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Gainward GeForce PowerPack! Ultra/650-8X XP “Golden Sample” - Page 1 Of 17

Overclocking and Conclusion

Let's touch upon some overclocking abilities of the card. As mentioned before, the board uses Samsung's TSOP2 DDR RAM which isn't as good as BGA. By default the card is clocked 250MHz core and 513MHz memory. When you click the 'Enhanced Mode Settings' button in the EXPERTool the clocks will hop into higher gear: 270MHz 540MHz respectively. We've used 3DMark2001SE and UT2003 to test the changes. Here are some of the results from overclocking the card using the EXPERTool (We bypassed the 'Enhanced Mode Settings' and went a bit higher).

Test bed: Gainward GeForce PowerPack! Ultra/650-8X XP “Golden Sample” + Athlon XP 1900+ @ 1.6GHz with AGP8X/AGP/SSE/3DNOW!

3DMark2001SE 1024x768 / 32bit:

At stock speeds = 10665
At 285MHz / 585MHz = 10892 (not much of a difference here)

UT2003 1024x768 4AA-NoAF:

At stock speeds = 61 FPS
At 275MHz / 570MHz = 65FPS (no artifacts)
At 280MHz / 580MHz = 69FPS (no artifacts)
At 295MHz / 695MHz = 71FPS (very few artifacts, IQ = okay)
At 300MHz / 600MHz = UT2003 failed to run the entire test.
At 310MHz / 570MHz = UT2003 failed to run the entire test.

UT2003 1280x1024 NoAA-NoAF:

At stock speeds = 96 FPS
At 285MHz / 590MHz = 110FPS (no artifacts, good IQ)
At 290MHz / 590MHz = 112FPS (very few artifacts, IQ = okay)
At 290MHz / 595MHz = UT2003 failed to run
At 290MHz / 600MHz = UT2003 failed to run
At 310MHz / 570MHz = UT2003 failed to run the entire test.

Looks like 285MHz core / 285MHz memory seems to be the most stable (and safe) overclock we could get out of this card. Not much, but it will give you some boost when needed. If you are planning on buying Gainward GeForce PowerPack! Ultra/650-8X XP “Golden Sample” just for overclocking you will probably be a bit disappointed. At least try to find a version with BGA RAM chips.

Closure

As stated in the introduction, the review is directed towards gamers looking for a mid-range graphics card. Let's face it, not everyone has the money to buy the latest / greatest video cards. Over the past years, Gainward has proven that they aren't "the new kids on the block" when it comes to video cards. There is a lot of competition which is trying very hard to impress us with their products. Some put fancy cooling solutions, some simply combine quality components with great customer support. In the end there are no losers or winners. Most of the cards in the same class (in our case Ti4200) perform similarly. When you are shopping for a video card (or any system component), you should first ask yourself how you will use the card, what kind of bundle you are looking for and what kind of support you may need.

The Gainward GeForce PowerPack! Ultra/650-8X XP “Golden Sample” is a great choice for all-around video experience. Whether you are an avid gamer or an enthusiast you will be very satisfied with this video card. Not all manufacturers provide fully functional ViVo solution in their cards. All Gainward cards with PowerPack! tag do, including this one. So if you are into recording / editing video captures from an external device, you will be very happy with this capability. The only grievance I have with the bundle is the game included: Serious Sam: First Encounter. Don't get me wrong, it's a great game, but a bit old. Gainward has been including it for quite sometime now.

Comparing this Ti4200 to my Ti4600 was a great experience. Despite much lower clock speeds, the card was able to push anything we threw at it. Sometimes it was losing, sometimes on par and in few cases it outperformed its faster brother. If you are looking for a Ti4200 under $170, look no further. Just don't forget to visit our forums for more resources.

Pros:

  • Great performer
  • Video In / Video Out solution
  • Great PCB design

Cons:

  • A bit low overclocking capabilities
  • TSOP2 DDR RAM
  • Serious Sam: First Encounter
  • No performance increase while in AGP8X (AGP 3.0) mode.

I hope you've enjoyed reading this review.

On A Side Note

I appologize it took that long to write the review. In the last 2-3 weeks I went through hell packing all my stuff and moving to a different place. Not to mention the problems I've been having with my car insurance. It does sound like I'm leaving doesn't it? Well sort of. I'm going back to Poland sometime in May. It will be my next rough ride.

I would like to thank Mike Chambers publicly for giving me the opportunity to be part of nVnews. He has offered me a position and trusted my doings. Mike never frowned upon me when I've done something wrong, and that did happen few times. Cheers to all the cool people I have met during the past four years. Last but not least, I'd like to thank my brother for helping me out with the benchmarks.

-volt

nVnews.net


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Last Updated on April 12, 2003

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