OCSystems is a company that mods the heck outta stuff, checks it for performance, then sells it as Enhanced. This theory sounds great and certainly there's a market out there for people who don't wanna mess with the trial and error, not to mention the work. As you can see above this is a service you definitely pay for as the OCSystems Enhanced 4200 is the most expensive card in the lot. For your extra money you get what is generally considered the best GPU cooler on the market in the ThermalTake Copper Video card cooler, tin coated copper ram sinks for every memory chip, and a higher default clock speed than any other 4200 on the market. That's great you say, but what about the software and accessories?
FULL VERSION GAMES:
The word "none" comes to mind to answer both questions. OCSystems bundles no software with this card which while not a good thing, they know it's performance you're looking for and cater to that. They do include an S-Video to line out converter, a RCA extension cable, and an S-Video cable. What they are selling is performance, not frills. Let's see what this card can run..
Max STABLE Overclock
You'll notice that this cards default speeds are CONSIDERABLY higher than any other card in this roundup. With an extra 70Mhz on the core and 110Mhz on the memory, there's no other card even close. What surprised me is that even with this high of default speeds, there is still a little room to overclock it more! With the extra Mhz this card is by far the fastest default, and overclocked card in the group.
The card weighs a butt load with the Thermaltake cooler on there, and it looks as mean as it gets in the process. With the copper cooler screaming at you and the shiny ram sinks glowing on the red PCB, there's not much prettier out there. With performance to match it's looks this card is tough to beat, the only things that stand in your way are a much higher price and lack of any real software with the product in a bundle.
NOTE ON THE OCSYSTEMS CARD: The first card they sent us had a slight issue with some stray anomalies and visual artifacts when stressed at default speeds. This caused me concern obviously and I contacted them about it. OCSystems wasted no time getting another Enhanced Ti4200 out to us and this one performed above expectations even. With the first card it was shipped to OCA in a complete system and was plugged into a digidoc with heat controlling the GPU fan. Simply speaking the fan only ran when the digidoc deemed the case hot enough. These cards cannot afford to not have the fan off and the logical conclusion is that the original card simply got burned up. This ultimately has no impact on you the reader, but we felt it important to let you know about our entire experiences with these cards.
To benchmark these cards we used the same system, with the only change being the video card. For all of the benchmarks you see we used the nVidia 40.41 reference drivers.
TEST SYSTEM SPECS:
* Abit BD7-RAID Motherboard * P4 1.6A @ 2.13Ghz (16x133) * 512MB Crucial DDR (2 x 256MB Sticks) * US Robotics NIC Card * Philips Acoustic Edge Sounds Card * 60GB Maxtor 7200RPM Hard Drive. * Antec 330w Power Supply. * WindowsXP Professional Edition OS
The reason I mention the seemingly unimportant components is I want to leave no doubt in your mind what was being run should you attempt to replicate these results in your own system.
* MadOnion.com's 3dMark 2001 Build 330 * nVidia Chameleon Benchmark * Serious Sam * Quake III Arena
All of the tests were run on the settings indicated and identically on each card. Between each card the nVidia drivers were completely removed and deleted from the registry, then reinstalled with the next card. All benchmarks were run at the cards default speeds except where indicated. There were no system or driver tweaks utilized for these benchmarks as this review is not to see how well we can tweak, but to show you the raw performance of these cards when put head to head. I would fully expect you to be able to beat these marks with a similar system. As a matter of fact, if you can't then let us know so we can all make fun of you!
We are not showing you any benchmark results below 1024x768x32 for several reasons. The first is that we pay damn good money for our systems so that we can play games at the resolutions we want to. Why build your mega system to play QuakeIII at 640x480? We show you the resolutions and color depths you'll be using so you know what to expect when you game with these cards. The second is that quite frankly, these cards eat up most applications at 800x600 or below. While there may be a number difference between 150FPS and 174FPS, on the screen it doesn't matter one iota so why bother ya with them?
As far as FSAA goes, we used nothing but Quincunx. The reason is it looks stellar, doesn't cause a HUGE performance hit, and the majority of gamers we talk to use this setting for everyday gaming. We show you FSAA at 1024x768x32 and at 1600x1200x32. At 1024 because realistically FSAA is optimized for that resolution, above that its ALMOST pointless. Then we show it to you at 1600x1200 because if you're one of these whacked out people who like running that insane resolution, we didn't want you having doubt in your mind as to what these cards would do when put to the test.
For the overclocking portion the room temperature was consistent and no additional cooling solutions were used on any cards, only what they came out of the box with. One thing to bare in mind with overclocking results in this, and any review really, is that no two cards overclock the same. There are default speeds for a reason and THAT is the speed you're guaranteed to run. Overclocking is generally not openly supported by manufacturers and can quite possibly void your warranty (if you're stupid enough to say HEY, I WAS OVERCLOCKING MY VIDEO CARD AND NOW IT DOESN'T WORK ANYMORE!). The speeds you are seeing us achieve here may be WAY lower or WAY higher than you could get with an identical card. It's luck of the draw really, do you feel lucky?
Every benchmarks you see here was run with every visual game setting maxed out and set to the resolution specified. The video card was set to blend on Direct3D, FSAA as stated, and V-sync "always off" on OpenGL.
On to the benchmarks:
As you can see even with the resolution at a normally unplayable 1600x1200 with 32bit color depth, gaming classic QuakeIII is still MORE than playable at more than 100 frames per second.
Let's look at Q3 in FSAA and the rest of the benchmarks...
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