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VIDEO CARDS

Albatron GeForce4 128MB Ti4200 Review
By: Jim Miller
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    2003-10-09

    Table of Contents:
  • Albatron GeForce4 128MB Ti4200 Review
  • Benchmarks
  • Benchmarks Part 2
  • Overclocking

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    Albatron GeForce4 128MB Ti4200 Review


    (Page 1 of 4 )

    Today we're looking at the Albatron GeForce4 Ti4200P Turbo with 128MB of DDR Ram. This card was initially intended to be a part of our 64MB Ti4200 roundup but due to a miscommunication between Albatron and us they sent their 128MB version of the popular 4200. Since we couldn't review this against the 64MB cards, we figured we'd take a look at this card alone and compare it head o head with a 64MB version of the same card.

    Manufacturers:

       Albatron
      Product:   GeForce4 Ti4200P Turbo (128MB)

    Price:

       USD$185 (from Newegg)

    Availability:

       NOW

    Reviewed By:

       Jim "Justi" Miller

    Review Date:

       November 2002

    INTRODUCTION:

    Today we're looking at the Albatron GeForce4 Ti4200P Turbo with 128MB of DDR Ram.  This card was initially intended to be a part of our 64MB Ti4200 roundup but due to a miscommunication between Albatron and us they sent their 128MB version of the popular 4200.  Since we couldn't review this against the 64MB cards, we figured we'd take a look at this card alone and compare it head o head with a 64MB version of the same card.

    Albatron is a company that  is relatively new to the performance parts community and they're making no small waves in their appearance.  Having setup their new office in January of this year Albatron is quickly becoming known as a viable manufacture of motherboards and video cards. Based out of Taiwan they are finally becoming main stream here in the U.S. market.

    So now that we know who they are it's time to see if they deserve our hard earned money.  That's where we come in.  We'll look at this card and and compare it's value and performance for you, so all you have to do is decide whether to whip out that credit card or not.

     

    Ti4200 INFO:

    Before we jump right into things we'll tell you just a little bit about the Ti4200 chipset from nVidia.  We don't spend a lot of time on this as the GeForce4 Ti(x) series from nVidia has been covered to death on this site and many others.  For a more indepth look at the technology feel free to check out our review of the 4400.  Here are a few basics.

     

    Specs and Performance

    GeForce4 Ti 4600              Vertices per Second:
    Memory Speed                    Fill Rate:
    650MHz DDR                       Operations per Second:
                                           Memory Bandwidth:
                                           Maximum Memory:
    136 Million
    4.8 Billion AA Samples/Sec.
    1.23 Trillion
    10.4GB/Sec.
    128MB
    GeForce4 Ti 4400              Vertices per Second:
    Memory Speed                    Fill Rate:
    550MHz DDR                       Operations per Second:
                                           Memory Bandwidth:
                                           Maximum Memory:
    125 Million
    4.4 Billion AA Samples/Sec.
    1.12 Trillion
    8.8GB/Sec.
    128MB
    GeForce4 Ti 4200              Vertices per Second:
    Memory Speed                    Fill Rate:
    444/500MHz DDR                 Operations per Second:
                                           Memory Bandwidth:
                                           Maximum Memory:
    113 Million
    4 Billion AA Samples/Sec.
    1.03 Trillion
    up to 8GB/Sec.
    128MB

     

    So basically what we're looking at here is the same thing nVidia has been doing since the original TNT, taking the same chipset and offering different performance level cards based on the same chipset.  The thing that is most important here is that as the chipsets get more and more powerful and the price difference between the top and bottom (4600 vs 4200) a lot of people are opting for the lower end of the scale.  The 4200 has already earned a stellar reputation as the "best bang for the buck" board on the market today, but we wanted to see where the offering from Albatron stacks up.

    The Albatron like every other Ti4200 we've looked at offers multi video outputs allowing you to use nVidia's own nView.  nView simply put allows you to run more than one monitor, or a monitor and a TV (great for DVD watching!) with a single card.  I used this feature to run multiple desktops with different applications on each.  This not only simplified my life but looked hella cool in the process.  I would run my chat programs, Motherboard Monitor, and Norton's Utility dashboard on my 2nd monitor, while surfing or gaming on my main screen.  This allowed me to check system stats and see who's online even when I was running NASCAR Racing 2002 in full screen mode.  Maybe not a "necessity" yet by today's standards, but a VERY nice option that if used correctly can actually increase productivity.

    What we appear to be seeing is the difference between the top end cards from nVidia (such as the Ti4600) remain the same distance ahead of the value cards (such as this Ti4200) in price, but not in performance.  With each new generation of video card chipsets the performance is greater and greater across the board.  With software developers struggling to keep up with the hardware releases that usually means that a card such as the 4200 is more than capable of not only playing the days most recent games, but blowing you away with performance in the process.

     

    FIRST IMPRESSIONS:

     

           

     

    When the box arrived the first thing I noticed was that they deviated from the nVidia reference package.  While that may seem irrelevant it was the first indication I had that this would not be just a cookie cutter GeForce4.  The box art was nice, but unlike many in this community, I couldn't really care less what is "ON" the box, I care much more about what is IN the box.

    In the box came a pleasant supply of accessories and software.

    SoftwareGamesAccessories
    Nvidia Drivers
    WinDVD
    DirectX 8.1
    Overclocking Utility
    Linux Drivers
    Motorcross Mania
    Serious Sam
    RCA Cable
    S-Video Cable
    RCA to S-Video Converter


    About the only thing lacking was a DVI to D-Sub VGA converter, this is the thing that makes it easiest to utilize nVidia's nView feature in their latest driver set.  Sure this is a $3 part at any computer store, but we've seen it included in enough cards lately that it was worth mentioning.  Other than that, this offering from Albatron comes with about everything you need and then some.  The full versions of Serious Sam and Motorcross Mania (which is VERY addicting!) was a more than pleasant surprise.

     

    STOCK COOLING:

    The Albatron also takes a step that some manufacturers of the Ti-4200 have been skipping, and that's providing heat sinks for their memory.  The days when memory sinks were simply for looks are over.  DDR memory being pushed as hard as the latest and greatest video cards are pushing, gets hot, VERY hot actually.  I'm not speaking of the "eh, that's a little warm" hot, I'm talking about the "DAMN! That hurts!" hot.  For that reason extra care needs to be taken more than ever to protect your memory, and let's face it, if you want any overclocking success you're gonna need the coolest card you can get!

     

    MEMORY COOLING:

     

              

    You'll notice by the size of the sinks that the Albatron uses BGA memory for this card, to say the least we were pleased to see this.  I'll delve into this topic more in-depth in the overclocking portion of this review, but let's just say that BGA generally means very good things.


    GPU COOLING:

     

           

    The GPU cooler is made up of a solid copper heat sink with an aluminum shroud over it.  The sink has very thin fins to optimize cooling and the shroud actually does a pretty decent job of routing the air from the small, yet seemingly effective, active cooling fan.  Personally I like this model better than the reference GeForce4 cooling design that nVidia ships with most boards, but to each their own I suppose.

     

    Lets go on to benchmarks and see how this card actually performs.

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