By now you should probably be pretty familiar with the specifications for the GeForce4 Ti 4200, but we’ll provide a quick refresher just in case. The GeForce4 core that the G4Ti 4200-VTD8X is based on is NVIDIA’s second-generation GeForce4 graphics core, internally codenamed as NV28. NVIDIA prefers us media types to call it the GeForce4 Ti 4200 with AGP 8X, but NV28 is oh so much simpler to type.
NV28 versus NV25
NV28 is largely built off the original NV25 GeForce4 Ti 4200 core; for instance, the chip is still built on a 0.15-micron manufacturing process with a 250MHz core clock frequency, however, the 128MB variants of NV28 now sport the same 500MHz memory clock frequency as the 64MB variants, previous 128MB cards shipped with the memory clocked at 444MHz. Actually, all of the NV28 cards we’ve received (that follow NVIDIA’s guidelines) ship with the memory clock at 513MHz, but the spec officially calls for 500MHz. This 250/500MHz configuration yields a fill rate of 1.0 Gigapixel/second (4 billion anti-aliased samples/sec) with up to 8.0GB/sec of memory bandwidth being fed to the NV28 graphics core.
The sole addition to NV28 is its support of the AGP 8X interface. In theory this doubles AGP bandwidth, but in practice we haven’t found a software application that can take advantage of this.
These figures compared very favorably to NVIDIA’s flagship GeForce4 Ti 4600, offering roughly 80% of the performance at half the Ti 4600’s price at launch. As a result, GeForce4 Ti 4200 completely outclassed its competition and was one of NVIDIA’s hottest products for much of 2002. But now ATI’s RADEON 9500 PRO has GeForce4 Ti 4200 showing signs of age. It offers twice the fill rate of GeForce4 Ti 4200 (three times the anti-aliased fill rate), and nearly 10% more memory bandwidth. And while the list price of RADEON 9500 PRO is higher than GeForce4 Ti 4200, it offers one big trump card over Ti 4200: full DirectX 9 compliance.
Lets take a quick look at the features that allow the MSI G4Ti 4200-VTD8X to stand out from other Ti 4200 cards:
NVIDIA’s 4th Generation GPU GeForce4 Ti-8X series
AGP 8X support, up to 2.1GB/sec AGP Bus bandwidth
64MB or 128MB 128-bit DDR Frame Buffer Memory
T.O.P. Tech Cooling
MSI Twin-BIOS Technology
MSI 3D! Turbo Experience
MSI Live Update Series
Software bundle includes full versions of Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon, The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind, Duke Nukem Manhattan Project, 7-in-1 games collection, Intervideo WinDVD 5.1, WinProducer/WinCoder
MSI offers two versions of the G4Ti 4200-VTD8X series, one sporting 64MB of DDR memory like the unit we’re reviewing today, and a 128MB variant of the card. As you can see, the G4Ti 4200-VTD8X ships with a pretty impressive software bundle. Normally we frown on such things, but when your titles are one of the most popular RPG’s for this year in Morrowind and Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon, we certainly can’t complain. MSI really scored points with us with their attention to detail in general. The accessories and software bundle is very complete in comparison to the competition and the manual included with the card is one of the best we’ve seen. It’s no surprise to see why MSI ships more graphics cards than any other NVIDIA-based card manufacturer.
Breakout box for video input/output
MSI's overclocking utility
3D!Turbo has built-in monitoring
Also included in the G4Ti 4200-VTD8X packaging is an S-Video cable, a DVI-to-VGA adapter, and for video input/output capabilities, a small breakout box is provided with composite as well as S-Video inputs.