iXBT Labs - Computer Hardware in Detail






VIVO on the Latest NVIDIA Cards,
Galaxy 3G Graphic GeForce4 Ti 4200 64MB
Triplex Millennium Silver GeForce4 Ti 4200 64MB


  1. Peculiarities of NVIDIA GeForce4 Ti 4200 based video cards from Galaxy, MSI and Triplex 
  2. Testbeds, test tools, 2D quality 
  3. Performance of the GeForce4 Ti 4200 video cards in Unreal Tournament 2003 DEMO 
  4. Operation of Video In, Video Out (VIVO) on such cards
  5. Conclusion

We keep on examining production video cards based on the GeForce4 Ti 4200. If you look into the price lists, you will see that almost every company has developed its own model on this GPU. We all know such brand names as MSI and Triplex, but Galaxy Technology is a new one. Who knows, maybe among NVIDIA (noname) GeForce4 Ti 4200 video cards in the price lists there are samples from this firm as well. Remember that we speak only about definite products of definite firms. A lot of noname cards ship in OEM packages, and they are indicated in price lists under all possible names. When we cast a glance at the Galaxy's solution we decided that it's worth your attention. 

The company was founded in 1994, and is headquartered in Hong Kong and its factories are in China (it's quite seldom now that a company doesn't buy products on OEM contracts but runs its own production). Apart from video cards, Galaxy produces sound cards and modems. 

The company covers almost all NVIDIA's processors. All products are produced under the 3G Graphic trade mark. Today we are taking a look at the GeForce4 Ti 4200 chipset. 

You can get thorough information on the Ti 4200 (as well as on the whole GeForce4 Ti line) from our reviews devoted to the GeForce4 Ti cards. 


  • Theoretical and analytical videocard reviews, containing functional analysis of NVIDIA GeForce4 Ti GPU: NVIDIA GeForce4 Ti
  • MSI needs no comments on the way it has covered together with NVIDIA when developing products on processors of this Californian company. The Taiwanese company of Triplex has several its cards in the list above. Its solutions come with magnificent silvery PCBs (they are really covered with a sprayed layer of silver), the build quality is excellent and the packages are noteworthy. 

    We will also examine operation of the VIVO based on the Philips 7108 processor. 


    Galaxy 3G Graphic GeForce4 Ti 4200 64MB 

    MSI GF4Ti4200 VIVO 64MB 

    Triplex Millennium Silver GeForce4 Ti 4200 64MB 3.3ns 

    Galaxy 3G Graphic GeForce4 Ti 4200 64MB 

    The card has AGP x2/x4 interface, 64 MB DDR SDRAM located in 8 chips on both PCB sides. 

    The card comes with EtronTech memory of 4ns access time which corresponds to 250 (500) MHz, and the memory is working at it. The GPU runs at 250 MHz which is typical of the Ti 4200. 

    MSI GF4Ti4200 VIVO 64MB 

    The card has AGP x2/x4 interface, 64 MB DDR SDRAM located in 8 chips on both PCB sides. 

    The card comes with Hynix memory of 4ns access time which corresponds to 250 (500) MHz, but the memory is working at 256 (513) MHz. The GPU runs at 250 MHz. 

    Triplex Millennium Silver GeForce4 Ti 4200 64MB 3.3ns 

    The card has AGP x2/x4 interface, 64 MB DDR SDRAM located in 8 chips on both PCB sides. 

    The card comes with Hynix memory of 3.3ns access time which corresponds to 300 (600) MHz, but the memory is working at 275 (550) MHz. The GPU runs at 250 MHz. 

    Comparison with the reference design, front view  
    Galaxy 3G Graphic GeForce4 Ti 4200 64MB  Reference card NVIDIA GeForce4 Ti 4200 

    MSI GF4Ti4200 VIVO 64MB 

    Triplex Millennium Silver GeForce4 Ti 4200 64MB 3.3ns 

    Comparison with the reference design, back view
    Galaxy 3G Graphic GeForce4 Ti 4200 64MB  Reference card NVIDIA GeForce4 Ti 4200 

    MSI GF4Ti4200 VIVO 64MB 

    Triplex Millennium Silver GeForce4 Ti 4200 64MB 3.3ns 


    All the cards follow the reference design in almost all aspects (the cards from MSI and Galaxy have some little differences from that). 

    As far as the frequencies are concerned, all the 64MB cards got used to have it higher by 6 (13) MHz (probably due to the new BIOS from NVIDIA, as all above cards have the reference BIOS). Frequencies of such models are starting to deviate from those recommended by NVIDIA, though to the higher level. It especially concerns the Triplex's model. 

    Beside the memory, the cards differ in the PCB's color and coolers' design. 

    Here are the coolers: 

    Galaxy 3G Graphic GeForce4 Ti 4200 64MB 
    This is almost a copy of the reference cooler. Such design is very effective. 

    MSI GF4Ti4200 VIVO 64MB 
    This is also almost a copy of the standard NVIDIA's cooler which consists of a closed heatsink with the fan shifted off from the GPU's center. The only downside is that the plastic lid may rattle when the cooler works.

    Triplex Millennium Silver GeForce4 Ti 4200 64MB 3.3ns 
    This is a very stylish solution. And the great number of fins makes its very effective. 


    The cooler hides the GeForce4 Ti 4200 processor: 

    It should be noted that the VIVO is supported by the MSI's card only, which comes with the Philips 7108 processor: 

    The other two cards are equipped only with the TV-out; note that the Galaxy's card has a codec from Philips as well, only it's marked as 7102: 

    The Triplex has a TV-out based on the Conexant's processor. 

    Let's have a look into the boxes: 

    Galaxy 3G Graphic GeForce4 Ti 4200 64MB 
    Here we can find a user manual, a CD with drivers and utilities, 2 games (Aquanox, Soul Reaver 2), a CD with proprietary screensavers, but no adapters are supplied (only an S-Video extender). 

    MSI GF4Ti4200 VIVO 64MB 
    A user manual, a CD with drivers and utilities, WinCoder/WinProducer (for VIVO), games and MSI's programs, VIVO's adapter/splitter, DVI-to-VGA adapter, S-Video extender. 

    Triplex Millennium Silver GeForce4 Ti 4200 64MB 3.3ns 
    A user manual, a CD with drivers and utilities, Tsunami 2265 (in Chinese!) and Blade of Darkness games, S-Video extender, DVI-to-VGA adapter, S-Video-to-RCA adapter. 


    The video cards ship in retail packages.

    Galaxy 3G Graphic GeForce4 Ti 4200 64MB 
    The design also resembles that of the NVIDIA's reference one; it differs only in the logos and cards' names. 

    MSI GF4Ti4200 VIVO 64MB 
    This is a package typical of MSI. Strangely enough, but the package claims 128 MB memory while the card carries only 64 MB. 

    Triplex Millennium Silver GeForce4 Ti 4200 64MB 3.3ns 
    Triplex always had an original design. This one is a stylish box of silvery color with a window displaying the card itself. 

    That's all about peculiarities of the cards.


    Galaxy 3G Graphic GeForce4 Ti 4200 64MB  250/500 -> 320/600 MHz, a very good overclocking potential. 
    MSI GF4Ti4200 VIVO 64MB  250/513 -> 300/605 MHz, not bad for the 4ns memory
    Triplex Millennium Silver GeForce4 Ti 4200 64MB 3.3ns  250/550 -> 315/628 MHz, the 3.3ns memory has definitely a fertile effect on the memory speed-up, and the chip's potential is not modest. 


    Well, it's quite easy to turn all the cards into the Ti 4600. The chips reach 300 MHz without much problem, which proves that the company delivers not discarded chips, but normal NV25. 


    Test system and drivers

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

    In the tests we used NVIDIA's drivers of v40.41. VSync was off, S3TC was off in the applications. 

    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. 
    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:  
    Galaxy 3G Graphic GeForce4 Ti 4200 64MB  1600x1200x75Hz, 1280x1024x100Hz, 1024x768x120Hz 
    MSI GF4Ti4200 VIVO 64MB  1600x1200x75Hz, 1280x1024x100Hz, 1024x768x120Hz 
    Triplex Millennium Silver GeForce4 Ti 4200 64MB 3.3ns  1600x1200x85Hz, 1280x1024x100Hz, 1024x768x120Hz 

    For the performance estimation we used: 

    Performance in UT2003 DEMO

    The final DEMO version of the Unreal Tournament 2003 game has at last arrived, - it has a rich bundle of benchmarks for video card testing. But we think that it makes no sense to use bat files with playback of the recorded boat matches: the battles are sluggish with long standing at the same place and the matches are very processor-dependent (the video card has a decent effect only in 1600x1200). That is why we took two scenes with flying around: ANTALUS and CITADEL. 

    For a more revealing picture we compared the Ti 4200 both with the cards from the same price niche (RADEON 8500/8500LE 128MB) and with some cheaper solutions. 

    The RADEON 8500 is on the heels of the Ti 4200 cards especially in the higher resolutions. And the MX 440/460 fall too much behind (because of the missing hardware support of shaders). 

    Well, the Ti 4200 is a leader in this test, but the RADEON 8500 holds on firmly to its second position. 

    Multimedia capabilities of the GeForce 4 Ti 4200 video cards - VIVO

    This section is based on the tests of the MSI GeForce 4 Ti 4200-vtp (64 Mb DDR SDRAM), but almost everything said below can be referred to the other cards of this series. Traditionally, the gaming capabilities are left for gamers to discuss, and we are going to find out what the card can offer for fans of home video editing.

    The card has two outputs for VGA monitors (15-pin) and a combined connector of an analog video signal. It's used to deliver an analog video signal to TV or the like (TV-out). The second VGA-out is functionally combined with the analog TV-out and they can't be used simultaneously. In the video card settings you can choose either "VGA display", or "TV". It can be connected to TV via the adapter with composite and S-Video connectors:

    Some cards also have a TV-in (I got exactly such card). Image is applied via the same connector of the card, but the adapter has two more tails: 

    Here is a typical scheme of connection of analog devices: 

    A TV signal is processed by the Philips 7108 chip. Later we will show how it works.

    It's necessary to install additional software for most multimedia capabilities of the card. The card comes with 9 CDs in colorful boxes: 

    The card was tested on the following platform: The installation of the card and software was flawless. It doesn't happen often when no errors occur during installation. 

    First of all, I studied the multimedia capabilites of the card. The card allows extending the Windows desktop onto the second monitor (both vertically and horizontally). By the way, resolutions and scanning frequencies can be set independently. In the Clone mode a picture on the second monitor reproduces a picture of the primary monitor entirely or partially. If the second monitor has a lower resolution than the first one, only a part of the screen will be reproduced which follows the mouse's pointer (autopanning). For each monitor you can set color correction, a type of scanning and synchronization, anti-aliasing, image extension etc.:

    In the zoom mode you can enlarge several times a certain screen area of the first monitor on the second one or this mode can work as a "magnifier".

    Each mode includes multiple additional functions united with the nView service. The nView can be adjusted with the help of a very good wizard:

    A user creates separate profiles for different tasks. The nView also remembers how applications are arranged on the desktop, offers a browser of desktops of the Windows, supports partial transparancy for overlapping or dragged windows, speeds up unfolding of windows etc.

    Most key commands can be invoked with hot keys:


    If you set an analog TV-out as the secondary monitor there will be only two resolutions available: 640x480 and 800x600 (NTSC and PAL respectively). Higher resolutions of the primary monitor are possible only via the virtual screen. In the PAL mode an image can be easily extended onto the whole TV monitor (i.e. black edges are absent). In the NTSC mode it's impossible to get rid of them entirely.

    The TV-out's quality is rather high. The text is legible, no pixel flickering on  contrast transitions. With the S-Video used instead of the composite output the sharpness gets a little better. Unfortunately, there are no reliable methods of demonstrating quality of TV-out on a web page or an objective comparison of different sources of TV-out. But when we connected to the check monitor first the MSI GeForce 4 Ti 4200 card and then the Matrox G450 DH, we saw that their quality was comparable, though the TV-out is realized differently on these two cards.

    Teh second output of the card can also be used for full-screen displaying of a video overlay window. You can simply set a played movie to the full screen (for example, in the Windows media player), but the card provides more flexible means which are called the overlay controls:

    In this mode in the MSI DVD program a selected DVD file will be played in the full-screen mode on the chosen monitor. But unfortunately, this is possible only for MPEG files and only in the MSI DVD program (it's an adapted version of the InterVideo WinDVD program and it's supplied with the card) or Windows MediaPlayer. Files of all other types can be played only in the clone mode. Besides, a video overlay can't be displayed on the second monitor when a video signal comes from external analog inputs (TV-in). 


    The InterVideo WinDVR 2.0 is provided for playing and recording video images from external analog-ins. This program is very popular. It comes with many TV tuners and was examined in detail in my last reviews. It should be noted that the errors we had found out were not corrected by the developers. There is some mess with countries, the maximum resolution for video sampling is 720x480 (instead of claimed 720x576). And StillCapture sampling can be carried out only at 640x480. Quality of sampling can be estimated below. The test table was traditionally sent from the reference test signal generator, and a real image was taken from the Betacam SP video recorder. We didn't estimate quality of the software compression of the WinDVR as it was done before. 

      Test table Real image
    Composite input

    S-Video input

    About 15% of the useful video signal gets away in the lower part of the test table. It's not the WinDVR program that should be blamed, but the capture driver of the card. A similar effect was also noticed in other programs (SmartCap or VirtualDub). The image is not very sharp. Moreover, there is almost no quality difference between sampling fulfilled with the composite input and the S-Video one.

    As the card in question lacks for a sound section, recording and playback of sound accompanying video are possible only with a sound card of the computer.

    Video editing

    The InterVideo WinProducer 2.0 offers a full cycle of video editing starting from sampling from analog or DV sources to creation of a DVD. The program supports all popular file formats and codecs: DVD, VideoCD, SVCD, DV type 1 and 2, ASF, WMF, DivX, MP3 etc. The program is supplemented with the Professional Users Pack with an MPEG4 codec and modules for creation of VCD.

    The creative capabilities of the program are limited by a set of transitions, filters and subtitles it has (compared to more solid programs), but it can come in handy for beginners. All editing stages are simple and comprehensive:

    The final movies can be recorded onto a tape with the MSI WinDVD.

    Summary (on this section)

    Thanks to the rich multimonitor and multimedia capabilities the MSI GeForce 4 Ti 4200-vtp card will be widely used in precision tasks, by owners of several monitors and begining video editors. 


    We have studied a new lot of the Ti 4200 based cards which, despite such a similarity to the reference model, do have their own peculiarities. Today we have also examined the new benchmark based on the UT2003 DEMO and the Ti 4200 takes the lead among the cards from the same price niche. Taking into account price cuts occurred from time to time, such cards will get more and more popular (if ATI doesn't change the price policy sharply and cuts down prices lower than those of the Ti 4200). 


    1. The Galaxy's solution is almost the cheapest one for today ($120 by retail for the middle of September), and it has the best price/speed ratio. Lack of adapters is a certain downside of this card. 
    2. The MSI's model supports VIVO, an excellent software suite, but quality of the Video In is not very high (because of the capture drivers). In all other respects, this is an average card based on the reference design. 
    3. The Triplex's card comes with faster memory, the default frequency of the memory is lifted up to 275 (550) MHz. It makes the card the speediest runner of this round. Besides, its perfect build quality, original design and package make this solution very attractive. 
    The complete comparison characteristics of video cards of this and other classes can be found in our 3Digest.


    Andrey Vorobiev (anvakams@ixbt.com), 

    Mihail Androsov (nle@ixbt.com)

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