NVIDIA GeForce 4 MX440 Roundup!

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NVIDIA GeForce 4 MX440 Roundup! - Page 6

NVIDIA GeForce 4 MX 440 Round-up
Abit, Chaintech, eVGA, Gainward, Leadtek,
 Visiontek and X-Micro Do Battle!

By - Marco Chiappetta
April 25, 2002 

Serious Sam:  The Second Encounter, is Croteam's latest first person shooter using their "Serious Engine".  This game is filled with high resolution textures and quite a few different visual effects.  It can also be set to run using either OpenGL or DirectX.  We set the game up to use OpenGL and used the included "Little Trouble" demo to test each card, with the game set to high quality.

OpenGL Benchmarks with Serious Sam: TSE
Ok, Time to Get Serious

Serious Sam: The Second Encounter really taxed our GeForce 4 MX 440s.  With some trepidation, I'd say the game is playable at 1024x768, but I happen to be one of "those people" who would sacrifice some image quality to play a game at framerates over 60 FPS.  If we disabled the detail texture, or dropped the texture quality just slightly, we were able to break the 60 FPS mark without a problem. 

AND THE WINNER IS:

So, how do you pick a winner, when no single product performed better than any other?   Well, we have to look at the entire picture, and ask ourselves a few questions.  Which card had the best price, at least according to a recent search on Pricewatch?  Which card had the best / most useful features?  And which card had the best bundle?  X-Micro's Impact 440 was the least expensive card in the round-up.  Visiontek's XTasy GeForce 4 MX 440 was the only card with dual monitor connectors.  The Chaintech A-G441 included two full version games.  And what about Abit's entry?  So, which is it?  Which card gets Top Honors?  We feel the Chaintech A-G441 earned the number 1 slot, with the X-Micro Impact 440 and Leadtek A170 DDR T, coming in a close second and third. 

Overall, I think Chaintech's card strikes the perfect balance.  The Chaintech A-G441 was priced well, has good active cooling, included an S-Video cable, had the best User's Manual and finding full versions of Aquanox and MDK 2 scored definite points with us.  The card even looks cool with it's black PCB and gold accessories!  This is the first product from Chaintech we've reviewed here at HotHardware, and based on our experience with the A-G441 we're hoping there will be more.  The X-Micro Impact 440 had the best price, and included full versions of WinDVD and Serious Sam, but we felt it needed one more useful, distinguishing feature, to garner a victory.  Leadtek also included two full games, and WinDVD but the price was considerably higher than the Chaintech or X-Micro cards, and I wasn't particularly fond of the cooler, or either game for that matter.  That's not to say all of the other cards featured in this article should be overlooked though.  Gainward builds one hell of a video card, and theirs is the only product "guaranteed" to overclock if you use their ExperTool to put the card into "Enhanced Mode".  I have used Gainward cards in three of my personal systems and have been nothing but pleased.  If you're interested in an MX 440 to take advantage of NVIDIA's nView multi-monitor capabilities, Visiontek's card is your only option.  Also, we especially liked eVGA's approach to cooling the GPU, and expect a lot from them in the future.  We've got eVGA's GeForce 4 Ti 4600 in the lab now and are very impressed with it so far.  Finally, Abit has long been a favorite amongst enthusiasts, and with good reason.  They build great products at affordable prices and also have a tendency to focus on the overclocking aspect of their cards.  Needless to say, if you feel a GeForce4 MX based card is right for you, any of the cards we took a look at here today, will provide what you are looking for, from a hardware perspective and perform on par with just about any GF4 MX card on the market.

The GeForce 4 MX definitely is not for everyone though.  Not being a true DirectX 8.1 part, and lacking pixel and vertex shaders does not make the GeForce 4 MX very "future proof".  If you're looking for an inexpensive product to hold you over until the next generation of gaming cards hit the streets, or are looking for a card with good DVD playback and 2D,  then a GeForce 4 MX may suit you well.  If you're a gamer looking get the most out of their hard earned dollar though, save up a little longer and spring for a  GeForce 4 Ti 4200 or 4400.  Of course there is always the ATi Radeon 8500, which also has an excellent price/performance ratio and DX8.1 support.  The Radeon 8500 and GF4 Ti products,  will remain viable for gamers for a much longer period, and will get you top end performance out of the box.

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Tags:  Nvidia, GeForce, X4, force, Up!, id

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