A Dozen Videocards, a Dozen Months
Hi, This week we are going all out on
videocards! A full years worth in fact. With the industry
eagerly awaiting the highest of high end videocards, the GeForceFX aka
NV30, and ATi's R350 the spring is going to be good. However, with the
lack of any real titles to stress these videocards, it might make more
sense for the rest of us to choose something that is a little more down to
earth, and not as brand-spanking-new.
So without further delay, this weeks
newsletter presents a dozen videocards for you to read about - everything
from the 8XMX440 - to the latest and greatest 8XTi4200 hybrid.
We really liked the original MSI G4Ti4600-VTD but probably its biggest
downside was a rather plain looking appearance (if you can call that a flaw).
Style plays a key role in today's computer hardware market and the older plain
green G4Ti4600-VTD is the technical equivalent of bell bottoms. To be
honest it was a bit surprising to see that MSI's first GeForce4
Ti4600 was using the green PCB - after all their previous flagship videocard
the G3Ti500-VTG was a rather spiffy red, and so are most
of MSI's motherboards. The new Champion Edition G4Ti4600-TD is not red
but purple in colour! Using the same shiny GPU cooler,
the videocard does look very fancy.
Read the Rest...
|ATI All in Wonder Radeon 8500
128 MB Edition
||ATI Radeon 8500 Videocard
ATi has carved out quite a niche market
with their All in Wonder videocard; they offer great flexibility
that often rivals mid-level professional video editing systems, but
with ease and use any consumer can appreciate. ATi's All in Wonder
(AIW for short) Radeon 8500DV is clocked slower (240 MHz core/340
MHz memory) then the standard Retail ATi Radeon 8500 (275 MHz
core/550 MHz memory) videocard however ATi knows that most consumers
looking at the AIW Radeon 8500DV aren't too concerned about 3D
Read the Rest...
The card had immense potential, and with such a
powerful chip it should have done well but in true ATi fashion the
8500 was plagued with driver problems. With subsequent driver
updates the card got better and better, and now it's performance is
even better than the GeForce3 Ti500 in certain benchmarks! ATI built
in support for DirectX 8.1 features so the Radeon 8500 is still one
of the most advanced videocards on the market today. Yes, even more
advanced than the GeForce4 Ti line of videocards!
Gamers have always held Gainward in high
regard because they openly embrace the overclocking community, and provide
software such as "EXPERTools" which can overclock the card with the push
of a button. Supporting overclocking in this way gives Gainward a little
more control over what settings are used, so hopefully less cards will be
fried in the process. One pet peeve I have with the Gainward GeForce 4
PowerPack GS Ultra/750XP surrounds it's somewhat confusing name which is
really too long. With so many different varieties of GeForce 4 videocards
out there - from the GeForce 4 MX420 to the GeForce 4 Titanium line - one
can often get lost in the sea of nomenclature.
|SiS Xabre600 Reference
||ECS AG400 SiS Xabre 400
|When SiS released the Xabre400 GPU
earlier this year, it was a huge step forward for budget-minded
Based on a 0.13 micron technology core running
at 300 MHz the new Xabre600 is an evolutionary advancement of the
older 250 MHz 0.15 micron process, Xabre400 core. The Xabre600 reference card we are examining
is backed up with 64MB of DDR memory. The memory is made by
Hynix and runs in sync with the GPU at 300 MHz
- what SiS call the "Duo300". The Xabre600 boasts Pro8x8,
so like it's predecessor, it is both DirectX8 compatible and 8x
Read the Rest...
SiS is very hot at the moment and seems to be very
much on the ball in terms of producing chipsets. It all started
about a year ago with the release of the SiS 735 chipset for the
Athlon and has simple grown from there. That chipset was the fastest
thing when it came out, totally dominating the competition however
SiS's success was not limited to AMD platforms alone, their
645/645DX also was very powerful and popular. When SIS recently
announced the Xabre line of Graphics chipsets the hardware community
greated the news with some skepticism.
Read the Rest...
For half of the price of nVIDIA's
high-end GeForce4 Ti4600 videocard, you can grab yourself
90% if its performance with a GeForce4 Ti4200 based card. There's
really no argument about which GPU has been the best value in 2002;
the GeForce4 Ti4200 sits on that thrown, and rightly so. Now if you
ask any computer enthusiast which GeForce4 Ti4200 to get, you'd no
doubt hear the name "Albatron" mentioned more than once. Albatron's original Ti4200P-Turbo videocard took the
hardware community by storm. The card combined a Ti4400/4600 PCB and
3.3ns memory so well that many enthusiasts could overclock it well
past Ti4600 levels.
Even though the GeForce4 Ti line of videocards
are no longer the fastest on the market, the GeForce4 Ti4200 is still
easily the best value
GPU around. With so much competition, manufacturers are
finding it increasingly difficult to differentiate themselves from their rivals. To
start things off, the Albatron GF4 Ti4200P Turbo uses the same 8-layer PCB design as GeForce4 Ti4400/Ti4600
videocards. It has a very impressive and well designed GPU heatsink (which
we'll get into later), some flashy memory sinks, TV-Output (using the
Phillips 7104E) and finally a DVI output. It seems that Albatron has taken
a liking to the blue PCB's, and I for one say they look pretty awesome!
|Albatron GeForce4 MX440
||Asus V8200Ti500 Pure Videocard
Alba... who? You're forgiven for not knowing who Albatron is
even though they're not exactly a new company. Like most other
manufacturers, have already adopted nVidia based videocards. The
Albatron GeForce4 MX440 videocard is
a no frills videocard targeted towards the budget conscious gamer.
Based on the reference nVidia GeForce4 MX440, the Albatron MX440
doesn't have many features.
While almost every other has
been content to use the reference designed GeForce3 Ti500, Asus has
always been an innovative company willing to do things their way. In
usual form, Asus have released two models of the V8200Ti500, the
pure version which is a no frills videocard (which is what we're
reviewing today) and the Deluxe model. As both cards use the same
PCB layout it's much cheaper for Asus to manufacturer the cards,
only adding the necessary components to bring the Deluxe version some
TV in/out and S-Video for example.
| Colin's Weekly Tech Tips|
|Turn off File Sharing|
While I like WindowsXP very much, it
does have a few quirks that bug me quite a bit... Probably one
of my bigger qualms with WinXP is that Simple File sharing is
enabled by default. It poses just too large of a security risk IMO
and it also does not work very well. Luckily it's easy to turn off!
Open up your Windows Explorer and go to
the Tools menu and choose Folder Options. From there click the View
Tab and uncheck the Use simple file sharing
(Recommended) and click the Ok button. Now when you click the
sharing tab when trying to share devices you will get a more
detailed control like you see in Windows 2000.
Please note, this tweak only works with
WindowsXP Pro and not Home
|Colin's Tips Archives | The PCStats.com Forums|
|ATI Radeon 9700 Pro 8X AGP
||Introducing the Matrox
When ATi didn't counter nVIDIA's GeForce4
Ti GPU release with a new product of their own earlier this year
many people speculated that trouble was afoot in the same way that
Matrox has been faltering. To counter the gossip, ATI publicly
stated that they didn't see any value in revising the old R200
(Radeon 8500) core to compete against nVIDIA's new
offering. The only thing interesting on the back of the Radeon
9700 videocard is the little aluminum strip. According to ATI, this
piece of metal is merely for EMI shielding since the Radeon 9700
Pro's power plant can generate quite a bit of EMI signal
In recent times, Matrox and video games technology
have not exactly gone hand in hand so it was with a lot of
anticipation that the information about the Parhelia was analysed.
Given that the Millennium G400 came out in May of 1999, Matrox have
been essentially upgrading the same basic GPU all the way up to the
G550. After seeing the advanced features they touted for their G400
card, (hardware bump mapping, etc.) made quickly obsolete by a flood
of products from Nvidia and ATI offering similar features and
significantly faster 3D performance, Matrox apparently gave up on
the gamers market.
The Last Word: Send your friends to our
brand spanking new PCstats.com Newsletter
where they can get their very own newsletter. The URL to pass on is:
|The High Tech Low
Did someone say 'Barton?' Rumor has it - and
reliable sources confirm - that the successor to
'Thoroughbred' core is being readied this very moment for an early February launch. Armed with 512KB of Level 2 cache, the new Athlon XP will be able to complete more aggressively against the Pentium 4 without relying solely on frequency increases. While 'Barton' processors are physically able to interface with any Socket 462 motherboard, it sounds like only a select few will be able to support the chip at launch, at least until the other manufacturers are able to release the necessary BIOS updates. Word has it that the initial speed grade of the new core will be set to compete against the 3.06GHz Pentium 4, though actual megahertz numbers still haven't been disclosed. Looking even further into the future, it
sounds like ATI is putting the finishing touches on
R350. Call is a hunch or even a sound tip, but I think we'll be
hearing more from ATI about its next-generation
part sooner than later. Then again, before we see anything else from
ATI, NVIDIA will be unveiling its NV31 and NV34
value and mainstream graphics processors, which are believed to
complete with ATI's
RADEON 9500/9700 family. Until next week...
Killer Hardware Poll:
What hardware do you want most in 2003?
(Athlon64 in the
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