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nVidia's Geforce 4 Ti4200: A New Kind Of Budget?
Author : Martyn Date : 22nd April '02
3DVelocity wish to thank Bastion for providing this card for review.

...Product Geforce 4 Ti4200
...Manufacturer nVidia
...Supplier nVidia / Bastion
...Price $200 Approx'

 

 




Part One: Introduction

It's easy to forget, it hasn't always been this way. Unfortunately the long term memory of the industry isn't that great. The march of technology rests for no one but I'm sure more than a handful of you can remember the days when ATi vs. nVidia wasn't a hot topic, nVidia were not even around. But today the various discussion boards are filled with the aforementioned rivialry. This began for me back in the days of the Radeon's release. nVidia had not only the fastest but also the most 'wallet busting' solution in the Geforce 2 Ultra, a card no one could rivial in terms of raw speed. ATi's only high end product was the highly rated all in wonder series, and while it was seen as a multimedia enthusiasts dream product, it was still based upon the Rage series of GPU's. These were far behind nVidia's solutions in terms of speed and features and thus ATi released the Radeon 64MB DDR. An excellent card but still one that couldn't keep pace with nVidia's top card. The image quality and performance of this card was amazing considering the lower clock speeds offered by the Radeon but one thing was for sure: nVidia had a huge lead in speed. Upon the release of the excellent Geforce3 range of cards ATi were still working on the R200 (Radeon 8500) the first DX8.1 compatible video card. Again nVidia had beaten ATi to the punch and released a card to make even the toughest benchmarks seem like a relative breeze.

But things changed drastically once the R200 hit the shelves. Bettering the Geforce3 in many of our more familar benchies', ATi seemed to have a card to finally call 'the fastest around'. Or so we thought...
In a questionable but no doubt effective strategy nVidia chose this time to release the highly hyped Detonator 4 series of drivers. Allegedly boosting the Geforce GPU's by up to 50% it seemed ATi would have to put some serious effort into the Radeon 8500's drivers and marketing. The launch didn't go as planned and compounded by nVidia's driver release was the allegations of Quake 3 driver optimisations, exactly what ATi didn't need at such a critical time. But ATi held on, releasing more and more drivers and eventually public acceptance of the R200 GPU increased. The Geforce 3 was getting beaten badly in some games while retaining a small lead in real game performance. ATi had one 'minor' feature that could bury the Geforce 3 series. ( Inc. the speedy Ti500) PRICE! The ATi cards were now even cheaper and nVidia had to think of something to combat a great card at a great price. Enter the NV25, a GPU that put nVidia firmly back in the performance lead. While not fully supporting DX8.1, consumers seemed to care little as the marketing started all over again for the fastest consumer GPU. Now the Geforce 4 series is helping retain their performance lead, it remains to be seem what features we can expect from the R300. For now at least, nVidia are firmly in the lead. The Radeon 8500 has now taken up the budget performance mantle being, as it is, significantly cheaper than any of the GF4 Ti's. nVidia's GF4 range left a huge gap in the market, one that the R200 is filling right now: A high performance card for under $200. It's this 'gap' that we will explore on the next page...

 

Page Two: The Gap In The Geforce 4 Range >>>

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