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NVIDIA GeForce4 Ti 4600 Preview
By: Mike Chambers - February 6, 2002

Overclocking

During a preview/review I shoot for a 10% overclock of both the core and memory speeds. On the GeForce4 Ti 4600 that translates into an increase in the graphics processor speed from 300MHz to 330MHz and an increase in the memory from 650MHz to 715MHz. My first attempt at running Quake 3 at the overclocked speeds resulted in the system locking up after two seconds into the timedemo. I gradually throttled back on both the core and memory speeds which became stable at 325MHz/690MHz. Not quite 10%, but close.

I ran the Quake 3 four demo with maximum quality settings and 2X antialiasing at a resolution of 1280x1024. Default clock speeds yielded 129.7 frames per second. Running with the overclocked settings upped the average frame rate to 138.5 frames per second.

The GeForce4 MX 460

On the eve of going live with this preview I had enough time left to run a few performance tests using the GeForce4 MX 460.

GeForce4 MX 460 Performance

Test Results
Quake 3 - High Quality
1024x768
No AA
187 fps
1280x1024
No AA
132 fps
1600x1200
No AA
95 fps
Quake 3 - Maximum Quality
1024x768
No AA
163 fps
1280x1024
No AA
113 fps
1600x1200
No AA
82 fps
1024x768
2X AA
101 fps
1024x768
Quincunx AA
101 fps
1280x1024
2X AA
63 fps
1280x1024
Quincunx AA
63 fps
3DMark2001
1024x768
No AA
6086
1024x768
Quincunx AA
4103

The GeForce4 MX 460 is certainly no slouch. In fact, it surpasses the GeForce3 Ti 200 in 2X and Quincunx and the GeForce3 Ti 500 in Quincunx antialiasing performance under Quake 3!

Conclusion

Keep in mind that this is a preview which concentrated on game performance and should be treated as such since four days is hardly enough time to cover the features, performance, and image quality of the GeForce4. However, based on what I've experienced thus far, it's clear that NVIDIA is advancing image quality to the next level and at the same time offering unprecedented levels of performance. Although the new 4XS antialiasing mode is only available under Direct 3D, it's provides the best image quality I've yet to see on the GeForce. Even without antialiasing, increases in performance of the GeForce4 Ti 4600 over the GeForce3 Ti 500 at high resolutions of 30-50% are common with a high-end processor.

The GeForce4 MX 460 is equally impressive in antialiasing performance, however it's hampered somewhat by the lack of a programmable transform and lighting engine. You wonder how the GeForce4 MX would perform even if it contained vertex and pixel shader capability given it's scaled back architecture compared to the GeForce4 Ti. This could offer a clue as to why NVIDIA continues to position the GeForce4 MX at the budget segment. On the other hand, how long will we have to wait for compelling games that make use of shader features? While Unreal II is right around the corner, the developers realize that high-end graphics cards are still in the minority.

I'm certain that many of our hard-core visitors will be making a transition to the GeForce4 Ti. Others will be compelled to upgrade, yet will have to weight the costs involved. Here's a piece of advice. If you're considering an upgrade, you can recover some of the value that's still left in your GeForce3 by putting it up for sale.

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Last Updated on February 6, 2002

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