N8X Deluxe (AGP 8X), with an Athlon XP 2100+.  The first thing we did when configuring this system was enter the BIOS and "Load Optimized Defaults".  We then configured the Memory CAS Latency and other memory timings to be set by the SPD. The hard drive was then formatted, and Windows XP Professional w/ SP1 was installed. After the Windows installation was complete, we installed the nForce chipset drivers and then hit the Windows Update site.  We downloaded all of the available updates, with the exception of the ones related to Windows Messenger. Then we installed all of the necessary drivers for the rest of our components, disabling and removing Windows Messenger.  Auto-Updating and System Restore were also disabled, and we set up a 768MB permanent page file.  Lastly, we set Windows XP?s Visual Effects to "best performance", installed all of the benchmarking software, defragged the hard drive and ran all of the tests at the CPU's default clock speed.  For comparison, the scores of the Albatron Ti4800SE were compared to those of an eVGA Geforce4 Ti4600.

DirectX Testing...

 

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