In order to capitalize on the market of NVidia fans that refuse to touch an ATi product as well as showcase AGP 8X before the GeForceFX was released, NVidia released chipsets based on their GeForce4 line of products. Ranging from the MX to TI range, these new chipsets are stopgap products by definition. However, they come at a decent price, and many of you may be interested in taking a peak at a card based on one of these chipsets.
Today we are looking at the from MSI. The Ti4800SE-VTD, to clear up any confusion, is simply a Ti4400 with AGP 8x capability. MSI produced this card with budget-savvy users in mind. It includes a large bundle of useful software, as well as a card that may very well suit the needs of those who want TV-Out, AGP 8x functionality, and need the best looking card they can get their mitts on. Unfortunately, the cards closest competition in both price is the Radeon 9500, which covers all of those benefits at the same price. Still, is the software bundle enough to earn this card a nod? Let's find out.
The MSI TI4800SE is a very nice looking card. Based on MSI's patented red PCB, the card is sure to garner the attention of those who see it. More unique then the color of the card is the cooling system which was designed by T.O.P Tech.
The T.O.P Tech cooler is a smaller cooler that was designed to operate quietly while remaining effective. The cooler closely resembles the same cooler used on the GeForceFX, in a much smaller, quieter form. I will elaborate on how well the cooler performed in the Overclocking section of the review. I must say that this card from MSI takes the award for best looking NVidia-based card, but just like your Mother used to say, looks aren't everything.
The Ti4800SE has three standard outputs, and support for two VGA monitors is available when using the DVI-VGA converter.
The Ti4800SE comes with plenty of accessories that mostly complement the ViVo features of the card. A breakout box that supports S-Video in and out, as well as a DVI-adapter. During testing I found the Video-out features to be sufficient for watching DiVX and games on my television, although visual quality was clearly lacking behind the Radeon 9500.
Also included in the accessories bundle was an S-Video cable and an MSI case badge. MSI has done a good job of including all of the necessary components needed to get the most out of the cards TV-out features.
MSI probably knew that the odds were stacked against them when they released this card, and they compensated by including an awesome software bundle. Whether you are interested in playing games, or watching DVD's, MSI included software just for you. My favorite title of the bunch is definitely Morrowind, especially since it takes advantage of all of the TI4800SE's power. Other titles in the bundle include Ghost Recon, Duke Nukem: The Manhattan Project, 3D Desktop, and WinDVD.
This bundle is by far the highlight of the package, as the all of the software titles by themselves would cost about the same price as MSI is selling the entire retail package for. Let's see how well the card overclocks.
Overclocking was definitely not this cards strong point, as it would only allow for a 10 MHz GPU overclock and a 20 MHz memory overclock. I am not so sure if the TOP Tech cooling solution does the job as it should, since the copper sink was extremely hot to the touch, to the point where anything over three seconds of contact could burn the skin. Since the card didn't show any visual anomalies at stock speed, I am willing to say that MSI's cooling solution is merely adequate, but it can certainly be improved upon. I should also point out that the fan on the cooling system was fairly quiet.
Now that we have looked at the key features and overclocking prowess of the card let's see how well it handle's benchmarks when pitted against it's closest competition in both price and features, the Radeon 9500 Pro.
MSI KT4 Ultra: Athlon XP 2100+, 512 MB Corsair XMS3500, 40GB Maxtor, Windows XP SP1, MSI TI4800SE-VTD (Detonator 43.45), Sapphire Radeon 9500 Pro (Catalyst 3.2).
The test software will be as follows:
3D Mark 2001SE
Quake 3 Arena
Unreal Tournament 2003
Next Page - 3D Mark 2001SE & Quake 3 Arena