NVIDIA GeForce 4 Ti4200 Roundup!

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NVIDIA GeForce 4 Ti 4200 Shoot-Out
64MB or 128MB?  We Report, You Decide...

By - Marco Chiappetta
August 15, 2002

With all of the hype surrounding the Radeon 9700 Pro, NV30 and Parhelia recently, you'd think those were the only video cards people were buying, but you'd be wrong.  The fact of the matter is, these high-end products are consumed by only 3-5% of the total market.  The vast majority of consumers purchase video cards that have sub-$200 price tags, and there are a ton of viable products available that fall well within this price range.  How do you know which card is the right one for you though?  With multiple flavors of GeForce 3, GeForce 4 and Radeon based products, among others, choosing one that suits your performance needs and budget can be very difficult.  Well, we're hoping to shed a little light on the situation with today's GeForce 4 Ti4200 Shoot-Out.

We've rounded up GeForce 4 Ti4200s from four different manufacturers, in varying configurations, and compared their performance to a Radeon 8500 LE, Radeon 9000 Pro and a GeForce 4 MX440.  Two 64MB cards from Gainward and MSI, and two 128MB cards from VisionTek and X-Micro are all represented.  We installed these cards into one of our Pentium 4 test beds and set out to find which one was most deserving of your hard earned dollars...

Specifications and Features of the GeForce 4 Ti4200
Power Without the Premium.

Overview:

  • Controller: NVIDIA GeForce4 Ti 4200

  • Bus Type AGP

  • Memory 64MB or 128MB DDR

  • Core Clock 250MHz

  • Memory Clock 500MHz DDR memory (64MB)

  • Memory Clock 450MHz DDR memory (128MB)

  • RAMDAC 350MHz

  • API Support Direct-X, Open GL ICD for Windows

  • Connectors VGA, DVI, TV In/Out

NVIDIA nfiniteFX II Engine:

  • Dual programmable Vertex Shaders, fast Pixel Shaders and 3D textures give developers the freedom to program a virtually infinite number of custom special effects never seen before and gives you the power to play true-to-life characters in hyper-realistic environments. At twice the performance of GeForce3.

Lightspeed Memory Architecture II:

  • With 128-bit DDR Lightspeed Memory Architecture II provides nearly double the memory bandwidth of GeForce3.

Accuview Antialiasing Engine:

  • High-performance, high visual quality at high frame rates.

TV Out Jack:

  • TV Out connector allow you to play on any size TV in your house with an s-video connector.

Requirements:

  • 266 MHz or higher CPU (AMD K6-2 or Intel Pentium II or higher)

  • AGP 2.0 Compliant Socket

  • Windows 95 OSR2, 98, ME, NT 4.0, 2000, XP

  • 64MB of RAM

Features at a Glance:

  • AGP 4x compatible with fast writes

  • 256-bit 3D and 2D graphics accelerator

  • NVIDIA nView display technologies

  • Lightspeed Memory Architecture II

  • Accuview Antialiasing

  • High Definition Video Processing Engine

  • TV Out connectors

  • DVI connector

 

Installation, Drivers and Image Quality
Easy as Pie.

Thankfully, we did not have any difficulty installing these cards into our test system.  All of these Ti4200s ship with a derivative of NVIDIA's reference drivers, so their installations are quite similar.  We installed the cards into our AGP slot, booted into our clean installation of Windows XP and pointed to the driver CDs when prompted.  One re-boot later and we were up and running.  If you're not familiar with NVIDIA's Detonator XP series of drivers, check out this page.  We've covered these drivers before, so we won't go in-depth here.


SCREEN SHOTS FROM "AMERICA'S ARMY"
1024x768x32 with 4XS FSAA

Image quality with the GeForce 4 Ti4200s, whether gaming, watching DVDs or working in 2D was very good.  We cranked our desktop resolution all the way to 1600x1200x32 using a Mitsubishi Diamond Scan 2040u and had uniform coloring and crisp text throughout.  Some would say NVIDIA's output is not quite up to par with Matrox or ATi, but even in side by side comparisons, you'd be hard pressed to see any significant differences.  As far as this reviewer is concerned, Matrox still wears the 2D quality crown, and ATi has the best DVD playback, but in 3D gaming, it's a tough call.  I'd give the nod to NVIDIA by a slim margin though, due to their very nice Anisotropic filtering (in OpenGL) and virtually glitch free drivers that hardly ever produce any strange visual anomalies.  The screen shots posted above were taken from the first four training missions in "America's Army".  This game is based on the UT:2003 engine, and as you can see, produces some very nice visuals.  I was especially impressed by the detail in the trees in the second shot.

The Cards... 

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

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