When we first got our hands on the GeForce4 Ti4600, we were somewhat excited, until we realised that we actually had nothing worth playing on it. But hang on a tick, what's all this? Morrowind, you say? Grand Theft Auto? Jedi Knight II? Doom III? Just as I think I'm shot of this staggeringly unkempt platform I have to find something new to drive it. Fortunately, NVIDIA has leapt to the front of the market again, replacing the soothing images of the budget Radeon 8500LE at the top of the thrifty pile with its own GeForce4 Ti4200. If ever there were a card to go in my own PC, this is it. Memories of the poorly performing GeForce4 MX are quickly forgotten. Here we have a proper hotrod of a 'budget' card, boasting the whole GeForce4 feature set with a 250MHz GPU (compared to 300MHz in the Ti4600), 64Mb of 250MHz DDR SDRAM (compared to 128Mb of 375MHz DDR SDRAM), and, depending on which manufacturer you go with, a price tag of roughly £150 (compared with the asking price of two houses, a yacht, and a golf club membership). Not bad at all. If you need a quick recap of what makes a GeForce 4 tick, it's best you give our previous feature a quick going over, but when it comes to the new kid, you're probably wondering how it copes with some of the most recent PC releases. In a word, economically; it pipped the Radeon 8500LE to the post in virtually every test we threw at it. Jedi Knight II gave us a few more frames at higher resolutions, and with Serious Sam 2 there was virtually no contest. Although the most recent Radeon drivers at the time of writing are an improvement, the current official NVIDIA driver release, version 28.32, gave our 32-bit colour Windows XP system an advantage of nearly 40 frames per second in 800x600, and more than 20 in 1024x768. Return to Castle Wolfenstein was a closer run thing, but there was still only one winner, and it was the card with the sillier name - an equally close run thing. And although we can't benchmark it, Morrowind performance was virtually the same on both cards, as it was with Grand Theft Auto. Both games ran with virtually no slowdown in their default display modes, and cranking up the detail didn't seem to do any harm. Whether or not NVIDIA's GeForce4 Ti4200 will be able to cope with Doom III late next year is difficult to say. But it's a fast card which does everything its bigger and more expensive siblings can do for the (relatively) trifling matter of £150. More expensive alternatives - not yet on the market - will include extras like DVI (digital video interface) output and video out, as our reference board did, adding to the impressive array of features already on offer. If you've been putting off that graphics card upgrade, now might be the time to do it. Various GeForce4 Ti4200 cards are now available in the UK from e-tailers Scan and Dabs amongst others, with prices ranging from £135 on up. Related Feature - GeForce4 Ti4600 review
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