Summary: We sat down with one of the more beastly video cards on the market today. The ASUS V8460 Deluxe has just about anything you want in a video card. Performance, inputs and outputs, dual head. Ah, but all the goodness comes at a cost. Read on for the goods.
When it comes to buying video cards that pesky cost factor always manages to wriggle its way into the fray. We've long since passed the days when a good CPU could push a computer to its limits. It seems as though the CPU is getting to be more and more of an accessory for the video card. With prices dropping so quickly on obscenely powerful processors, you have to find a place to spend all that hard-earned cash. A quick peak at Pricewatch shows that the AthlonXP 2000+ can be had for a bit over $100, and the highly overclockable Northwood can be had for pennies. These CPUs put you within a hair of the best either Intel or AMD have to offer. Spending more cash on those extra 100MHz or so isn't likely to bring you more frames or much more performance on your daily tasks. The extra money would be far better spent on a faster hard drive or a quicker video card.
Enter the ASUS GeForce 4 Ti4600 - about as elite as you can get in the video card scene. With the average GeForce4 Ti4600 costing slightly above the $300 mark, many would scoff at this price and gladly pay roughly half this sum and walk away with a Ti4200 that performs well above what it costs. This isn’t even factoring in the fact that the majority of these cards are phenomenal overclockers. When we venture into the realm of the V8460 Deluxe, the price takes a rather dramatic rise into the $370 range. Quite a jump even if you are considering spending $300 on a video card, or a Carl Lewis like leap if you had your sights set on a Ti4200.
As the saying goes – if you have to ask, you probably can’t afford it. I cannot count the times I’ve heard that used in the audio industry. Where even a set of cables can set you back the cost of an entire computer. It’s debatable over whether your money is well spent, but it’s pretty much assured more money will get you more performance in the computer industry. On occasion, the prices are a bit skewed, but you always have some chart pointing out where that sweet spot lies between those who have too much cash and those who want to maximize the bang.
SIDEBAR: 15 Hz is barely audible, but you sure can feel it.
With a card that costs as much the 8460 Deluxe does, you expect to have some extra goodies. The pack in its entirety contains the following items:
Thoughts on the stuff
Surprisingly ASUS adds more benefit to their product through their own efforts. The bundled software included with the card in no way compares with what they themselves developed in-house. Starting off with the games, we still really wonder why they bother bundling them. Unless they can really get some A-list titles (which is nigh impossible), they might as well pass on the savings to the customer by not including it.
SmartDoctor and Tweaking
Now in its second generation, Smart Doctor is quite the handy program. Useful for monitoring just about everything on the video card at steady intervals, it is quite the tool for those looking to overclock their equipment. And instead of having to search the web for a utility to unlock the core and memory frequencies of the card, ASUS provides you with a handy little program with which to accomplish this. With core frequency settings running all the way up to 320 MHz, and the memory setting going up to 710MHz, we’re sure you won’t be left out in the wind should you have the supreme sample of what a video card should be.
The goggles, they do nothing!
We’ve played with the 3D glasses quite a few times. While it is a nice touch, this whole scene is just not ready to be an actual product that brings value. It looks nice on paper but chances are you’ll treat it like we do – toy around with it, and then just slide it back in the box.
For a card that has so many proprietary features, all the video inputs and outputs – you are almost required to use the ASUS drivers in order to get full functionality out of the card. As you will see, we’re glad to say that their drivers are in tip-top condition. It’s only natural for them to be a little bit behind NVIDIA in their driver release schedule, but they aren’t lagging by miles. Their drivers are utilizing version 28.80 of NVIDIA’s reference. NVIDIA is currently on version 29.42. Aside from bringing functionality to the card, there isn’t too much to note about the ASUS drivers. The occasional logo change and menu rearrangement were the only things readily apparent.
While certainly not limited to the ASUS card, the nView functionality, dual monitors, is rather limited in comparison to the Matrox lineup. Although, Matrox hasn’t really been a contender in the 3D gaming arena until now, with the release of the Parhelia – which boasts triple monitor support on the desktop and in gaming. We encountered a few quirks with the nView software that just seem to happen randomly. If we had two identical monitors to test on, the results might have been different. But we were limited to resolutions below 1600x1200 with both monitors enabled. In single monitor mode we could crank it till our eyes bled from trying to make out the text. So basically, don’t expect miracles from NVIDIAs first attempt at dual monitor support.
512MB Corsair PC2700 DDR SDRAM
ASUS V8460 Deluxe GeForce4 Ti4600
Driver version Detonator 29.42
ASUS Reference Driver
30GB IBM Deskstar DTLA 307030 ATA/100 Hard Drive
AFREEY 12X DVD-ROM
Windows XP Professional
Desktop Resolution: 1024x768x32
3DMark 2001 - 32-bit, 32-bit textures
Instead of showing you how the card compares with other Ti4600s, we figured we’d take a look at how the ASUS drivers work with the card. Looking for a performance difference between the various Ti4600 cards is like looking for a hamster in your computer – there isn’t one.
3DMark 2001 - DirectX 8.0
Serious Sam II - OpenGL
Quake III - High Quality
Jedi Knight II - OpenGL
This card has just about everything you would ever need in a gaming behemoth. About the only thing we were slightly disappointed in were the nView features, but that isn't limited to the ASUS card, it stems right on down from NVIDIA. With the only real negative point in the card mentioned, the key question you might want to ask yourself is, are you going to use all these gee-whiz features? There are plenty other GeForce cards on the market. Or in the case that you really want all these toys, but can't afford it - behold the ASUS V8420 Deluxe Ti4200. All the whistles and most likely well under $300. If it's like other Ti4200s, it's bound to overclock like a madman. But one thing's for certain, the V8460 is no slouch in any category.
SIDEBAR: What do you think of this Deluxe Ti4600? Think $370 is a tad much to pay for a video card? Do you have your sites set on the Ti4200 Deluxe? Speak up in the news.
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