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Making Themselves Heard: 11 GeForce4 Ti4400 and Ti4600 Cards

ViVo And Image Quality

In our last roundup of 21 GeForce3 Ti cards, we criticized the poor TV-output offered by these boards. Unfortunately, this situation has not improved with the GeForce4 family. As before, a black border frames the output on PAL TVs. The reason is that NVIDIA's drivers still offer no overscan options for changing the output size, even though the encoder chips found on the cards would support such a feature. Also, the output quality isn't on par with what we're used to seeing from notebook chips, for example. At least the GeForce4 Ti boards can now output images to both the monitor and the TV simultaneously using different refresh rates, thanks to the second RAMDAC. Again, nView comes in very handy in this mode.

The recording capabilities of cards with Video-In functionality are quite good. During our tests, each of the boards was able to record a four-minute video with sound at 640x480 without dropping frames or parts of the sound.

The image quality offered by some cards shows a very different picture altogether, though - quite literally. On our reference monitor, an Iiyama Vision Master Pro 511, the output of a few of our review samples lacked the crispness and clarity one would expect from a card of this caliber at a resolution of 1600x1200 at 85Hz. Some even showed shadows and ghosted images. This is unacceptable for any card considered to be a high-end product. NVIDIA is aware of this problem and has promised to address it through stricter reference design requirements.

The following table lists our subjective ranking of the cards' image quality on our reference monitor:

CardImage Quality1600x1200/85HzNote
ABIT Siluro GeForce4 Ti44002slightly unsharp
ASUS GeForce4 Ti44003unsharp
ASUS GeForce4 Ti46003unsharp
Chaintech GeForce4 Ti4600 SE4unsharp
Gainward GeForce4 PP! U 750XP2slightly unsharp
Leadtek WinFast A250 TD2slightly unsharp
MSI GeForce4 Ti44005unsharp, ghosting
MSI GeForce4 Ti46002slightly unsharp
PNY GeForce4 Ti46004unsharp
VisionTek GeForce4 Ti44005unsharp, ghosting
VisionTek GeForce4 Ti46002slightly unsharp

Rating from 1 (very good) to 6 (worse); Those results may differ on other Monitors!!