Asus V9280S not your average Ti4200

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Asus V9280S not your average Ti4200 - Page 2

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

By - Robert Maloney
January 22, 2003

A look at the Asus V9280S GeForce 4 Ti4200-8x
A great looking card with a bundle to match

Without a doubt, Asus has provided a great looking card in the Asus V9280S.  The card comes on an 8-layer PCB, which is colored a dark black and it contrasts nicely with the golden sheen of the heat sinks.  The heat sink over the GPU is made of copper, but the cover over the fan as well as the heatsinks on the RAM, are actually painted aluminum.  Either way, the card definitely has a "quality" look to it that helps distinguish it even further from other brands.  As you can see on the bracket, there is a standard VGA port as well as a DVI connection.  The DIN connection in the middle is actually not used for S-Video connection as one would normally expect, but is the input for the breakout box, provided in the package. 

   

Although I had seen earlier reports using faster memory, the card I received had 128MB of 3.3ns Samsung BGA DDR RAM, instead of the TSOP kind found on the more generic Ti4200 models.    Checking Samsung's website, the maximum frequency of this RAM was listed at 300MHz, which gives us the effective speed of 600MHz mentioned on the package, but we should still be able to get some extra headroom when overclocking.  The RAM was cooled using the fin-type heat sinks on the front of the card. Retention springs on the heat sink and fan over the core, held another plate onto the back of the card, which we could only assume was meant to cool the memory chips on the backside as well.  Closer examination of the plate did show four indentations that matched up with the four memory chips on the card.  Although it was hard to capture in the last picture, the plate actually didn't make connection with any of the memory chips.  Only the two thermal pads on the plate made contact with the card directly behind the GPU.  While we were somewhat perplexed by the apparent lack of quality control here, it should be mentioned that cooling the memory chips is not a major issue, even when overclocking.

   


The Bundle:

The bundle was a Gamer's dream.  One usually can expect to find a demo CD and, if they are lucky, a full game or two.  Asus has taken this and gone a few steps further.  Included in the box are no less than three complete games - Morrowind, to appeal to the RPG crowd, Rogue Spear - Black Thorn, for the war simulation gamers, and Worms Blaster for some action strategy.  We also found two DEMO CDs, one for Battle Realms and the other for IL2-Sturmovik, a game that has received accolades from just about all reviewers.  Gamers should be sated by this, but on the other side of the coin, Asus has provided some utilities as well.  These included CDs for Asus' DVD Player, Cyberlink's PowerDirector 2.1 ME and Media@Show SE 2.0, that can be used for making movies and slides, respectively, and a VR Aquarium CD.  Of course, there is also a driver/utility CD, but it comes stocked with some interesting pieces of software as well, like Asus Video Security and Asus VR Viewer, amongst others

     

The aforementioned breakout box is another nice addition.  It allows you to move the connections for S-Video in, composite in, S-Video out, and composite out away from the back of the PC to a more accessible location.  The cable is long enough that the box could be mounted on the top of the desk.  Finally, a DVI to VGA converter is included for dual monitor support.  The only thing lacking here are cables to be used with the breakout box.

Some Eye Candy
Examples of Visual Quality

Now we get to my favorite section - the Game Showcase!  We have all been playing EA Sports' Madden football series for years now, but this years edition is as close to watching football on TV as you can get.  Sure, the gameplay needs a little more tweaking, but with graphics this gorgeous, who can complain?  In these shots, I turned the table on the Titans and led my Pittsburgh Steelers to a 28-7 victory.  That's The Bus on the right in 1600x1200 glory.  The graphics are so fine, you can actually see the mesh holes in his jersey.   The next game up was Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, also from Electronic Arts.  I put these up for all of you Harry Potter fans (you know who you are).  It may be a kids game at heart, but the graphics really do shine, although the highest resolution you can set it at is 1024x768.  We played both of them with 32-Tap anisotropic filtering and 4X FSAA enabled.

EA Sports Madden 2003

    

EA Games Harry Potter and
the Chamber of Secrets

    

Setup and Overclocking of the Asus V9280S
Our first foray into AGP8x graphics

With an AGP8x card, we obviously needed to find a motherboard with AGP8x support.  The first one that came to mind was the Soyo SY-KT400 Dragon Ultra, that we reviewed a few months back.  Installation was straightforward; pop in the card, screw it down, and turn on the machine again.  Quickly checking the BIOS, we noticed that where we would change the AGP mode from 4x to 2x or 1x, this setting was now absent and we were running in 8X mode.  Windows detected the card and I used nVidia's reference drivers, version 41.03.  The drivers actually list AGP8x while they are installing.

After completing our original benchmarks, we went back and used Coolbits to raise both the core clock and memory clock speeds to see how far we could push the card.  Remember, this card is already running above normal Ti 4200 specs in both categories at 275/600.  After some trial and error we arrived 306MHz for the GPU and 667MHz for the memory.  Not the best overclock, but still enough to put it into the same league as a GF4 Ti4600.

We also found that we needed to overclock another of our cards, in this case the Asus V8420 that we had reviewed not long ago.  We weren't looking to break the bank with the overclock.  Instead, we wanted to match the clock speeds with that of the V9280S.  In this manner, we had essentially the same card, only using AGP4x bandwidth.  Head to head, we expected that the overclocked V8420 and the V9280S would produce the same results.  Well, let's turn the page and find out if that held true.

The Test Rig and Some DirectX Testing...

 
Tags:  Asus, AV, rage, AG, 80s

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