Which brand video card is best?

MidiGuy

Senior member
Jan 14, 2001
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I'm looking to get a GeForce4 TI 4200 video card (retail). Which brand would be best? And while I'm at it, assuming the person who's system I'm getting it for is at least a moderate gamer, and probably won't be upgrading his video card anytime soon, should I get him a 64MB or a 128MB version?

Thanks!

-Midi
 

Hauk

Platinum Member
Nov 22, 2001
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Now there's a loaded question! As far as brand, you'll get many opinions. The best stability and quality for the least cash is my vote. Gainward is an all time favorite; but Albatron is my new pick. I think they're going to be strong (plus newegg has free shipping on all Albatron cards).

As far as memory, take the plunge and go for 128MB. Games are already on the shelves that can use it; and it helps with resale value. I've sold all my old graphics cards on ebay...
 

AnAndAustin

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Apr 15, 2002
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;) Without a doubt go for the 128MB version, even though the 64MB version has higher default clocks and tends to have faster rated RAM (hence higher o/c). The def clocks are 250/444 vs 250/500 but this only works out to be a 2-3% lead for the 64MB card but once more than 64MB is needed the 64MB version is significantly slower, to the degree a Rad8500/9000PRO with 128MB would perf better (not that they're bad cards but they are cheaper none-the-less). In 4200 cards regardless of manu the 64MB reach about 300/600 and the 128MB about 300/550, but once again the 128MB is advantageous and this will only become more important with newer games ... plus selling a 64MB card in 6-12 months will be very much like trying to sell a 32MB card now. So bottom line the 4200-128MB is certainly better, although the 4200-64 is still a fine card most people would be better off with a $100 Radeon featuring 128MB.

:D As to manu, it matters very little for GF4TI with the exception of the very rare card which uses unusually slow RAM (eg 4.5ns instead of 4.0ns on a 4200-128), I believe an example of this is AOpen's 4200. The other exceptions are obvious as they are suped up 4200 cards like Asus Deluxe, Suma Special Edition and Albatron P Turbo which all use the longer 4400/4600 design and very fast and o/c'able 3.3ns BGA RAM. These are as good as or better than 4400 and sell for a comparative price. Another suped up 4200 is the Abit OTES but this uses an extreme cooling technique rather than a 4400/4600 design and should sell at normal 4200 pricing. In the past (like GF3 days) Leadtek and Gainward were known to be the best manus in terms of image and build quality but now all GF4TI cards seem almost identical in these repsects. I'd let price, features and bundle be your primary guide as to which GF4TI to choose.
 

MidiGuy

Senior member
Jan 14, 2001
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Thanks for the input so far guys! Does anybody have any more brand recommendations from a features standpoint? I'm 95% sure I'm going with a 128MB card, but I don't think I want to go for any suped up version if the price goes up with it.

Thanks again!

-Midi
 

AnAndAustin

Platinum Member
Apr 15, 2002
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:) Features wise you will usually find CRT+DVI+TVout is standard as is dual display and dual RAMDACs. Some cards may use CRT+DVI+VIVO (VideoIn as well as VideoOut) and the other main combination is dual CRT instead of the CRT+DVI bit. Some manus will bundle in a CRT-to-DVI converter to allow the simultaneous use of 2 CRT monitors rather than req a DVI flat panel, but these converters are cheap to buy anyway. Also the TVout leads may differ by providing diff length cables, S-Video vs Composite etc. The only diff with retail vs oem in GF4 cards is a nicer box and possibly a manual. Other than that it's pretty much down to the sw which accompanies the card, obviously check to see what are demos, what are full games and how good they actually are.

;) So nothing mind-numbing or too diff to find out. As mentioned all GF4TI cards have very good image quality, so physicly and the most important variance is the ns rating of the RAM they use, you should find all 4200-64 come with 250/500 std clocks using 3.6ns but it is possible for them to use 4.0ns or 3.8ns which will hurt your o/c. Similarly 4200-128 nearly all come with 250/444-250/460 std clocks using 4.0ns but again it is possible to use 4.5ns which will significantly hurt your o/c. The brand of the RAM can also matter, Samsung or Hynix are usual, anything else and you should expect it to be somewhat optimistic with its ns claim. Unfortunately it's near impossible to find out the ns rating or brand of the RAM and so long as the card runs stable at std clocks you aren't entitled to a refund simply because the manu skimped on the RAM.

:eek: Anyway, the enhanced 4200 cards which use the 4400/4600 design ('4300') often carry a 4400 price tag, they generally o/c slightly better but then a 4400 but a 4400 will sell on much better, in any case you are talking about 40% added cost for a 10% speed boost. I'd strongly advise a 4200-128 and so long as you steer clear of AOpen you should find you get 4.0ns which should get you at least 275/520 if not 310/580 (somewhere inbetween is most likely). For comparison 4400=275/550 and 4600=300/650.
 

Maggotry

Platinum Member
Dec 5, 2001
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My GF4 4600 is a PNY which I've read here is made by MSI. I've had it for several months now and it runs great. I think most manu's all use a very similar reference design. The boards won't vary in performance by much at default speeds. I'd look at price, warranty, and any extras (3D glasses, bundled utilities and games, etc). The PNY cards are relatively cheap and come with a lifetime warranty. I'd definitely by their cards again.
 

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