Before we got
around to installing each of these cards into our test
system, we gave them all a thorough physical inspection and
evaluated their bundled software and accessories. As
you'll see later, because all of these products performed
similarly, distinguishing them from one another turned out
to be rather difficult.
Siluro GF4 MX 440
The first card
we'll be looking at is Abit's Siluro GeForce 4 MX 440.
Abit has long been a favorite amongst enthusiasts with their
innovative motherboards, but it's only been in the last year
or so that their video cards have made a splash onto the
scene. Besides the cool, blue PCB, and the inclusion
of S-Video and composite video cables, as well as an S-Video
to Composite adapter (for using the TV-Out feature), there
isn't too much to comment on the Siluro MX 440. The
software bundled with the card included the obligatory
drivers, 3Deep, True Internet Color and Abit's own Siluro
DVD playback software. Unfortunately, no games were
included. The GPU cooler was similar to what Abit has
used on their line of GeForce 2 MX cards, and while not very
exciting, is more than adequate to keep the MX 440 chilly.
The Siluro GeForce 4 MX's price as of this morning on
Pricewatch.Com was $91.00, which places it right about
in the middle of the pack.
Chaintech A-G441 GF4 MX 440
Black and Gold...
GeForce 4 MX 440 was the first product from Chaintech to
arrive in the Hot Hardware Labs, and based on our initial
impression of this product, we'll be hoping to see more of
what they have to offer in the future. There were
quite a few interesting aspects to point out with the
A-G441. The most obvious being the black PCB.
Then the oversized gold cooler and gold external plate
caught our eye. As we delved deeper into the packing,
we were very pleased to find two complete games included as
well! The Chaintech A-G441 ships with the underwater
shooter, Aquanox, and the very fun (I loved this game) third
person shooter MDK 2. Also included was a
comprehensive user's manual, a driver CD, Intervideo's
WinDVD software and an S-Video
cable. The only thing we thought were "missing" from
the bundle was an S-Video to Composite adapter. At $95.00, the Chaintech A-G441
is a little more expensive than most of the other cards in
this round-up, but finding Aquanox and MDK 2 in the box make
spending those couple of extra dollars well worth it, in our
GeForce 4 MX 440
making their debut appearance on Hot Hardware today is eVGA
with their GeForce 4 MX 440. With one very obvious
exception, the oblong shaped cooler, the eVGA GeForce 4 MX
440 is rather non-descript. The PCB is the
common green, we've all grown so fond of over the years. :)
Included with the card was a user's manual, S-Video Cable, a
driver CD and a copy of PowerDVD 4 XP. Another
interesting find was a coupon to save a few dollars on
Novalogic's Comanche 4 combat helicopter sim.
Let's go back and explore the GPU cooler for a bit.
eVGA's custom design is very efficient. Underneath the
shroud, directly over the GPU is a long, finned heatsink.
The fan sucks air into the shroud and directs it across the
fins, and out the opposite end of the cooler. With
this type of design, there is no "dead spot" in the center
of the cooler, like there is under the fan on a conventional
design. Also, instead of a flat, heat plate directly
over the GPU there is a finned heatsink, which is far more
desirable. This type of practical thinking and design
bodes well with us. If this kind of thought is put
into the other products in their lineup, with a little
support, we expect eVGA to do very well. At $89.00,
the eVGA board was one of the lest expensive boards in the
Gainward GF4 MX Pro 600 TV Golden Sample
Shaq in the Box...
We have had very
good experiences with Gainward's "Golden Samples" in the
past, so we had high expectations when their GeForce4
PowerPack! Pro/600TV Golden Sample arrived. The card
itself is of very high quality. The bright, red PCB
stood out among the other products, and we were satisfied
with it's "orb" type cooler. It had heavy fins, and
happened to have a nice even layer of thermal paste spread
between it and the GPU. If you're the type who likes
to mod your video card, the extra 3-Pin fan header found at
the front of the card would be of some use. We thought
the bundle was a little thin though. Included with the
GeForce4 PowerPack! Pro/600TV Golden Sample was a user's
manual, an S-Video to Composite adapter, a driver CD and a
copy of WinDVD, but that's it. Finding a game or two
and video cables would have left us feeling mroe satisfied,
but unfortunately this was not the case.
GeForce4 PowerPack ! Pro/600TV Golden Sample does have one
other distinguishing "feature". Using the included
ExperTool to put the card in "Enhanced Mode", effectively
overclocks the card from it's stock 270MHz.core, to 290MHz.
Gainward guarantees their cards to work properly at the
faster clockspeed, and coming it at $85.00 makes this card
the second least expensive in the round-up.
Cards and the Test Rig...