One quick glance at these graphics cards leaves little doubt that these two products are meant to handle unusually high frequencies for a GeForce4 Ti 4200. Seemingly in an effort to satisfy any doubters, both companies overclock the cards straight from the factory. Users should be reminded that although overclocking is especially safe when the proper measures are taken, you do risk doing permanent damage to your hardware if you deviate from those measures. When done correctly, overclocking is a fun and rewarding experience, which can save you a great deal of money in the end.
ABIT GEFORCE4 TI 4200 OTES
Looking at the Abit GeForce4 Ti 4200 OTES, we find a stock core frequency of 275MHz. As such, the graphics core is running 25MHz faster than the default 250MHz value for a GeForce4 Ti 4200. More importantly, the core is now running within 25MHz of the high-end GeForce4 Ti 4600. This should be no surprise considering the vast majority of vendors are using the same A3 stepping found on the GeForce4 Ti 4600 throughout their GeForce4 Ti product lines. In addition, the efficient OTES heatsink assembly ensures that the core remains as cool as possible, providing all the headroom the core can have for overclocking.
The memory modules for the Abit OTES card are also overclocked. By default, the 64MB versions of the GeForce4 Ti 4200 typically feature lower latency memory modules. As a result, 64MB versions usually come from the factory running at 500MHz compared to the 445MHz typically seen with the 128MB version. Here, Abit has chosen to "take it up a notch" by utilizing 3.6ns memory modules and bumping the memory frequency up to 550MHz.
After some extensive stability tests using a variety of benchmarks and games, the maximum overclocked frequencies I could reach was an impressive 305/600 combination. Overall, that leaves us within 50MHz of the GeForce4 Ti 4600 for a bargain price! Though the performance advantage the overclocked settings provide is illustrated throughout the benchmarks, I imagine there are a few people who would be interested in seeing how they effect 3DMark2001 scores. Here, we find a good increase across the board which enables us to gain an additional 400 points overall.
EK ARGOS GEFORCE4 TI 4200 "SPECIAL EDITION"
Given the components found on the EK Argos Ti 4200 "Special Edition", I anticipated some stellar overclocking results. From the factory, the EK graphics card comes with a stock core speed of 290MHz. You read that correctly, EK has already set the card to within 10MHz of the GeForce4 Ti 4600 frequency. Although a very unusual and somewhat bold move on their part, we must remember that these cards are al based upon the A3 cores. As such, reaching the 300MHz core speed should be a relatively easy task.
The most impressive aspect of the EK Argos Ti 4200 "Special Edition" would have to be the memory modules. Here, EK has really gone the extra mile by including 3.3ns BGA type memory. When combined with the low noise 8-layer PCB from the GeForce4 Ti 4600, the engineers at EK are able to clock this memory at a stunning 606MHz as a stock value! As one could expect, the memory modules produce a fair amount of heat at these speeds. In order to combat rising temperatures, EK has placed passive memory heatsinks on every memory modules on the card. A black anodized set graces the modules on the top of the card, while tin looking heatsinks somewhat similar to those made by Tweakmonster adorn the modules on the bottom of the card.
Realizing how many components this budget card shares with the GeForce4 Ti 4600, there was little doubt in my mind that this card would overclock especially well. However, as I began raising frequencies (above what is already an incredible level for a GeForce4 Ti 4200) I was not prepared for the results. With this card, I was able to reach an astonishing 330/730 combination!
At this level, the card is clocked well beyond the stock frequencies of a GeForce4 Ti 4600. You can imagine how anxious I was to see how this large jump would translate into performance. After running 3DMark2001, I was stunned to see such an enormous performance increase over standard GeForce4 Ti 4200 speeds, which allowed me to reach the fastest score posted for my specific configuration.