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MSI G4Ti4200-VTP64 graphics card
By Vijay Anand
Category : Graphics
Published by Jimmy Tang on Monday, 19th August, 2002
Rating : 5 out of 5 stars  

The Card

The foremost feature that would surely attract your attention should most likely be the cooler for the GeForce4 Ti 4200 GPU. It is identical to the ones found on many GeForce4 Ti 4400 and Ti 4600 graphics cards, which means to say that the MSI G4Ti4200-VTP64 is more than adequately cooled. Due to the design of this stock heatsink and fan combination, even the memory chips get to enjoy some of the cooling too.

Apart from cooling, this GPU cooler combination adds a very fashionable and imposing touch to the MSI G4Ti4200-VTP64, because of its red PCB and due to the size of the cooler in contrast to the card itself.

From feedback we have seen from people who own the existing model, MSI G4Ti4200-TD64, many of them reported that their cards utilized 3.6ns RAM chips. Unlike them, the MSI G4Ti4200-VTP64 in our possession used Hynix 4ns memory parts.

Darn, only 4ns RAM parts on our sample, but wait till you see our overclocking results.

Another outstanding attribute of the card, which is not common among other GeForce4 Titanium products are its dual DB-15 Analog monitor outputs. If you reflected upon all other graphics cards, be it present or past products, you would realize that apart from old offerings from Matrox, native dual analog monitor output models were not common unlike the DB-15 and DVI-I combination that has grown to become a near de-facto on most mid-to-high end consumer cards.

Of course the combination of DB-15 and DVI-I output may seem superior to many people because the DVI-I specifications has been given extra pins to also carry analog signals. Hence a DVI-I to DB-15 converter is all that is needed to hook up another analog monitor, provided that the graphics card has another RAMDAC like the GeForce4 products. This way, one would obtain 2 different interfaces, but does it really equate to being a better option? This question can be answered either way because it depends on the prospecting user. Also, many people ignore or are unaware of the fact that DVI-I connectors themselves were not meant to carry very high bandwidth and fast dot-rates required by demanding bigger CRTs set at high resolutions. What would be the net effect if one still continues using DVI-I interface to drive analog CRT monitors?

Basically, it would not be as well defined as connecting the CRT monitor to a DB-15 analog output, but fortunately the discrepancy would only be noticeable from 1600x1200 resolution or upwards. We have tried a fair share of graphics cards with DVI-I interfaces and used a converter to output the display to our high-end 17-inch CRT monitor at up to a resolution of 1280x1024. We noticed no difference at all when judged against a pure analog only DB-15 output. Therefore, we feel this would not affect the vast majority of users. Another smaller issue you might want to think about is the 'connectivity' losses that you might incur. For example, why do some CRT monitors come with the display output cable built into the casing? You guessed it, to minimize signal losses due to poor connectivity. All these lesser issues would play a vital part for serious graphics designers and those who work in the CAD / CAM line.

Look, dual analog outputs on a GeForce4 Titanium, finally! But is it your cup of tea?

If you do happen to be a part of the group of people we mentioned for whom dual large screen CRT displays would be a boon to their work, you are in luck because the MSI G4Ti4200-VTP64 is equipped with dual DB-15 analog outputs. Both of them are driven directly by dual 350MHz RAMDACs already built into the core of the GPU. The GeForce4 have come a long way in display quality when compared with the likes of the GeForce256 and they are better than ever before.

Considering the present state of DVI-I connectivity, it is pretty much a confined arena that offers it. Many less expensive Liquid Crystal Display (LCD) panels still use the analog output method only. Some LCD panels that do offer the DVI-I connectivity do not fair any better than their own analog output because of the implementation. After all, the DVI interface is fairly young in contrast to the established DB-15 VGA output, but well developed LCD panels with a carefully implemented DVI interface can make a difference, which will most likely put a hole in your wallet too. Considering all this, the MSI G4Ti4200-VTP64, which does not have a DVI-I interface, is no big loss. Of course if you are absolutely picky about this, you could always consider another model that offers DVI-I such as the TD-64 variant.

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