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Reviewed by: Bryan Pizzuti [04.22.02]
Manufactured by: Chaintech



Normally I don't do this. Normally I HATE to do this, much less WRITE about it. But the huge, heavy heatsink on this video card just BEGS the question of whether it would help in overclocking this card and dissipating the extra heat away.  Besides, the whole draw to the Ti200 is the ability to clock it at higher speeds, at a lower price.  Many of our readers are expecting at LEAST GeForce 3 speeds, with some looking to go all the way to Ti500 speeds (or beyond?)

If you really know what you're doing, and are willing to accept the inherent risks, it's possible to squeeze a little extra performance from some video chips. In truth, when the Hercules 3D Prophet 4500 Kyro2 shipped, each one was overclocked, since Hercules made them 175 MHz, but PowerVR would only guarantee the chips up to 166 MHz. Overclocking means a chip WILL generate more heat than it used to, and that heat has to be drawn away, or it will damage the chip. With the huge heatsink/fan assembly on this Chaintech SE, I was able to get the core all the way to 233 MHz. Not only that, but the RAM chips stayed stable at 237 MHz DDR< which is effectively 475 MHz (which, incidentally, is what PowerStrip reports it as). I think I ended up pretty lucky with this card, since these numbers are near to a GeForce3 TI500, which clocks at 250 MHz in the GPU core, and 250 MHz DDR (500 MHz effective) RAM.

The question is, how much of an improvement did this give performance? To find out, I re-ran 3DMark2001 at 1024x768x32 and got the following:

700 3DMarks isn't terribly shabby at all. But only one test doesn't quite prove anything. While I ran the benchmarks we just published, I also took benchmarks under Commanche4 for my records. We can't use it in this review to compare to the Kyro2 GPU, because the benchmark requires hardware T&L, which the Kyro2 doesn't have. So I also ran Commanche4 after the overclock (incidentally, since this is a fairly stressful mark, I was using this to check the stability of the card as I clocked it up). Here is the result.:

After seeing this mark, trust me, bringing the average up an entire frame per second, is pretty good. This is a very intensive benchmark both for the GPU and video memory, as well as the host CPU, I believe. We have another such benchmark, based on CodeCreatures that we will be debuting soon which will most likely post even lower average frames-per-second.

The point here is, it IS possible to get a bit more performance out of a GPU AT TIMES, though there is no guarantee. There are probably some TI200 chips out there that can't go a few MHz more than 175 MHz without becoming unstable. But if you're willing to find out, it might be worth it. Then again, it might not.

The GeForce3 TI200 core may be on it's way out, but it's still a good performer. And with it retailing less than $150, it's a great buy at this point, especially with hardware support for all of DirectX8's advanced functions. Without this hardware support, the Kyro2 is no longer competitive in current and upcoming games, though it does well enough in older games.

The question is, will the GeForce3 series be competitive with the new value/mainstream GPUs from NVIDIA, the GeForce4MX chips? That we can't answer until we receive one for review, which we expect soon. Until then though, the GeForce3TI200 is a value that probably shouldn't be passed up. And think about how wonderful it would look in a newly modded case with a plexiglass side-window! Worthy of Geoff's attention for sure.

  • Huge pretty heatsink
  • Support for DirectX8 features
  • Prices dropping now that GF4 cards are out

  • Not exactly cutting-edge
  • There are some GF4MX cards out there for less money

Final Score: 90%