The Ti-4800 is now on the market looking for buyers. Yup, you heard that correctly, and you are probably thinking: What the heck is a GeForce4 Ti 4800? The Ti4800 is also known as the NV28. Still haven't heard of it? This GPU was recently released from nVidia, but received little press due to the highly watched NV30 development. But then again maybe nVidia did not want to waste marketing money on a product that really did not boost the Geforce 4 series performance to a level where it can compete with the ATI Radeon 9700 Pro. In the end, the NV28 is an updated NV25 core and nothing more. Updates mean improved performance, right? I guess we will soon find out if that is true!
MSI does not call their card a Ti4800 and, instead, stick to the Ti4600 name. They call their card the G4Ti4600-VT2D8X. Although it is mouthful to say, at least buyers are aware of exactly what they are buying. I put together a little chart below that will help explain what the entire name means. As you can tell, the name all makes sense after you read the chart.
|Dual DVI Support|
With that said, I'm glad to look at another MSI Top-Tech cooled video card. This series of cards comes with an awesome cooling system that we found to cool well while not damaging your hearing. This time it is the MSI Ti4600-VT2D8X, which as its name states is a Ti4600 with 8x support. This GPU was released to hold over the Geforce4 series for the long awaited release of the NV30/FX. For this review, we are going to compare the MSI Ti4600-VT2D8X to some other Geforce 4's that also have 8x AGP support. Then we will take a closer look at how the final Geforce 4 card performs when overclocked.
To find out more about MSI's many products or history please visit the MSI Site.
The box has almost the same layout as the Ti4200 8x, but we will still comment on how well the nicely laid out the box is able to cram a ton of information into a small space, but does not overwhelm the reader. Like normal, the box has no impact on the review, but we believe MSI did a great job on the visual appeal if the product was on the shelf.
Bundled with the Ti4600-VT2D8X is a very impressive assortment of software and games. It came with a total of 10 CD cases packed full with the list of software below!
Software / Utilities
- InterVideo WinProducer / WinCoder
- InterVideo WinDVD 5.1 channel
- VirtualDrive Professional
- RestoreIT Professional
- ThinSoft Be Twin – Simultaneous PC sharing software
- Trend PC-cillin 2002
- E-Color 3Deep
- MSI 3D! Turbo Experience
- MSI Live Update 2
- MSI GoodMEM
- MSI Lockbox
- MSI SecureDoc
- MSI WMI Info – System Information with WMI
- MSI 3D Desktop
- Adobe Acrobat Reader
- Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon
- Duke Nukem Manhattan Project
- The Elder Scrolls III : Morrowind (2 discs)
- The Sum of All Fears (Lite version)
- IL-2 Sturmovik (Lite version)
- Serious Sam: the Second Encounter (Lite version)
- Rally Trophy (Lite version)
- Beam Breakers (Lite version)
- Zax: The Alien Hunter (Lite version)
- Oni (Lite version)
MSI also includes a five foot S-Video cable, a DVI-I to VGA adapter, a nifty 9 pin to TV-Out connector, and a case badge. With all these included you can run dual display monitors right out of the box.
The first thing that I noticed when I first looked at this card was the red PCB and the Top-Tech cooling solution that has been implemented on this card. We found this Copper/Aluminum combination to work really well as a cooling solution on the MSI Ti4200-TD648X. On the side of the card you can see the Dual DVI out and the TV-Out/Video-in connector.
MSI put a nice sized aluminum bottom heatsink with a 50mm fan on this card that uses copper cooling fins to help cool the bottom sink. Many of you may be surprised by the fact that I said aluminum as the bottom heatsink material, but it is the truth! We are legit and a few other sites must have not paid attention.
We decided to remove the front and rear heatsinks to check how MSI applied the thermal compound. We found that everything had compound where is was needed, but three of the eight memory modules were not making contact with the aluminum heatsinks. To see how big of an impact the compound issue caused on performance please check out the overclocking section.
The above pictures show the card with the front and back heatsink removed. If you notice, a few of the 2.8ns Samsung modules have not contacted the heatsink. Also, if you notice on the bottom right photo the GPU was only about 60% covered in compound, and it too was not making contact with the heatsink bottom. The bottom left image shows you the top of the line NV28 chipset with thermal compound removed.
One of the last neat features that should be shown, but cannot be seen on the card itself is the TV-out/Video-in connector. This connector is shown below and is truly a "link to the future".
- Nvidia GeForce4 Ti 4600 8x GPU (NV28)
- 297mhz Core Speed
- 600mhz Memory Speed
- 8-layer PCB
- 2.8ns Samsung or Hynix DDR RAM
- 128mb DDR Memory
- MSI Live VGA BIOS
- MSI Live VGA Driver
- MSI 3D!Turbo Experience™!
- MSI 5.1 Channel DVD Player
- Virtual Drive 7 Professional Version
- Restore It 3 Professional Version
- MSI Foreign Language Learning Machine
- MSI 3D Desktop
- 4 dual-rendering pipelines
- 8 texels per clock cycle
- AGP 8x/4X/2X Support
Now that you have a pretty good understanding of the card, we can go ahead and see how it performs!
Benchmarks & Performance:
Our Test System:
- AMD Athlon XP 1600+ (AGOIA stepping)
- ABIT AT7-MAX2 (Enhanced settings enabled in BIOS)
- Alpha PAL 8045 w/80cfm Delta (Air Cooled)
- 256mb Corsair XMS 3500 and 512mb Corsair XMS 3200C2 (2-2-2, 1T, enhanced)
- Western Digital 30Gb ATA 100 7,200rpm
- Soundblaster Audigy X-Gamer
- Antec True Power 430W Power Supply
- ViewSonic E90fb Monitor
- MSI Ti4600-VT2D8X 128mb (8x AGP)
- MSI Ti4200-TD8X64 64mb (8x AGP)
- Albatron Ti4200P Turbo 128mb (8x AGP)
All testing was done on a fresh install of Windows XP Professional build 2600. All benchmarks were completed on the desktop with no other software programs running. For overclocking the videocards, we used the built-in overclocking feature that is included with the Nvidia 41.09 drivers. We were also using VIA Hyperion version 4.45 4in1 drivers. Our testing processor was running unlocked at 166FSB and a 10.5 multiplyer giving us a grand total of 1.75ghz. During this review, the room temperature was 25 degrees Celsius, while the case temperature was 29 degrees Celsius.
FutureMark; 3dmark2001 Second Edition, Build 330:
3DMark2001SE build 330 is the latest installment in the 3DMark series by FutureMark. By combining DirectX8 support with completely new graphics, it continues to provide good overall system benchmarks. 3DMark2001SE build 330 was created in cooperation with the major 3D accelerator and processor manufacturers to provide a reliable set of diagnostic tools. It demonstrates 3D gaming performance by using real-world gaming technology to test a system's true performance abilities. All tests were run at 1024x768 at 32 bit color and then again including 4x AA.
The first chart shows the results without AA.
This second chart shows the results using 4x AA.
Results: 3dMark2001SE build 330 shows that the MSI Ti4600-VT2D8X has no problem out performing both the standard speed MSI Ti4200 and the "Turbo" Albatron Ti4200. When all the cards are run at default clock speeds, the MSI Ti4600-VT2D8X has almost 950 more points than the "Turbo" Albatron. Although when set at 4x AA, the Ti4600 is only able to pull 471 points above the others. For the rest of this review, we will be using the Albatron Ti4200P Turbo as the competition.
Nvidia; Chameleon Mark:
Chameleon Mark is not a brand new benchmarking utility, but it still shows a video card's true capabilities. This benchmark is based upon the popular "Chameleon" demo released by Nvidia with the introduction of the GeForce3 line of GPUs. Chameleon Mark is primarily used to measure pixel shader performance for a variety of shaders.
The first graph is with the two test cards at their default settings.
The next graph looks at the performance increase when overclocked.
Results: Again the Ti4600 is able to pull ahead very nicely.
NovaLogic; Comanche 4:
The Comanche 4 benchmark demo is a unique benchmark as it represents a real-world gaming experience. It contains the single player Eagle's Talon mission from the game as well as a detailed cinematic. This DirectX 8.1 benchmark demo measures your system's performance in the standard frames per second format. On this benchmark, we tested our cards at 1024x768 x 32-bit and the audio turned off.
The first graph is with the two test cards without AA.
The next graph shows our results using 4x AA to put even more strain on the cards.
Results: Although the graphs show a big difference, only a 3 frames per second difference was observed. Believe it or not you can actually see the difference between the cards when running the benchmarks.
CodeCult; Code Creatures Pro:
The Codecreatures benchmark is written with Microsoft's DirectX 8.1 API and incorporates the use of Vertex and Pixel Shaders popular on next generation 3D accelerators. The benchmark plays a photo-realistic nature scene and calculates the performance of the graphics adapter by measuring the FPS that it can display at 1024x768, 1280x1024 and 1600x1200 resolutions. The score is a geometric mean of those three resolutions called the Codecreatures number. For this review, we tested our cards with the sound disabled. We also changed our memory to a 512mb stick of Corsair PC-3200C2 since 512mb of memory is needed for this benchmark.
The first graph is with our two test cards without AA.
Results: I really love this benchmark because it tends to push the cards harder than any other benchmark I use. I also feel that this benchmark is one of the future, since pixel shading and graphics seem to be going in this direction. Pretty numbers on this benchmark, as the MSI Ti4600-VT2D8X pulls out in front again.
That concludes our benchmarks we chose to do on the MSI Ti-4600-VT2D8X video card. Let's go on and see our final thoughts on the card.
When we got our hands on the MSI Ti4600-VT2D8X we were expecting some pretty good overclocking results since it has good cooling and 2.8ns Samsung memory. We never found the "max" of the card as it would run without locking up at any speed, but with really bad fragmentation. So we got up to 315mhz core and 702mhz memory before the scores would decrease, although on 3dmark we were receiving fragments.
We then removed all the heatsinks and found the core to be only about 60% covered with compound and a few of the memory modules to not be making contact. We cleaned off the compound and applied Artic Silver II to the GPU and memory modules. After we assembled the card we took it back apart to make sure everything was making contact, and it was.
We then ran the card again to see how it would perform now that it had the "correct" amount of compound on it. We found that the core could now go up to 318mhz, which is a 3mhz increase! As for the memory, it wouldn't budge and stayed at 702mhz. What was more impressive is that we had no fragments! Our "high" score went from 12,768 to 13,014! This was achieved by just applying Artic Silver II thermal compound and making sure everything was mounting correctly! That is a 246 point increase due to compound alone.
To sum up our overclocking section, always check your card and make sure it has enough compound! We gained a nice increase for minimal effort!
This card currently features a price tag of US ~$310 on the internet, and it features the fastest nVidia chipset on the market for a few more weeks. But, then again the Geforce FX is said to have limited production and may never hit the market. Therefore, this card might not be something bad to pick up and hold onto till the next nVidia card hits the market.
This card is without a doubt the Cadillac Escalade of current nVidia cards. It comes with 128mb DDR memory, 8x AGP, Video-In/Video-Out, Dual DVI-I, 17 utilities, 10 games, and all the cables and connectors you need to get running (except for a second DVI to VGA Connector). This is truly a feature packed package that MSI was able to put together. For those who are looking for Dual DVI's, but still want blazing fast speeds and a card that comes with a killer bundle, look no further. The Ti4600-VT2D8X is a great solution for users who do multimedia applications and some aggressive gaming.
- Good Price Point
- Huge Software Bundle
- Cost Effective High Performance
- Does Not Use a PCI slot
- Almost "Silent" For a Ti series Card
- Red PCB
- Not Enough Thermal Compound Applied