Climbing Back to the Top
The battle for the ultimate supremacy in gaming chipsets heated up again last month when NVIDIA launched the new GeForce4 family. Supporting a whole array of advanced 3D rendering and performance enhancement technologies, the new GeForce4 is positioned to take over the top spot once again after ATI snatched it from NVIDIA with their surprisingly powerful RADEON 8500. The GeForce4 GPU promises not only performance but beautifully rendered 3D graphics as well. We all know that NVIDIA is keen to develop their GPUs to the point that they can render 'movie-quality' graphics, and GeForce4 is yet another step closer to that realisation.
The new GeForce4 Ti is NVIDIA's most powerful family of gaming GPUs. Available in two speed grades, the GeForce4 Ti features NVIDIA's next generation nfiniteFX engine II which promises to deliver up to twice the performance of the GeForce3. NVIDIA also enhanced its Pixel Shader and Vertex Shader with better performance, as much as two to three times the speed of previous generation GPUs. The Ti 4400, which is a lower speed grade, is clocked at 275MHz while its memory also runs at 275MHz (550MHz DDR). The faster GeForce4 Ti 4600 GPU is clocked at 300MHz and it uses speedy DDR RAMs that operate at 325MHz (650MHz DDR). Strangely, the new Leadtek A250 Ultra DDR TD has its memory clocked at 330MHz (660MHz DDR). It would be interesting to see how the retail versions will compare with the reference board.
With the new GeForce4 Ti family, NVIDIA has repositioned its GPU line-up where older chipsets will be replaced by these new breed of graphics processors. The GeForce4 Ti 4600 will take the Enthusiast segment while the lower speed grade Ti 4400 will replace the GeForce3 Ti 500 in the Performance segment. The GeForce3 Ti 200 will remain below the Ti 4400 in the Performance market segment. The entire line-up of GeForce4 MX will replace the GeForce2 Ti and GeForce2 MX in the Mainstream segment, while the GeForce2 MX will move down to the Value segment together with the TNT2 M64 and Vanta chipsets. Seems that NVIDIA has clearly carved out their products according to these segments. The thing that surprised me was the introduction of the Enthusiast segment, which was not in their product line-up last year.
Just a couple of days ago, Hardware Zone received the GeForce4 Ti 4600 reference board from NVIDIA. Yes, we know it's really late, but this is Singapore, where things don't come as freely (and fast) as we would like to. Still, we're appreciative that NVIDIA helped us in getting a reference board to test before we start indulging ourselves in retail versions.
The reference board comes packed with the maximum of 128MB of DDR SDRAM memory and it comes with a second DVI output which utilizes the nView technology. Before we dive deeper, let us look at the the specifications in the next page.
The NVIDIA GeForce4 Ti 4600 reference card.