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Albatron Medusa GeForce4 Ti 4800SE,

Triplex Millennium Silver GeForce4 Ti 4800SE

Soltek GeForce4 Ti 4200-8x

on NVIDIA GeForce4 Ti 4800SE
& 4200 with AGP8x

February 27, 2003






CONTENTS

  1. Peculiarities of the video cards
  2. Testbeds, test tools, 2D quality
  3. Summary information on performance of GeForce4 Ti 4800SE/4200-8x video cards
  4. Conclusion

Winter is nearing its end. Spring is right around the corner. In 2003 this season will enliven the nature, as well as NVIDIA and ATI video processor makers. We expect a series of new announcements, especially because of the greatest computer show display CeBIT'2003 where all vendors are rushing to to demonstrate their innovations. 

The NVIDIA's GeForce4 Ti line is fading away bit by bit although the American company's attempt to give it the second wind using the updated processing with AGP 8x support. The interest toward these products is currently dying away especially because the prices are not cut anymore (it's not profitable to move the Ti 4200 to the low-end market). Hence are various marketing tricks to attract users' attention to these video cards, including name manipulation. 

Here is the old line (AGP 4x): 

  • NVIDIA GeForce4 Ti 4200 - 250/222 (444) MHz for 128MB cards, 250/250 (500) MHz for 64MB cards
  • NVIDIA GeForce4 Ti 4400 - 275/275 (550) MHz
  • NVIDIA GeForce4 Ti 4600 - 300/325 (650) MHz 

and the new one (AGP 8x): 

  • NVIDIA GeForce4 Ti 4200-8x - 250/256 (512) MHz
  • NVIDIA GeForce4 Ti 4800SE - 275/275 (550) MHz 
  • NVIDIA GeForce4 Ti 4800 - 300/325 (650) MHz 

It's important to understand that: 

  1. The Ti 4200-8x has it better with the frequencies now, they don't depend on the card's memory (though the previous Ti 4200 had a lot of variations); 
  2. Ti 4800SE is not IMPROVED but WORSENED version of the Ti 4800! In this case "SE" stands for Slow Edition in contrast to Special Edition used by many manufacturers for their improved versions. 

Below is a list of the previous reviews of almost all variations of the GeForce4 Ti: 

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

What can we see in the new line supporting AGP 8x? It's almost a copy of the previous one but for the suffix "4800" and the trick with "SE" which is taken by many as a sign of an advanced solution. I must repeat that 4800SE is the same 4400 only supporting AGP 8x. The tests we did before proved that a 128MB video card doesn't need AGP 8x and it won't need it yet for a long time. 

Today we are to test three video cards supporting AGP 8x: two on the Ti 4800SE and one on the Ti 4200-8x. 

Cards

Albatron Medusa GeForce4 Ti 4800SE 






Triplex Millennium Silver GeForce4 Ti 4800SE 






Soltek GeForce4 Ti 4200-8x 







 
 
 
All cards have AGP x8/x4/x2 interface, 128 MB DDR SDRAM located in 8 chips on both PCB sides. 
Albatron Medusa GeForce4 Ti 4800SE 
The memory chips are made by Samsung, in BGA package. The access time is 3.3ns, which corresponds to 300 (600) MHz, but the memory works at 275(550) MHz. The GPU runs at 275 MHz. 


Triplex Millennium Silver GeForce4 Ti 4800SE 
The memory chips are made by EtronTech in BGA package. The access time is 3.3ns, which corresponds to 300 (600) MHz, but the memory works at 275 (550) MHz. The GPU runs at 275 MHz. 


Soltek GeForce4 Ti 4200-8x 
The memory chips are made by Samsung. The access time is 4ns, which corresponds to 250 (500) MHz, but the memory works at 256 (512) MHz. The GPU runs at 250 MHz.



 
 
 
Comparison with the reference design, front view
Reference card NVIDIA GeForce4 Ti 4200-8x  Soltek GeForce4 Ti 4200-8x 









Reference card NVIDIA GeForce4 Ti 4600  Albatron Medusa GeForce4 Ti 4800SE 









Triplex Millennium Silver GeForce4 Ti 4800SE 







 
 
 
Comparison with the reference design, back view
Reference card NVIDIA GeForce4 Ti 4200-8x  Soltek GeForce4 Ti 4200-8x 









Reference card NVIDIA GeForce4 Ti 4600  Albatron Medusa GeForce4 Ti 4800SE 






Triplex Millennium Silver GeForce4 Ti 4800SE 







 
 
 

Although the AGP 8x and new PCB design have an effect, and the Ti 4800SE differs from previous Ti 4600 (mostly in the right part), the designs are anyway very similar, the Ti 4800's PCB is based on that of the Ti 4600. 

As to Ti 4200-8x, we already mentioned that the Ti 4200's PCB is very similar to it. Besides, the Soltek's card is based entirely on the reference design. 

Now have a look at the GPU. 
 
 
 


Albatron Medusa GeForce4 Ti 4800SE 
The processor has a non-standard marking. It's not indicated that this is exactly 4800SE. The chip was made on the 47th week of 2002 (i.e. at the very end). 


Triplex Millennium Silver GeForce4 Ti 4800SE 
The marking is the same. The chip was produced on the 47th week of 2002. 


Soltek GeForce4 Ti 4200-8x 
Here it's the 49th week of 2002, and it's written that this is Ti 4200. 



 

I'd like to know how the manufacturers tell the Ti 4800SE from the 4800. Probably, by the letter "S" on the cover below. Or maybe some processors are clocked at 275 MHz just for the sake of the cheaper market niche though all of them are able to work at 300 MHz. 

Well, now look at what is a real piece of art on video cards, i.e. coolers :-). 
 
 
 


Albatron Medusa GeForce4 Ti 4800SE 
Very beautiful and highly effective cooling device with a copper base. 





Triplex Millennium Silver GeForce4 Ti 4800SE 
This is this most unique cooler among all latest Ti 4200-4600 cards. It consists of a massive heatsink made of a great number of leaf fins with a big impeller soldered to it which both cools the card and makes it look more attractive. 

Each memory's heatsink covers two memory chips, and the heatsinks meant for the back are not attached but simply supplied separately with the card (certainly, with the sticky thermo element attached). 
















Soltek GeForce4 Ti 4200-8x 
This cooler consists of a big heatsink and of a small one. The big one cools down the chipset and memory chips above, while the small one works with the memory chips located underneath. Although the cooler looks like a turbine it doesn't produce much noise. Earlier we wrote that it's not rational to cool down the core and the memory with the same heatsink, but in this case the construction is not weighty, and the risk of the heatsink's moving away from the chip is not great. 



 
 
 

The Triplex's card is covered with silver. The card's name indicates it, and we saw a silver layer on the previous solutions as well. In this case we have a PCB with a thin silver coating: 




Look how carefully all logic elements are isolated. Note that the silver coating is not just a marketing trick but the best PCB shielding and help in cooling down the card. 

All the cards are equipped with external processors controlling TV-out (TV-in). 
 
 
 


Albatron Medusa GeForce4 Ti 4800SE 
Philips 7104 controls only TV-out, that is why the card doesn't support VIVO. 


Triplex Millennium Silver GeForce4 Ti 4800SE, Soltek GeForce4 Ti 4200-8x, 
Philips 7108 supports VIVO. 



 

Well, two cards have VIVO, and one supports only TV-out. 

Accessories: 
 

Albatron Medusa GeForce4 Ti 4800SE 
The box contains: User Guide, CD with drivers and utilities, S-Video-to-RCA adapter, TV-out extenders, a sticker for PC case and 2 CDs with old games.


Triplex Millennium Silver GeForce4 Ti 4800SE 
The box contains: User Guide, CD with drivers and utilities, Cyberlink PowerDirector (for VIVO), VIVO adapter/splitter, S-Video-to-RCA adapter, TV-out extenders, and DVI-to-d-Sub adapter. 


Soltek GeForce4 Ti 4200-8x 
The box contains: User Guide, CD with drivers and utilities, Cyberlink PowerDirector (for VIVO), VIVO adapter/splitter, DVI-to-d-Sub adapter. 



 
All the cards ship in retail packages. 
Albatron Medusa GeForce4 Ti 4800SE 
A traditional mirror-like shining box from Albatron picturing the Medusa looking like a pretty girl. 


Triplex Millennium Silver GeForce4 Ti 4800SE 
Well, none managed to outdo Triplex in packaging so far. This is a standard of "stylishness", beauty and a careful approach in designing the package: the silvery card with an effective cooler looks superb through the glass of the silvery suitcase! 





Soltek GeForce4 Ti 4200-8x 
Bright, loud box. In spite of one more cyber hero which everyone is tired of the design looks pleasant. 



 
That's all about the peculiarities of the cards. 

Overclocking


 
Albatron Medusa GeForce4 Ti 4800SE  275/550 -> 320/700 MHz, excellent overclocking! 
Triplex Millennium Silver GeForce4 Ti 4800SE  275/550 -> 330/715 MHz, simply a record! 
Soltek GeForce4 Ti 4200-8x  250/513 -> 310/630 MHz, not bad results of the chip and superb scores of the 4ns memory! 

 

Note that: 

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



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

Test system and drivers

Testbeds: 

  • Pentium 4 3066 MHz based computer: 
    • Intel Pentium 4 3066 MHz; 
    • ASUS P4G8X (iE7205) mainboard; 
    • 1024MB DDR SDRAM PC3200; 
    • Seagate Barracuda IV 40GB HDD; 
    • Windows XP SP1. 

  • Athlon XP 2600+ based computer: 
    • AMD Athlon XP 2600+ (2133 MHz); 
    • EPoX (nForce2) mainboard; 
    • 1024 MB DDR SDRAM PC3200; 
    • Seagate Barracuda IV 40GB HDD. 
    • Windows XP SP1. 

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

In the tests we used NVIDIA's drivers of v42.30. 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: 

Albatron Medusa GeForce4 Ti 4800SE  1600x1200x85Hz, 1280x1024x120Hz, 1024x768x160Hz 
Triplex Millennium Silver GeForce4 Ti 4800SE  1600x1200x85Hz, 1280x1024x120Hz, 1024x768x160Hz 
Soltek GeForce4 Ti 4200-8x  1600x1200x75Hz, 1280x1024x100Hz, 1024x768x160Hz 

 
 
 

Test results: from 3Digest

For the performance estimation we used: 

  • Return to Castle Wolfenstein (MultiPlayer) (id Software/Activision) - OpenGL, multitexturing, Checkpoint-demo, test settings - maximum, S3TC OFF, the configurations can be downloaded from here

  •  
  • Serious Sam: The Second Encounter v.1.05 (Croteam/GodGames) - OpenGL, multitexturing, Grand Cathedral demo, test settings: quality, S3TC OFF 

  •  
  • Codecreatures Benchmark Pro (Codecult) - Direct3D, Shaders, Hardware T&L, Dot3, cube texturing, highest quality 

  •  
  • Unreal Tournament 2003 Demo v.1077 (Final Release) (Digital Extreme/Epic Games) - Direct3D, Vertex Shaders, Hardware T&L, Dot3, cube texturing, default quality 

  •  
  • 3DMark2001 SE Pro (MadOnion/Remedy), Game2 "Dragothic" - DirectX 8.0, Hardware TCL, multitexturing, LOW Details, DXTC OFF, double buffering, 24-bit Z buffer

  •  
  • 3DMark2001 Pro (MadOnion/Remedy) - DirectX 8.0, Hardware TCL, Game1, Game2, Game3, Game4, Low, High detail levels
  • RightMark 3D (one of the game scenes) - DirectX 8.1, Dot3, cube texturing, shadow buffers, vertex and pixel shaders (1.1, 1.4). 

Summary diagrams of performance of the video cards on the latest drivers for January 2003

Take a closer look at the diagrams of the NVIDIA GeForce4 Ti 4400. The speed results of the Ti 4800SE are identical to the Ti 4400 in the tests we used. 

The overclocked cards are marked with red color, the frequencies reached follow the sign o/c (overclocked). 

For the summary diagrams we used drivers v.42.01 for the NVIDIA cards, v.6.255 for the ATI cards, v.3.07 for the SIS cards and v.1.03.00.043 for the Matrox cards. 

In closing I must say that all the cards worked stably (each worked 24 hours) and showed good build quality. 

Conclusion

  1. Albatron Medusa GeForce4 Ti 4800SE is a good example of the combined perfect quality, high speed and relatively low price. But the card lacks VIVO or TV-out via Conexant (which ensures better quality); 
  2. Triplex Millennium Silver GeForce4 Ti 4800SE can be a good present! The build quality is superb. And another advantage is the VIVO support; 
  3. Soltek GeForce4 Ti 4200-8x is an ordinary card based on the Ti 4200-8x. Standard card, standard frequencies. The build quality is high, and prices for such cards are relatively low. At least, if you need a good Ti 4200 card without numerous bells and whistles and pretensions, this can be a good choice. VIVO is supported. 

In our 3Digest you can find complete comparison characteristics of video cards of this and other classes. 

Highs:

  • Very good performance in 3D games (in the overclocking mode up to Ti 4600 and higher!); 
  • Excellent build quality; 
  • TV-out on all cards, and Video-In on two of them; 
  • All necessary adapters for TV-out (VIVO); 

Lows:

  • No DVI-to-d-Sub adapter for the Albatron Medusa GeForce4 Ti 4800SE. 

Andrey Vorobiev  (anvakams@ixbt.com
 

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