NVIDIA GeForce2/3 Titanium Roundup - January 2002by Matthew Witheiler on January 30, 2002 9:33 PM EST
- Posted in
Deciding on what graphics chip is right for your system is a daunting task. How long do you plan on keeping a card? Do you want the fastest, the cheapest, or the most stable card out there? Do you have a company preference? All of these questions come to mind when determining which GPU to choose and the answers to these questions are often not easy to determine.
Once you know what graphics chip you want to power your video card, the task of choosing a video card does not get all that much easier for the conscientious consumer. Sure, one could just go down to his/her local Best Buy or CompUSA and pick the first card that is there, but more often than not there is a better solution out there. Luckily for you, we have done the hard work in determining which card in a series is the best.
When reading, please keep in mind that all the cards within a group are very similar. All of the cards included in this roundup make good Titanium solutions, so we are therefore forced to choose winners and losers based on very minor points. We are, in fact, comparing apples to apples; however when the apple can ring up at $300 plus, we are allowed to be a bit picky.
With this in mind, let's start with the GeForce2 Ti 200 cards. Overall the Gainward GeForce2 Ti/500 XP VIVO Golden Sample gets our recommendation for best GeForce2 Ti 200 card. Although the three cards we compared are relatively similar, the Gainward GeForce2 Ti/500 XP VIVO Golden Sample offers some clear advantages over the others. These advantages are: price, features, and clock speed.
As far as price is concerned, the Gainward GeForce2 Ti/500 XP VIVO Golden Sample tied for the most expensive GeForce2 Ti 200 card that we tested, however it was only $10 more pricey than the competition. On the feature front, the Gainward GeForce2 Ti/500 XP VIVO Golden Sample holds a distinct advantage over its competitors, as the card offers full VIVO functionality. Finally, the fact that the card comes off the shelf overclocked (without the use of any special drivers or utilities) is a huge plus that gives the Gainward GeForce2 Ti/500 XP VIVO Golden Sample the performance that every GeForce2 Ti 200 should offer out of the box. For these reasons, the Gainward GeForce2 Ti/500 XP VIVO Golden Sample wins the AnandTech Editors Choice Gold Award for best GeForce2 Ti 200 based card.
Moving on to the GeForce3 Ti 200 cards we find that our consistent field has expanded to four cards. Of the four tested, we have to pick the Gainward GeForce3 PowerPack !!! Ti/450 as the best GeForce3 Ti 200 card. Naming problems aside, the Gainward GeForce3 PowerPack !!! Ti/450 offers very few things that the competitors don't, but most of what the card has to offer is speed.
From what we saw in the lab, as well as what we have been hearing from readers, the Gainward GeForce3 PowerPack !!! Ti/450 has no problem being overclocked to GeForce3 Ti 500 speeds and beyond. Installing Gainward's own drivers instead of the latest NVIDIA drivers resulted in a software overclock out of the box. Things really get fast when a third party utility, such as PowerStrip, is used to up the clock speed even more. As a result of its extreme overclockability (our card was actually able to overclock to levels above GeForce3 Ti 500 speeds) and nice price (it is also priced at least $50 less than a GeForce3 Ti 500 card), the Gainward GeForce3 PowerPack !!! Ti/450 wins the AnandTech Editors Choice Gold Award for best GeForce3 Ti 200 based card.
Finally we come to the highest Titanium card offered: the GeForce3 Ti 500. Once again our playing field has grown, as the number of GeForce3 Ti 500 cards compared in this review totaled 10. Choosing the best one was difficult, but in the end we have to go with the MSI G3Ti500 Pro-VT. Sure, the card may be a bit more expensive than the competition, but when you are spending over $300 on a video card there should be no reason to skimp.
We loved the VIVO features as well as the hardware monitoring capabilities of the MSI G3Ti500 Pro-VT. In our tests the card did perform a bit warmer than the competition, however the increase in core temperature did not seem to hinder overclockability. Even without the VR glasses included in the box the MSI G3Ti500 Pro-VT would have maintained its slight edge over the competition. Due to its great feature set, good overclocking performance, and non-obscene price, the MSI G3Ti500 Pro-VT earns the honor of receiving the AnandTech Editors Choice Gold Award for best GeForce3 Ti 500 based card.