Asus V9280S not your average Ti4200

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Asus V9280S not your average Ti4200 - Page 1

Asus V9280S Geforce 4 Ti4200
A Ti4200, or something more?

By - Robert Maloney
January 22, 2003


Marketing -
 simply defined as the process of bringing a product to market.  Tim Cohn, on www.marketingprinciples.com, describes marketing as "to find out what your customers want and then give it to them."  Sometimes it can make or break a product.  A manufacturer can produce all of the hardware they want based on the latest technologies, but to get the sale they must find a way to differentiate their product from the rest of the pack. There are just too many companies that, for better or worse, are providing the same item.  So, what can a company do to satisfy the customer's wants and desires, and make their product stand head and shoulders above the rest?

Asus finds itself in just that position.  Since Asus already has a GF4 Ti4200 card on the market, the V8420, what would provide reason enough to enter another Geforce 4 Ti 4200 based card into the already competitive market?  Well, it should come as no real surprise that ATI has taken the lead in the graphics card race, with their high performance Radeon 9700 and 9500 video cards.  Although it has been some time since NVIDIA has released their last "new" product, they have worked on upgrading the Geforce 4 line with the "NV28" GPU.  The NV28 is essentially the Ti4200 that we have all come to know and love, but with the added benefit of supporting the AGP8x bus.

Asus enters the fray with their own card based on the NV28, the V9280S, and it is marketed well.  The box is somewhat larger than the competitor's and adorned with eye-catching graphics.  In large type, the words "SUPER FAST" are very hard to miss. And who wouldn't be looking for a super fast video card, right?  Continuing on, we read that this card is "20% faster than Generic Ti4200".  "20% faster" is one hell of an increase, I'd say.  Taking a closer look at the specs, we find that this is attributable to a 10% increase in the GPU clock (250 to 275MHz) and a 20% increase in the memory clock (500MHz to 600MHz).  Now, I am all for finding a way to increase the productivity of hardware (that's why we always cover how an item overclocks), but call me crazy, the last time I saw a card that was rated as 275/550+ it was called a Geforce 4 Ti 4400.  Anyway, back to the box, 8X, as in AGP8x, is also printed in large silver letters alerting the prospective customer that they should benefit from the larger bandwidth that AGP 3.0 provides.  This, as we shall see, is highly debatable.  Rounding out the features, the upper right corner displays the plethora of free software that comes in the box.

Like we said, marketing can make or break a sale.  Asus is working it hard on this one.  Let's get a closer look at the card...

Specifications and Features of the Asus V9280S SuperFast Geforce 4 Ti 4200-8x
Is it a GeForcet...Is it a Ti4200...It's SuperFast!

   

FEATURE OVERVIEW:
  • Powered by nVidia's GeForce 4 Ti 4200-8x
  • AGP 8x support with bandwidth of 2.1GB/sec
  • High-speed 128MB Samsung BGA 3.3ns DDR memory
  • 275MHz GPU clock
  • 600MHz effective Memory clock
  • 350MHz RAMDAC
  • 8 layer PCB
  • High-quality TV output for big screen gaming or presentations
  • Video input supports realtime video capture, high quality video compression and video editing
  • Supports TV-out, Video-In, DVI, 2nd VGA
  • NVIDIA nVIEW TM Display Technology
  • Lightspeed Memory TM Architecture (LMA) II
  • Accuview TM Antialiasing.
  • Fill Rate: 4 Billion Texels/Sec.
  • Vertices per Second: 113 Million
  • Memory Bandwidth: 8GB/Sec.

nView Display Technology:

The nView hardware and software technology combination delivers maximum flexibility for multi-display options, and provides great end-user control of their desktop. nView allows end-users to select any combination of multiple displays, including digital flat panels, analog CRTs, and TVs, and to modify the display properties using an intuitive software interface.

  • Windows® Integration: Seamless integration within the familiar Windows environment
  • Setup Wizard: Enables quick and easy installation of nView multi-display
  • Transparency Effects: Quickly view hidden applications on cluttered desktops
  • Microsoft Internet Explorer® Extension: Enables more efficient web searches
  • Hot keys: Bind every nView action to a keyboard hot key
  • Advanced zoom features: Quickly enlarge portions of the screen to view information easier and to do precision editing
  • Desktop management: Create up to 32 different Windows desktop workspaces to control information flow
  • Window and application management: Gives users full control over repositioning dialog boxes and application windows
Accuview Antialiasing (AA):

The Accuview Antialiasing subsystem with advanced multisampling hardware delivers full-scene antialiased quality at high performance levels.

Lightspeed Memory Architecture (LMA) II:

LMA II boosts effective memory bandwidth by up to 300%. New technologies―including Z-occlusion culling, fast Z-clear, and auto pre-charge―effectively multiply the memory bandwidth to ensure fluid frame rates for the latest 3D and 2D games and applications.
  • A crossbar-based memory controller: Ensures that every aspect of the memory system is balanced and that all memory requests by the graphics processor are handled properly. Under complex loads, LMA II?s memory crossbar architecture delivers 2-4 times the memory bandwidth of other standard architectures.
  • A Quad Cache memory caching subsystem: High-speed access buffers that store small amounts of data and operate at tremendously high bandwidth, ensuring that data is queued and ready to be written to the memory. These caches are individually optimized for the specific information they deal with, resulting in almost instantaneous retrieval of key data.
  • Lossless Z-buffer compression: Reduces Z-buffer traffic?one of the largest consumers of memory bandwidth in a graphics subsystem?by a factor of four, without any reduction in image quality or precision.
  • A visibility subsystem: Determines whether or a not a pixel will be visible in a scene. If it determines a pixel will not be visible, the pixel is not rendered, saving valuable frame buffer bandwidth.
  • Fast Z-clear technology: Minimizes the time it takes to clear the old data in the Z-buffer, boosting frame rates up to 10% without compromising image quality.
  • Auto pre-charge: Warns the memory device of areas of the memory likely to be used in the very near future, allowing the GPU to spend less time waiting for memory and more time rendering pixels.

API SUPPORT

  • DirectDraw
  • Direct3D
  • DirectVideo
  • DirectX 8.1
  • Open GL ICD for Windows 95/98/2000/XP/NT

OS SUPPORT

  • Windows 95/98/ME/2000/XP/NT
 
Increasing Graphics Bandwidth with AGP 3.0
A brief lecture on AGP technology

  

Originally introduced in 1996 as AGP 1.0, the Accelerated Graphics Port was created as a high speed interface bus between the graphics card, the motherboard's Northbridge chipset and ultimately system memory, to provide a greater data bandwidth.  Previously, video cards were using the PCI bus, but this became problematic as video cards became faster and more powerful, and applications demanded more bandwidth than the PCI bus could provide.  This problem was exacerbated, since other devices in the system were also vying for arbitration and bandwidth on the PCI bus.  With AGP, the video card had a direct connection to the Northbridge and RAM, and did not have to compete with any other devices.  Another major advantage to this system was that the video card could utilize the system RAM for texture storage, as most cards had little memory installed on them due to the high cost of video memory at the time.  While initially there were a few problems, and the benefits weren't all that large, eventually this became the de facto standard on almost all new motherboards and PCs.  As the hardware matured, a lot of the kinks were ironed out, and games as well as graphics software were programmed to take advantage of this additional bandwidth.

As with all technologies, improvements come in due time, and in 1998, AGP 2.0 came to the market.  Where AGP 1.0 offered bandwidth in the range of 264 MB/sec in 1X mode and 528 MB/sec in 2X mode, AGP 2.0 doubled this with its 4X Mode, bringing the new maximum bandwidth to 1056 MB/sec.  It also added the ability to use Fast Writes and lowered the voltage from 3.3V to 1.5V.  Suffice it to say that AGP 2.0 has worked admirably over the last few years, and until now there hasn't been any real push to update this technology.

As it was with the original push for AGP 1.0, there are forces today that are starting to stress the AGP4x bus, which lead to the creation of AGP 3.0, otherwise called AGP 8x.  According to Intel, "AGP 8x technology is intended to be the last parallel interface step that meets the industry's requirements before transitioning to a PCI Express-based Serial Graphics solution in 2004."  So, as hard drives are starting to move away from Parallel ATA connection to Serial ATA, so to will AGP give way to a serial bus.  What AGP 8x provides in the way of performance, is a doubling in bandwidth once again, now running effectively at 533MHz, allowing a 2.1GB/sec transfer rate.  In addition to adding some new features, it includes the AGP 2.0 specs with the removal of some features that weren't being used to streamline its operation, making it a leaner, meaner fighting machine.

Since the technology is still new, there may be some optimizations to be made however.  So, let's see how Asus' AGP8x card fares compared to previous Geforce 4 cards still using the AGP 4x bus.

A more in depth look at the Asus V9280S 

Tags:  Asus, AV, rage, AG, 80s

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