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SUMA
Platinum GeForce4 Ti 4400 DVI
and Platinum GeForce4 Ti 4600 SE

May 23, 2002



" By the beginning of the first century the Korean peninsula had 3 early-feudal kingdoms: Koguryo, Packche and Shilla. At the end of Xth century the peninsula was united under the power of the Koryo Dynasty. In XIII - XIV centuries the country was under the Mongolian power. Later Korea was under the control of different Chinese emperors.




At the end of XIX century, according to the Japanese and Chinese agreement, Korea was declared an independent state. However, in 1910 Japan occupied Korea and joined it to the Japanese empire as the Choson province. In 1945, according to the documents of the Potsdam conference, the 38th parallel was marked as a line that divided the occupation zones between the Soviet and American forces. In 1948 two Korean states were founded. The republic of Korea was declared on August 15 1948. In 1950 - 1953 the country went through the war with KHÄP. The war destroyed the economy of Korea almost completely. On May 16 1961 the military overturn resulted in two decades of military governing.



Today the country is considered democratic, but the totalitarian traditions are still strong, and the way of life is determined by the regime's regulations and laws. But remember that at present the economy of South Korea is growing up rapidly, the technical progress goes on with great strides so that this piece of land can be compared with Japan in the volume of the industrial production.



The industries connected with the IT technologies are developing best of all. And first of all, it is the computer industry... "

Here we should start speaking about SuperMicro Systems Corp., or simply SUMA. For a long time we called it SUMA, though it's not true. This company was founded in Seoul, the capital of South Korea, in 1998, that is why this is a relatively young firm.

However, for 4 years the company achieved a great success. First of all, in the homeland. In 2001 SUMA took the first place among all firms in Korea in the pace of development. In the beginning the company produced stuff by request of OEMs, and primarily for Samsung. Among first products of SUMA were 3dfx Banshee based cards. But this was the first and the last attempt of the company of working with products of non-NVIDIA processor makers.

Later all SUMA's video cards were based on the NVIDIA's chips. In 2000 the company entered the Retail market with its Platinum series. Today video cards from SUMA are very popular and have a great deal of fans.

Before we go further into examining the today's samples let's see what reviews of the GeForce4 Ti cards we already have.

Theoretical materials and reviews of video cards which concern functional properties of the NVIDIA GeForce4 Ti GPU

SUMA produces almost the whole range of cards on the NVIDIA's GPUs. That is why when the GeForce4 Ti just appeared on the market this Korean company was among those who expressed a desire to make a card on it.

Today we will examine two cards - SUMA Platinum GeForce4 Ti 4400 DVI and Platinum GeForce4 Ti 4600 SE.

Cards

Both cards have an AGP x2/x4 interface, 128 MBytes DDR SDRAM located in 8 chips on both sides of the PCB.

SUMA Platinum GeForce4 Ti 4400 DVI / SUMA Platinum GeForce4 Ti 4600 SE
SUMA Platinum GeForce4 Ti 4400 DVI
The card has Samsung memory modules with the 3.6ns access time which corresponds to 275 (550) MHz. The memory does work at it. The GPU runs at 275 MHz which is typical of the Ti 4400.
SUMA Platinum GeForce4 Ti 4600 SE
The card has Samsung memory of the 2.8ns access time which corresponds to 357 (714) MHz. The card operates at the rated for Ti 4600 frequency - 300/325 (650) MHz.
Comparison with the reference design, front view
SUMA Platinum GeForce4 Ti 4400 DVI Reference card NVIDIA GeForce4 Ti 4400
SUMA Platinum GeForce4 Ti 4600 SE Reference card NVIDIA GeForce4 Ti 4600
Comparison with the reference design, back view
SUMA Platinum GeForce4 Ti 4400 DVI Reference card NVIDIA GeForce4 Ti 4400
SUMA Platinum GeForce4 Ti 4600 SE Reference card NVIDIA GeForce4 Ti 4600

There are some slight differences from the reference design in the right parts. It seems that SUMA redesigned a unit which controls power supply to the components. Note that we noticed no any deviations in stability.

The PCB is traditionally black. Silvery (or maybe platinum :-) letters of the name are on the right. The suffixes DVI and SE are made in the form of stickers. As far as "DVI" is concerned the idea is clear: before the Ti 4400 card was released there was a card without DVI (and of course, without a dual-head support, from the nView's standpoint). The SE of the Ti 4600 card implies that it supports VIVO. The card without SE comes with a simple TV-out.

The cooling device is similar to what you could see in the ASUSTeK review. The cooler is unusual: its fan looks like a turbine. Besides, the heatsink is very big. That is why the cooler is quite heavy, though it is made of aluminum.

The SUMA's logo with an eagle is located in the center of the heatsink.

Such design makes the cards very stylish. Besides, the memory chips are covered with elegant heatsinks (which are not paired).

Everything I said before concerns both cards. The cards differ just in the memory chips and of course GPU (Ti 4400 is above, Ti 4600 is below):



The SUMA Platinum GeForce4 Ti 4600 SE comes with the GeForce4 Ti 4600 chip produced at the beginning of March, it doesn't have a codename. Besides, you must have noticed a new stepping A3 (revision). The Platinum GeForce4 Ti 4400 DVI card has a processor produced at the end of February, also just with the marking (but without figures 4400). The chip is of the A2 revision.

Furthermore, the Ti 4400 has DVI and d-Sub connectors unsoldered, while the Ti 4600 has two DVIs. Two CRT monitors can be connected with DVI-to-VGA adapters (which are supplied with the cards). The Ti 4400 model is equipped with the TV-out, which works via the Conexant codec and the Ti 4600 SE model has a Philips 7108 processor. This DAC/ADC controls VIVO (Video-In Video-Out).

Quality of operation of the TV-out and VIVO in such cards was already estimated (see the list above). However, I couldn't find the software for VIVO among the accessories of the Ti 4600 based card (as you know, it is not FreeWare).

Now let's jump into the packages.

SUMA Platinum GeForce4 Ti 4400 DVI
The package contains: user manual, CD with drivers and utilities, Experience CD with demo programs from NVIDIA, DVI-to-VGA adapter, S-Video-to-RCA adapter, stickers with the logos of SUMA and NVIDIA.
SUMA Platinum GeForce4 Ti 4600 SE
The package contains: user manual, CD with drivers and utilities, Experience CD with demo programs from NVIDIA, 2 DVI-to-VGA adapter, VIVO adapter-splitter, stickers with the logos of SUMA and NVIDIA.

Both cards ship in the retail packages.

SUMA Platinum GeForce4 Ti 4400 DVI
This card ships in a traditional plastic box. The front side shows large figure 4 and a sticker in the corner indicating the access time of the memory.
SUMA Platinum GeForce4 Ti 4600 SE
The box of this card differs only in holographic images, and in the sticker which this time indicates the 2.8 ns access time of the memory and VIVO.

Overclocking

SUMA Platinum GeForce4 Ti 4400 DVI 275/550->300/680 MHz
SUMA Platinum GeForce4 Ti 4600 SE 300/650->315/750 MHz

The overclocking results are moderate (especially of the Ti 4600).

Note:

  • in course of overclocking you must provide additional cooling, in particular, for the card (first of all, for its memory):

  • overclocking depends on a definite sample, and you shouldn't generalize the results of one card to all video cards of this mark or series. The overclocking results are not the obligatory characteristics of a video card.

Test system and drivers

In the tests we estimated how the performance of the accelerator depended on the CPU's frequency (and on a platform), that is why we used several testbeds:

  • Pentium 4 2200 MHz get-up:
    • Intel Pentium 4 2200 (L2=512K);
    • ASUS P4T-E (i850);
    • 512 MBytes RDRAM PC800;
    • Quantum FB AS 20 GBytes;
    • Windows XP.

  • Pentium 4 2000 MHz get-up:
    • Intel Pentium 4 2000 (L2=512K);
    • ASUS P4T-E (i850);
    • 512 MBytes RDRAM PC800;
    • Quantum FB AS 20 GBytes;
    • Windows XP.

  • Pentium III 1000 MHz get-up:
    • Intel Pentium III 1000 MHz (133 MHz x 7.5)
    • Chaintech 6OJV2 (i815E);
    • 256 MBytes SDRAM PC133;
    • Seagate Barracuda IV 40 GBytes;
    • Windows XP.

  • Athlon XP 1666 MHz (2000+) get-up:
    • AMD Athlon XP 2000+
    • EPoX 8KHA+ (VIA KT266A);
    • 512 MBytes DDR SDRAM PC2100;
    • Fujutsu 20 GBytes;
    • Windows XP.

  • Athlon XP 1250 MHz get-up:
    • AMD Athlon XP 1250 MHz (100 MHz x 12.5)
    • EPoX 8KHA+ (VIA KT266A);
    • 512 MBytes DDR SDRAM PC2100;
    • Fujutsu 20 GBytes;
    • Windows XP.

  • Athlon 1000 MHz get-up:
    • AMD Athlon 1000 MHz (133 MHz x 7.5)
    • ABIT KT7E (VIA KT133A);
    • 256 MBytes SDRAM PC133;
    • Fujutsu 20 GBytes;
    • Windows XP.

  • Athlon 750 MHz get-up:
    • AMD Athlon 750 MHz (100 MHz x 7.5)
    • ABIT KT7E (VIA KT133A);
    • 256 MBytes SDRAM PC133;
    • Fujutsu 20 GBytes;
    • Windows XP.

The test system was coupled with ViewSonic P810 (21") and ViewSonic P817 (21") monitors.

In the tests we used NVIDIA's drivers of v28.90. VSync was off, S3TC was off.

For the comparative analyses we used the following cards:

  • ABIT Siluro GF3 Ti500 (NVIDIA GeForce3 Ti 500, 240/250 (500) MHz, 64 MBytes);
  • ATI RADEON 8500 (RADEON 8500, 275/275 (550) MHz, 64 MBytes, driver 6.052);
  • ATI RADEON 8500 (RADEON 8500, 275/275 (550) MHz, 128 MB, driver 6.052).

Test results

The 2D quality is superb, no problems even at 1600x1200x85 Hz.

For estimation of 3D quality we used:

  • 3DMark2001 SE (MadOnion) - a synthetic tests which demonstrates operation of cards in the DirectX 8.1;

The tests were carried out in the 32-bit color mode. For each test I made two diagrams which group the results differently (for processors and for video cards/AA modes).

3D Mark2001 SE

Game1 Low Details

RADEON 8500 GeForce4 Ti
AA 4x Performance AA Quincunx
Example 1
Example 2
AA 4x Quality AA 4x
Example 1
Example 2

1024x768

Note that we do not compare AA quality of the GeForce4 Ti and GeForce3 Ti 500 as it was done in the ABIT Siluro GF4 Ti review.

I have chosen the 4x mode of the SmoothVision (ATI) (Performance and Quality) as it is the closest in quality to the 4x and 4xS of NVIDIA and it demonstrates acceptable speed and performance in 1024x768. As you can see, the ATI 4xP mode gives better quality than the NVIDIA's Quincunx. We can compare them only in quality, not in speed. The performance drop of the RADEON 8500 is great, on all processors and platforms.

1280x1024

This resolution makes stronger the victory of the NVIDIA cards in the AA modes. In case of the anisotropic filtering the RADEON 8500 was a leader, and here it is vice versa. Note that AA is one more component which improves image quality.

Game2 Low Details

RADEON 8500 GeForce4 Ti
AA 4x Performance AA Quincunx
Example 1
Example 2
AA 4x Quality AA 4x
Example 1
Example 2

1024x768

The RADEON 8500 128 MBytes works strangely: sometimes its performance is much better than that of the 64 MHz model, sometimes it is worse. We retested it but got the same.

In all other respects the situation is similar to the Game1. Just note that quality of the AA 4xP of ATI is a little better than that of the NVIDIA's AA Quincunx.

1280x1024

The situation is similar, it is just a tad worse for the RADEON 8500. Note that the 128 MBytes memory of the NVIDIA's cards allows them to activate AA 4x in 1280x1024, though the same amount of memory on the RADEON 8500 based card doesn't help it enable the AA 4xQ.

Next time, in the review of the silvery Triplex GF4 Ti 4600 card we will analyze Game3 and Game4 tests.

Conclusion

When the AA is enabled, the GeForce4 Ti based cards are real winners. Next time we will estimate operation of these cards with the AA and anisotropy enabled simultaneously.

The S/U/M/A cards are based on a little altered reference design; quality of soldering and quality of all the components is excellent. The GeForce4 Ti 4600 based card comes with VIVO (though the software is lacking); besides, both cards have heatsinks on their memory modules. Finally, they have a traditional stylish package which is pleasant to look at.

Having analyzed the price changes on the market, we can see that prices of such cards have recently dropped considerably; and it makes them closer to consumers.

The complete characteristics of video cards of this and other classes can be found in our 3Digest .

Highs:

  • Excellent performance in modern 3D games (the best when the AA is enabled);
  • High quality of both cards;
  • Original design;
  • TV-out of the SUMA Platinum GeForce4 Ti 4400 DVI and VIVO of the SUMA Platinum GeForce4 Ti 4600 SE;
  • All necessary adapters.

Lows:

  • Lack of the software for VIVO for the SUMA Platinum GeForce4 Ti 4600 SE card.



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