Gainward GeForce4 Ti 4200: The First Retail 4200by Anand Lal Shimpi on May 13, 2002 2:25 AM EST
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Although the performance of NVIDIA's GeForce4 Ti 4600 is tempting enough to justify its $320+ street price tag, the market has eagerly been awaiting the release of the Ti 4200. We already showed the incredible performance of the Ti 4200 in our Sub-$200 Video Card Roundup and its stellar act has granted it the title of the best video card under $200. Only one problem remained, the card we reviewed was a NVIDIA reference board and the GPU wasn't shipping to card vendors at the time of publication.
Now that we're half-way into the month of May the first board vendors are shipping their cards. Enthusiastic users have noted the appearance of the Ti 4200 on search engines such as Price Watch as an indication that the cards were finally here, and indeed they are. We received our first retail GeForce4 Ti 4200 card late last week from Gainward; sold under the GeForce4 PowerPack! Ultra/650XP name, the Ti 4200 from Gainward is one of the first to hit the online vendor market.
We usually don't spend much time on an individual video card review but since the Ti 4200 has been so highly anticipated and the cards are just now hitting the market we felt it was worth a go.
Before we actually head into the review itself there's the on-going issue with Gainward's naming of their graphics cards. As we mentioned in our recent GeForce4 Ti 4400/4600 Roundup, Gainward has deliberately stuck to a misleading naming system for all of their NVIDIA based graphics cards. Under this naming system all GeForce4 MX and GeForce4 cards are referred to under the GeForce4 PowerPack! name. The rest of the card's name is determined by whether it is a MX or a regular GF4; in the case of an MX the card is referred to as a "Pro" otherwise it is an "Ultra." The number following the Pro or Ultra is only related to the overclocked clock speed the card ships at provided that you use Gainward's drivers, if you use NVIDIA's reference drivers your card will not run any faster than stock (you can use a separate utility to overclock it again).
Considering how well Gainward's cards have been received in the past by the press and end-users alike we'd hope that they will strongly consider revising their naming system for cards going forward.
With that out of the way, let's move on to the card.