Summary: With its unique combination of performance and price, we've been highly awaiting the debut of retail GeForce4 Ti 4200 boards. VisionTek is one of the first manufacturers to market, today we're taking a look at their 128MB Xtasy card. Find out how it performs in our review!
Taking the value market by storm
While we all dream of Matrox Parhelia, NVIDIA’s NV30 GPU, or ATI’s upcoming R300, in today’s world NVIDIA’s GeForce4 Titanium rules the roost. Up until now gamers couldn’t experience the performance of the GeForce4 Ti without shelling out over $200, putting the GeForce4 out of the reach of most consumers. At least that was the case just over a month ago, but now one chip changes all of that: NVIDIA’s GeForce4 Ti 4200.
VisionTek’s Ti 4200 strategy
This brings us to VisionTek. As one of NVIDIA’s largest partners, it’s no surprise that VisionTek was one of the first card manufacturers to market with a GeForce4 Ti 4200 card. In their case, they chose to focus their efforts solely on the 128MB Ti 4200 with 444MHz DDR memory. For the Ti 4200, we’ve noticed that many card manufacturers are producing cards based on both variants of the Ti 4200. This gives consumers the ultimate in flexibility when shopping for a new video card: should you go with the cheaper Ti 4200 which offers a little more performance in most of today’s applications or spend a little more and get a 128MB Ti 4200 which should offer more performance headroom for the next generation of games?
NVIDIA® GeForce 4 Ti 4200 GPU
For the Xtasy GeForce4 Ti 4200, VisionTek chose to use an Orb-style cooler for cooling the GeForce4 Ti 4200 GPU. In comparison, the Ti 4200 reference board implemented the same cooling system from the GeForce2 Ultra.
Since the card is intended for the value market, VisionTek chose not to implement Philips MPEG encoding chip for the Xtasy Ti 4200. However, the board still offers TV-output support. In addition to the TV-out connector, the Xtasy Ti 4200 also features a DVI output connector.
One little bonus that our Xtasy Ti 4200 board shipped with was 128MB of 4.0 nanosecond memory manufactured by Samsung. At 4ns, this means our memory is officially rated for 250MHz operation. VisionTek could have utilized cheaper 4.5ns memory to keep costs down and still stayed within NVIDIA’s specs for the Ti 4200, so finding 4ns memory was a pleasant surprise for us. As a result, we’ve essentially got a 128MB Ti 4200 board that follows the same clock speeds as the 64MB Ti 4200 cards. We’re unsure if VisionTek plans to eventually implement 4.5ns chips on its 128MB boards, by default the 128MB Xtasy Ti 4200 operates at 250MHz core/444MHz from the factory.
With its 4ns memory, we were eager to see how high we could overclock our Ti 4200 card. Therefore, the first component we overclocked was the DDR memory. After moving slowly at first, we eventually cranked the memory slider on the Ti 4200 all the way up. Much to our delight, the Xtasy Ti 4200 ran without a hitch! The Xtasy Ti 4200 core itself was nearly just as cooperative, we were able to overclock the GPU to 310MHz -- just 5MHz shy the sliders’ 315MHz maximum, and the same clock speed we’re able to extract out of our GeForce4 Ti 4600 cards. Not a bad overclock for a $200 card huh?
Intel Pentium 4 2.2GHz
256MB PC2100 CAS2 DDR SDRAM
Gainward GeForce4 Power Pack! Ultra/750 XP
NVIDIA GeForce4 Ti 4200 64MB reference board
VisionTek Xtasy GeForce4 Ti 4200
VisionTek Xtasy GeForce4 Ti 4400
NVIDIA GeForce3 Ti 500 reference board
Driver version Detonator 28.32
30GB IBM Deskstar DTLA 307030 ATA/100 Hard Drive
AFREEY 12X DVD-ROM
Windows XP Professional
Desktop Resolution: 1024x768x32
3DMark 2001 Second Edition - 32-bit color, 32-bit textures
3DMark 2001 - DirectX 8
3DMark 2001 - Car Chase
3DMark 2001 - Dragothic
3DMark 2001 - Lobby
3DMark 2001 - Nature
Serious Sam 2 - OpenGL
Quake III - High Quality
Jedi Knight II
Performance: While it isn’t the fastest GPU on the market, the GeForce4 Ti 4200 is certainly no slouch. With its 250MHz core, high-speed DDR memory, and AccuView antialiasing engine, the Ti 4200 is the undisputed performance leader in the value market. Therefore, for the gamer on a budget we’re pretty certain you’ll be more than happy with the performance of the Ti 4200.
Price: While the GeForce4 Ti 4200 itself is an excellent value, street prices on Xtasy Ti 4200 cards are currently a little higher than other Ti 4200 cards currently available on the market. While Gainward’s GeForce4 Ti 4200 (the least expensive Ti 4200 card currently available on Price Watch) only ships with a CRT output, offerings from MSI, ABIT, and PNY all feature CRT, DVI, and S-Video outputs just like the Xtasy Ti 4200 and cost slightly less than the Xtasy Ti 4200.
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