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Reviewed by: Bryan Pizzuti [09.05.02]
Manufactured by: MSI
MSRP: $199 

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FSAA performance - 3DMark2001

We've retired Unreal Tournament and the infamous THUNDER demo, in preparation for Unreal Tournament 2003 (which we haven't gotten yet, I'm sorry to say). This left us without an FSAA benchmark, so 3DMark2001SE will now have an encore performance. FSAA was set through the card's drivers rather than the benchmark program itself.

Performance seems to have improved at a steady rate here, so it doesn't look like the 4XS engine adds anything other than a new mode. You'll note that the performance decrease from Normal to 4X and Quincunx modes are similar between the cards (which is why we show normal performance in the first place). I guess FSAA still needs a bit more work.


Naturally, overclocking depends on several factors, only a few of which a user can do anything about. If luck concerning the hardiness of the GPU is in your favor, and you insure the card has sufficient cooling, overclocking can yield noticeable performance gains. However, we can't make guarantees concerning how overclockable any one GPU or brand of card is. We managed to get core only got up to 300 MHz from 250, but only got the memory running at 594 MHz (297 MHz DDR) from 500 (250 DDR). Results can and WILL vary from what we obtained, using Commanche4:

NVIDIA's Detonator40 Drivers

Well, I was just about done with this article, when NVIDIA decided to kick a beta version of their latest Detonator drivers out the door and onto their website. Naturally, I had to go grab them and see if their claims of a performance increase of up to 25% are the real thing. Oh, by the way, they also have added a few more features, and streamlined the dialog boxes a bit. I took a couple of screenshots, but basically, instead of having 7 tabs on an Additional Properties dialog, they made them slide-out entries. That's almost no streamlining at all, since you're dealing with the same dialogs (and the same number of them). However, the QuickTweak icon has been renamed the Media Icon, and now offers more direct access to AntiAliasing settings, which is a true godsend, since this is likely to be the most-often used feature of the drivers.

Anyway, we re-ran 3DMark2001 using the new drivers, and here are the basic results:

Well, the 3DMark score certainly increased, and noticeably as well. We'll take an in-depth look at NVIDIA's new Detonator40 drivers when they progress from beta to release version, but right now the performance looks promising.

Naturally, the TI4200 blows the GF3 based card out of the water...this much was expected. What wasn't expected was the amount of performance increase, especially for the price. And with the addition of VIVO and multi-monitor capabilities, this becomes a low-end professional card for video editing, which is an added bonus. There's so much that can be done with this card it's scary. And the price you pay for all of this capability is comparatively small. The ATI Radeon All-In-Wonder 8500 offers VIVO, as well as 1394 "Firewire" and a TV tuner, but it's 3D performance isn't even close to the MSI card (MSI also offers a 64 MB version of the TI4200 with a TV Tuner). The only downside I can see to this card was the inclusion of a standard analog VGA connector rather than a DVI connector and a DVI-to-VGA adapter, for those who want to use their flat-panel displays in native digital mode. But even with this omission, the card is definitely HARDCORE.

  • Fast 128 MB of RAM
  • Video-capture capability
  • 2 VGA-outs and a video-out

  • No DVI connector
  • DVI connector?
  • Really, all I can think of is the fact that it doesn't have a DVI connector!

Final Score: 90%