NVIDIA’s GeForce4 Ti graphics chipset, which was announced in February, ushered in an era of gaming that allowed us to use a greater number of high quality graphics options in the games we play. When people ask me what settings I use for gaming, more often then not I’ll say something like "take the settings to the max, or close to them, add a dash of anisotropic filtering, and sprinkle on some antialiasing." If you want to turn 3D graphics quality up a notch or two, then the GeForce4 Ti is for you.
We’ve read the accounts in Mike's GeForce4 Ti 4200 preview and Scott's Leadtek GeForce4 Ti 4400 review about the improvement in the implementation of antialiasing over the GeForce3 - the increased performance, a new 4XS mode that works under Direct3D, and a noticeable decrease in texture blurring with Quincunx antialiasing. I'm not going to delve into the depths of these technologies as both reviews already cover the improvements.
The majority of GeForce4 Ti based graphics cards make use of NVIDIA’s reference design for component placement which leads to many identical products from the plethora of add-on card manufacturers. However, this situation can be beneficial as purchasing a GeForce4 will elevate the performance of your system to the same degree, be it from a reputable add-on manufacturer or a smaller, lesser known one.
The launch of the GeForce3 saw add-on manufacturers with identical offerings and early adopters of the technology purchased their graphics cards based on availability. Asus was one of a few add-on manufacturers thinking outside of the box as they released two variations of the GeForce3. With the launch of the GeForce4, add-on manufacturers took steps to diversify their products in the form of output options (Dual DVI, Dual VGA, VGA & DVI), software bundle, cooling system, and cosmetics (color of the circuit board). What made eVGA’s e-GeForce4 Ti 4600 unique was its ACS2 cooling solution, video-in and out (VIVO) features, and the Step-Up program.
eVGA's Step-Up Program
The Step-Up program is the most attractive and unique feature of eVGA’s top-of-the-line products, but is only offered several weeks before a new product launch during the pre-order time period. They've been offering this program since the launch of the GeForce3 and it allows customers to upgrade to NVIDIA’s newest graphics chipsets within a 2-year period while having to only pay the difference in price (if there is one).
For example, Joe pre-orders eVGA's e-GeForce4 Ti 4600 at a cost of $399. Eight months later, the next generation NV30 debuts and is priced at $449. Joe returns the GeForce4 Ti 4600, pays the additional $50, and receives a brand new graphics card. How awesome is that? No need to worry about selling your previous card at a dramatically reduced price since eVGA accepts the card at the same price you paid for it. And what if the new graphics card is priced at $399? I’d sure love that free upgrade!