Don't think that choosing the GeForce4 Ti 4200 means that you've completed your purchasing decision, though. The card comes in 64MB and 128MB flavors, and there are advantages and disadvantages to each. Furthermore, there are a number of different manufacturers building cards, so there's another choice you have to make.
Not all GeForce4 Ti 4200s are created equal, and today we've rounded up eight of them to find which ones perform the best, overclock the highest, and offer the best overall value for your budget gaming dollar. Along the way we'll also take a look at the performance advantages of 64MB and 128MB cards in general. There's a lot to cover, so let's get started.
We're comparing eight different graphics cards today, but they're all based on NVIDIA's GeForce4 Ti 4200 graphics chipset. If you're not familiar with the GeForce4 Ti 4200 you'll want to check out our in-depth review for a little background. Board design aside, the GeForce4 Ti 4200 is really just a slower version of NVIDIA's current top of the line GeForce4 Ti 4600, and uses the same rendering pipeline, memory architecture, and shaders as its faster, more expensive brother.
To set the stage a little, it's worth taking a look at where exactly the GeForce4 Ti 4200 stands in the broader graphics landscape.
|Core clock (MHz)||Pixel pipelines||Peak fill rate (Mpixels/s)||Texture units per pixel pipeline||Peak fill rate (Mtexels/s)||Memory clock (MHz)||Memory bus width (bits)||Peak memory bandwidth (GB/s)|
|GeForce4 MX 440||270||2||540||2||1080||400||128||6.4|
|GeForce4 Ti 4200 128MB||250||4||1000||2||2000||444||128||7.1|
|GeForce4 Ti 4200 64MB||250||4||1000||2||2000||500||128||8.0|
|SiS Xabre 400||250||4||1000||2||2000||500||128||8.0|
|Radeon 9000 Pro||275||4||1100||1||1100||550||128||8.8|
|GeForce4 MX 460||300||2||600||2||1200||550||128||8.8|
|Radeon 8500 128MB||275||4||1100||2||2200||550||128||8.8|
|GeForce4 Ti 4400||275||4||1100||2||2200||550||128||8.8|
|GeForce4 Ti 4600||300||4||1200||2||2400||650||128||10.4|
As you can see, the GeForce4 Ti 4200 has very competitive fill rates; memory bandwidth is right up there, too. You'll notice, however, an important difference between 64MB and 128MB cards; the GeForce4 Ti 4200 64MB has half the memory of its 128MB sibling, but it does boast almost a full GB/s advantage in theoretical memory bandwidth courtesy of its 500MHz memory bus. We'll explore what kind of impact memory size and bus speed have on real world gaming performance when we dive into the benchmarks a little later.
All the GeForce4 Ti 4200 64MB graphics cards we're comparing today have identical fill rates and memory bandwidth; the same goes for all the GeForce4 Ti 4200 128MB cards. Looking at the specs, they're all the same, but there's more to a graphics card than its GPU and memory. Third party card manufacturers generally stick to NVIDIA's reference designs for the GeForce4 Ti 4200, but they do attempt to differentiate their products by including all manner of cables, adapters, and software. And, of course, all these cards have different price tags.
Here's a quick rundown of how the cards we're testing today differ from each other. We'll be covering each card individually in more detail, but it's a little easier to compare cards directly with each other with this handy little table.
|Price||Cables||S-Video adapter||Encoder chip||DVI-VGA adapter?||DVD software||Game bundle||Warranty|
|Abit Siluro 64MB||$138||82" composite|
|composite/S-Video Y-cable||Philips SAA7104E||Yes||SiluroDVD||None||NA|
|Albatron 64MB||$148*||71" composite|
|S-Video/composite adapter||Conexant 25871-14||No||WinDVD||Serious Sam|
|Compro Personal Cinema 128MB||$299||69" composite|
|Gainward PowerPack! Golden Sample Ultra/650TV 64MB||$131||None||S-Video/composite adapter||Philips SAA7102E||Yes||WinDVD||None||3 years|
|MSI 64MB||$138||80" S-Video||composite/S-Video Y-cable||Philips SAA7104E||Yes||MSI DVD||Aquanox|
|PNY Verto 64MB||$165||None||None||Philips SAA7102E||None||None||None||Lifetime|
|VisionTek Xtasy 128MB||$170||None||None||Conexant 25871-15||No||PowerDVD||None||Lifetime****|
**Compro doesn't include an S-Video adapter, but it has full VIVO functionality through the Personal Cinema breakout box
***Albatron only covers parts and labor for the first year of the warranty, after that you may be charged for parts
****VisionTek's lifetime warranty is only as good as the lifetime of the company, and the company is on life support