Reconsidering GeForce4

Most of you have probably read my GeForce4 preview by now. If so, you know I wasn't entirely impressed by NVIDIA's incremental tweaks that transformed the GeForce3 into the GeForce4 Ti. However, NVIDIA didn't give us the opportunity to test their new products, so all I had to go on was spec sheets and the best info I could gather about changes to the chip. I believe we presented a good and accurate overview of the GeForce4 Ti and MX GPUs.

Now that some comparative benchmarks have popped up at other sites, it's become clear that the GeForce4 Titanium chip, in particular, is one helluva fast chip. (Kudos to the boy wonder for using the phrase "marketing terms," by the way.) The individual improvements to the various parts of the GeForce4 may not be earth-shattering, but the cumulative effect appears to be formidable. Even at the same clock speed as a GeForce3, the GF4 Ti is a fair amount faster.

I will reserve judgment until we can test the GF4 Ti cards ourselves, but I am—cautiously—a little more optimistic about the GF4 Ti now. Feature-set wise, the Radeon 8500 stacks up well against the GF4 Ti—my opinion hasn't changed there—but specs aren't everything.

Also, we nicked NVIDIA because the GF4 MX 460 is really a weak product offering in the price range when compared to the GF3 Ti 200 or the Radeon 8500LE 128MB. It turns out NVIDIA has another trick up its sleeve. They'll soon be introducing a third GF4 Ti variant, the 4200, which will cost around $199 or so. The 4200 cards should be very strong competition for the Radeon 8500LE, and they should also (thank goodness) cannibalize sales of the GF4 MX 460 cards. Alas, NVIDIA neglected to let us know about this member of their product lineup, so our preview article went online without this crucial bit of info.

Add it all up, and the GF4 line-up is looking a little better now. We'll see how things really shake out once we have the cards themselves in Damage Labs for testing.

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