If I were to formulate an accurate depiction of this cards overall performance, I needed a system that wouldn't introduce any bottlenecks in applications, games, and benchmarks. As such, I would have to maximize the CPU frequency and memory bandwidth. With the ever increasing speed of the latest generation of graphics cards, these two factors are the most common bottlenecks and can dramatically inhibit the performance of the card. Fortunately, a new system managed to find its way into my hands and would serve this review extremely well.
The following configuration represents the system used for all testing purposes:
Intel 2GHz P4 Northwood
Intel D850EMV2 motherboard
256MB Samsung PC800
Western Digital 20GB ATA66 HDD
XFX 128MB GeForce4 Ti 4200
Detonator XP Beta Driver Version 30.30
Rivatuner Version 2 RC11
Gateway 15” LCD
Panasonic 17” PF70 flat-screen CRT
Sound Blaster Audigy
Windows XP Professional / DirectX 8.1
The original hard drive I had planned on using became inoperable due to a catastrophic failure. The drive in question was a Seagate 40GB 7200RPM Barracudda which supported ATA100 transfer rates. As a result, a substitute drive was used in its place. Given the fact that the Western Digital drive only supports ATA66 transfer speeds, performance numbers for the system may be slightly lower than they would have been if the Seagate drive were used.
For this review, I've included traditional benchmarks along with a few new entries. This collection of benchmarks is comprised of the following:
3DMark2001 SE build 330
Quake3 Arena v1.31
Return to Castle Wolfenstein
Jedi Knight 2 - Jedi Outcast
Soldier of Fortune 2
Unreal Tournament G.O.T.Y Edition
Grand Theft Auto 3
Given the fact that some games do not include their own benchmark utility, I used FRAPS version 1.8 exclusively to record average frame rates. Using FRAPS allows me to have uniformity throughout the benchmarks. In addition, it also grants me the liberty to test "real" gaming scenarios rather than a pre-determined course. In doing so, the results should more accurately depict the type of performance you will see in a real gaming situation.
Gaming performace was measured using two different graphics settings with maximum quality sound enabled when applicable. The "low quality" setting consisted of no antialiasing and trillinear filtering with anisotropic filtering disabled. The "maximum quality" graphics setting enabled the highest level of anisotropic filtering (8X) along with the highest quality antialiasing modes - 4XS under Direct3D and 4X9 Tap under OpenGL. All benchmarks contain results using default core and memory speeds and overclocked speeds.
In order to determine an accurate impression of image quality, I tested the output of the card on high quality CRT and LCD monitors. In this case, the CRT model was a 17" Panasonic PF70 flat screen. This monitor is based upon a .24mm dot-pitch tube and can handle resolutions up to 1600x1280 at 69Hz. In contrast, the 15” LCD model is a Gateway FPD1530 that supports resolutions up to 1024x768 at 75Hz. Fortunately, this LCD has a relatively quick 30ms response time and allows gaming to be done without any negative aspects such as ghosting or blurring. It should be known that the LCD monitor is analog and does not utilize the DVI output which is present on the card. Instead, the card will be connected using the traditional HD-15 connector found on the CRT model as well.
Soldier of Fortune 2
Retun to Castle Wolfenstein
Grand Theft Auto 3
The XFX GeForce4 Ti 4200 managed to produce some of the cleanest images I have ever seen - expecially when compared to the GeForce3 Ti 200. On each monitor, the card showed no negative effects as both 2D and 3D images were crisp and vibrant. Obviously, XFX has taken measures to provide top-quality components to avoid any situations where image quality may be sacrificed.