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NVIDIA GeForce4 MX 440/460 Video Cards Roundup

Part 5. August 2002:
S/U/M/A/ Platinum
GeForce4 MX 460 SE
GeForce4 MX 440 (new PCB)
GeForce4 MX 440 PowerUp

August 3, 2002






CONTENTS

  1. Peculiarities of video cards
  2. Test conditions and drivers, 2D estimation 
  3. Data on performance of such cards from 3Digest
  4. Conclusion
I think this is our last review of video cards based on the GeForce4 MX. The previous reviews on the ATI RADEON 9000 (parts I and II) and on the Joytech (SIS Xabre 400) show that if prices for the GeForce4 MX do not fall down such cards will die out because they lack for some 3D functions and performance worse than the RADEON 9000/Pro though the prices are equal (not to mention the Xabre). 

But it's the last time we touch upon these cards not because of their near death but because there are a lot of such articles available. Well, if the GeForce4 MX gets cheaper it will live for a long time though in the low-end sector where it will do away with the old GeForce2 MX and TNT2. 

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

This review is 90% dealing with peculiarities of S/U/M/A/ video cards (although we already studied one card on the MX 440). So, what special do such cards have? As usual, S/U/M/A/ uses a faster memory and nonstandard PCBs. 
 

Cards

All cards have AGP x2/x4 interface, 64 MB DDR SDRAM located in 4 chips on both PCB sides. 

 
S/U/M/A/ Platinum GeForce4 MX 460 SE 






S/U/M/A/ Platinum GeForce4 MX 440 PowerUp, S/U/M/A/ Platinum GeForce4 MX 440 (BGA memory) 







 
 
 
S/U/M/A/ Platinum GeForce4 MX 460 SE 
This card comes with Hynix memory modules of 3.3ns access time. It works at 300/275 (550) MHz. The card is developed for overclockers as it comes with quite efficient memory (it should be 3.6ns). But the frequencies are left rated. 


S/U/M/A/ Platinum GeForce4 MX 440 PowerUp 
This card comes with Samsung memory modules of 3.6ns access time. The chips are in the BGA package and the access time is lower than required. This card is meant not only for overclockers but for average users as well who want a little higher performance at the same amount of money, because the card operates at 270/275 (550) MHz (against the rated ones for 440 of 270/200 (400) MHz). 


S/U/M/A/ Platinum GeForce4 MX 440 (BGA memory) 
Hynix memory, 4ns access time. The frequency the card runs at is rated - 270/200 (400) MHz. But this model is also for overclockers because the memory is also packed in BGA (which always has a higher overclocking potential) and an access time is 4ns which is less than required (5ns). 



 
 
 
Comparison with the reference design, front view 
S/U/M/A/ Platinum GeForce4 MX 460 SE  Reference card NVIDIA GeForce4 MX 460 






S/U/M/A/ Platinum GeForce4 MX 440 PowerUp, S/U/M/A/ Platinum GeForce4 MX 440 (BGA memory)  Reference card NVIDIA GeForce4 MX 440 







 
 
 
Comparison with the reference design, back view 
S/U/M/A/ Platinum GeForce4 MX 460 SE  Reference card NVIDIA GeForce4 MX 460 






S/U/M/A/ Platinum GeForce4 MX 440 PowerUp, S/U/M/A/ Platinum GeForce4 MX 440 (BGA memory)  Reference card NVIDIA GeForce4 MX 440 







 
 
 

The MX 460 model is based entirely on the reference design. It differs from an ordinary card only in a more efficient memory and a VIVO support. Hence the SE suffix. 

Both 440 cards are based on the S/U/M/A/'s own design (at least, not of NVIDIA :-) ). The cards have only memory chips different. Although the design doesn't provide for a second VGA-out, it's not a problem because all MX 440 cards come with only one connector although the reference design provides for two. 

Cooling devices are typical of the Korean company, earlier we saw them a lot. 
 

S/U/M/A/ Platinum GeForce4 MX 460 SE 
Turbo-fan with a massive elliptic heatsink. 


S/U/M/A/ Platinum GeForce4 MX 440 PowerUp, S/U/M/A/ Platinum GeForce4 MX 440 (BGA memory) 
Standard square cooler. 



 
 
 

The MX 460 based model comes bundled with two VGA and DVI connectors. It has a standard nView support including a TV-out. The card is also equipped with a VideoIn (i.e. VIVO) via the Philips 7108 chip: 




Unfortunately, S/U/M/A/ supplies nothing for this function, that is why it looks strange that the card with VIVO and named SE has actually a dead function. 

And both 440 cards have only a TV-out. In the MX 440 it is based on the GPU's capabilities. Both VIVO and TV-out need all necessary adapters supplied. By the way, both 440 cards has an ordinary set of accessories: user guide, CD with drivers, S-Video-to-RCA adapter. As for the X 460... 
 

S/U/M/A/ Platinum GeForce4 MX 460 SE 
User Guide, CD with drivers, adapter/splitter for VIVO, DVI-to-d-Sub adapter, S-Video extender. 



 
 
 

All video cards ship in the retail packages. 

S/U/M/A/ Platinum GeForce4 MX 460 SE 
Traditional semitransparent plastic box. 


S/U/M/A/ Platinum GeForce4 MX 440 PowerUp 
The boxes differ only in stickers and length. 


S/U/M/A/ Platinum GeForce4 MX 440 (BGA memory) 
The new card on the MX 440 has a box of another color which distinguishes this particular card. 



 
 
 

That's all we had to say about peculiarities of the card. 

Overclocking

S/U/M/A/ Platinum GeForce4 MX 460 SE  300/550 -> 345/710 MHz 
S/U/M/A/ Platinum GeForce4 MX 440 PowerUp  270/550 -> 330/610 MHz 
S/U/M/A/ Platinum GeForce4 MX 440 (BGA memory)  270/400 -> 310/540 MHz 

 
 
 

As expected, the faster memory allowed for higher results. 

Note:

Test system and drivers

Taking into account that we have already studied all peculiarities of operation of the NVIDIA GeForce4 MX 4200/4400/4600, there is no need to repeat them again. Besides, our 3Digest widely covers performance of such cards in comparison with many others. That is why I recommend that you go to the above review, and later I will give you definite links.  The test system was coupled with ViewSonic P810 (21") and ViewSonic P817 (21") monitors. 

In the tests we used NVIDIA's drivers of v29.80. VSync was off, S3TC was off.

Test results

Before we start examining 2D quality I should say that there is no a complete technique of objective estimation of this parameter because: 
  1. Almost all modern 3D accelerators can have 2D quality much dependent on a certain sample, and it's impossible to trace all cards; 
  2. 2D quality depends not only on a video card, but also on a monitor and a cable; 
  3. Besides, certain monitors do not get along with certain video cards. 
Certainly we do our best to improve the situation, but we are not almighty, that is why I can't promise anything. 

As for the tested samples, together with the ViewSonic P817 monitor and BNC Bargo cable the cards showed excellent quality at the following resolutions and frequencies: 

For 3D performance estimation we used:  The overclocked cards are marked with red color, the sign o/c (overclocked) is followed by the frequencies reached.

Conclusion

  1. S/U/M/A/ Platinum GeForce4 MX 460 SE is a reference based solution equipped with the VIVO. Exceptional quality and faster than required memory can easily win over customers. But we know quite well that the current prices for the GeForce4 Ti 4200 cards come close to the MX 460, that is why it's difficult for me to recommend a MX 460 card.

  2.  
  3. S/U/M/A/ Platinum GeForce4 MX 440 PowerUp is a hybrid of the MX 440 and MX 460 as far as performance is concerned (its video capabilities are close to the MX 440). Besides, its price will likely be very similar to an ordinary 440.

  4.  
  5. S/U/M/A/ Platinum GeForce4 MX 440 (BGA memory) is just a new look of the old card. Well, it has become more attractive for overclockers, but that's all.

  6.  
You can find more comparative characteristics of video cards of this and other classes in our 3Digest

Highs:

Lows:
Andrey Vorobiev (anvakams@ixbt.com

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