NVIDIA GeForce 4 Ti4200 Roundup!

NVIDIA GeForce 4 Ti4200 Roundup! - Page 6

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

By - Marco Chiappetta
August 15, 2002 

Next up, we have some tests with Serious Sam: The Second Encounter.  We configured the game to use OpenGL and ran the "Little Trouble" demo using the "Extreme Quality" script, created by the folks at Beyond3D, to max out the texture and filtering quality.

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

The GeForce 4 Ti4200s surged past the Radeons and MX440 at every resolution in the Serious Sam benchmarks.  The 64MB cards from Gainward and MSI were again the fastest of the bunch, proving Serious Sam benefits more from the faster memory on the 64MB cards, rather than the increased available memory on the 128MB cards.  

Overclocking Benchmarks with 3D Mark 2001 SE
More Synthetic Gaming.

We also spent some time overclocking each of the GeForce 4 Ti4200s in this roundup.  To demonstrate the performance gained by overclocking the cards, we ran 3DMark2001's default benchmark at 1024x768 again, and compared the new scores to the originals.  The Gainward card, with its 3.3ns memory, was able to hit the highest overall clock speeds, 310MHz core and 608MHz memory.  The MSI card also overclocked well, but the VisionTek card was the real killer.  The VisionTek card hit a stable 310MHz core, with 583MHz memory!  Overall the 64MB cards were able to hit higher memory speeds, but those boards were using faster memory to begin with.  For example, we were able to increase the memory on the Gainward card by "only" 108MHz, but with the VisionTek card the memory ran a full 139MHz over its default clock speed!  The X-Micro card used the same 4ns memory as the Visiontek but was only able to hit a maximum of 553MHz, with a 308MHz core clock speed.


The time has come to evaluate the benchmarks and declare an overall winner.  Clearly, the GeForce 4 Ti4200 is one heck of a 3D accelerator, posting "Best of Class" performance in every test we ran except for Jedi Knight II, and the Quake 3 Anisotropic tests.  Even in the benchmarks where the Ti4200 didn't come out on top, the performance deltas were so small that in "real world" scenarios users would not be able to tell the difference.  We were impressed by all four for of the GeForce 4 Ti4200s we looked at, especially considering the most expensive card in the pack can be found for under $190.

Our top pick has to be the X-Micro Impact T4200.  While the 64MB cards from Gainward and MSI were the fastest overall, we feel buying a 128MB card is the smarter choice in the long run.  As newer games like Unreal Tournament: 2003 and Doom 3, that use upwards of 80MB of textures in some scenes ship, the extra memory on the 128MB cards will yield higher performance, making them the better choice if you plan to get any mileage out of your investment.  The X-Micro card in particular was less expensive than VisionTek's offering, shipped with DVD playback software, a full version game and had ViVo capabilities included.  We give the X-Micro Impact T4200 a HotHardware Heat Meter rating of 9 and a coveted Editors Choice award!

Ultimately, choosing any of the four GeForce 4 Ti4200s we looked at today would be a wise decision though.  The VisionTek GeForce 4 Ti4200 is obviously a well crafted product.  There is a reason VisionTek makes NVIDIA's reference cards, and that reason is quality.  Being able to overclock the GPU on this card by 60MHz and the memory by 139MHz is awesome.  If you're an enthusiast looking for the utmost in quality and don't want or need ViVo capabilities, the VisionTek GeForce 4 Ti4200 would make a fine upgrade.  We give this card an 8.5 on the Heat Meter.

I seriously considered giving the nod to the MSI GeForce 4 Ti4200, but felt strongly that going with a 128MB card was the better choice.   The MSI GeForce 4 Ti4200 shipped with the most impressive software bundle we had ever seen, bar none.  MSI has also built quite a reputation for manufacturing high quality products over the years, so you know you'd be buying a card that was meant to last.  It wasn't the best overclocker, but you can hardly fault a product because it won't run as far out of spec as you'd like!  The MSI GeForce 4 Ti4200 has earned itself an 8 on the Heat Meter based on its excellent bundle and low price.

Last, but certainly not least we have the Gainward GeForce4 PowerPack ! Ultra/650XP Golden Sample.  Gainward has proven time and again that they manufacture some of the best video cards in the world.  Their "Golden Samples" have impressed reviewers all across the internet.  This card had the best cooler and memory heatsinks of the bunch, and was the best overclocker and overall performer.  The bundle was a bit sparse though, which ultimately cost it a few points.  The Gainward GeForce4 PowerPack ! Ultra/650XP Golden Sample is still a great card, and walks away with an 8 on the Heat Meter.


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

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