After all is said and done, we find ourselves with a very capable video card. Granted, there are several flavors out there that will kick the Radeon 9500 Pro into the dirt, but how many of us can really afford to shell out US$300-400 for a video board? With this in mind, we still find ourselves with a very capable video card.
Many folks have jumped on the ATI based boards lately because of driver support. While I certainly agree that ATI doesn't come out with as many driver choices as nVidia, they have still managed to put out some very workable versions. Better yet, they don't tend to cause instability in your system like the Detonators sometimes can. Just make sure that you don't use anything older than the 2.25 Catalyst drivers and you should find yourself sitting very well in this area.
Something else to consider is price. Looking around the Internet, I found prices to be roughly US$155 for the GeForce4 Ti4200-8x and US$180 for the Sapphire Radeon 9500 Pro. While the Radeon board is slightly higher, it also offered higher performance numbers in a majority of the categories during the tests we ran.
A final consideration is overclockability. Basically, the nVidia boards overclock very well and the ATI boards do not. But then, I have been seeing a lot of information lately about a simple hack that can make the 9500 boards work like their bigger brothers the 9700 series boards. This will, of course, immediately void a warranty, but then so will overclocking. Either of these will result in wickedly higher numbers, so the choice is really yours as to which method you want to follow.
Bottom line...If you happen to be in the market for a new video board but find yourself on a limited budget, then do yourself a favor and look at the Sapphire card. It offers a very viable 3D solution to users who find themselves tired of the nVidia hype and does so at a reasonable price.
Excellent performance for a low-cost board
128MB DDR memory
Digital - CRT converter
Very limited overclockability
No memory sinks
Rating - 9/10
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