Prolink GeForce4 MX440 -
Prolink GeForce4 MX440 -SpecificationsYep...the White Paper section of the write-up. While I can sympathize with those who don't really care much about the internal workings of the board, it is important that we have a solid idea as to the overall capabilities of the card. So here's what this baby is all about:Graphics Engine: nVidia GeForce4 MX440 GPUGPU Clock: 275MHzMemory: 64MB DDR (6.4GB/sec Bandwidth)Memory Speed: 400MHz (200MHz DDR)Fill Rate: 1.1 Billion texels/secTriangle/sec: 34 MillionRAMDAC: 350MHzMaximum Resolution: 2048x1536 (16-bit color @ 75Hz)Bus Standard: AGP 2x/4xTV-Out: 1024x768Special Features:- nView Display Technology- Lightspeed Memory Architecture II- Advanced AccuView Antialiasing- Video Processing EngineThe GeForce4 MX line of video boards are a design that is aiming at the budget conscious among us. I found it to be a board of compromises, so you'll have to decide whether or not it fits within your personal requirements for a performance board.While testing this board, I was rather concerned when I discovered that it had no hardware support for DirectX 8. While this isn't a huge issue right now, there are some games getting ready to hit the streets that will require this feature to get the best performance in the game (can you say Doom III?). It also doesn't support per-pixel shading either, so again, some of the newer games getting ready to come to market won't play at their best on this board.It did, however, manage to have a much cleaner graphics output than any video card that I've seen. The lines were crisper, and the flow of the content was always consistently smooth. It also did very well with high-polygon scenes.So there are strong points to this board as well as a couple of weaknesses, but with an entry fee that is pretty affordable for a brand new technology (approx. US$130), we'll see if it is a fair trade-off towards the end of the review.
Prolink GeForce4 MX440 -The Card
Prolink GeForce4 MX440 -Software Bundle
Prolink GeForce4 MX440 -TestingAll right... let's find out what this little gem can do now, shall we? We know what we can expect to find in the box, we know what features that it supports, all that's left is to see some hard numbers to compare against. But first, let's take a look at what kind of system it will be running on.Test SystemEPoX 8KHA+AMD Thunderbird 1000 @ 1400MHz (AVIA)512MB Crucial PC2100 DDR SDRAMIBM 60GXP 40GB Hard DriveSound Blaster:LiveHitachi CM814 21" MonitorWindows XP ProfessionalVIA 4-in-1 drivers v4.37nVidia Detonator v27.20DirectX 8.1Benchmarking Utilities/Programs3dMark2000 - Default settings- All tests run3dMark2001 - Default settings- All tests runQuake III Arena - v1.11 with Demo001Quake III Arena testing was done with these settings:- GL Extensions: On- Full Screen: On- Lighting: Lightmap- Geometric Detail: Slider bar set to MAX- Texture Quality: 32 bit- Texture Filter: Tri-Linear- All "Eye Candy" enabled- 3dMark2000
Prolink GeForce4 MX440 -OverclockingOverclocking capabilities of the MX440 board were respectable, but not spectacular. The 4ns DDR memory helps out here a good bit. From the stock settings of 275/400, I was able to get it running smoothly at 300/450. Anything higher started creating graphical artifacts on the screen. This was mostly a breakdown of the colors around lighting features (numerous white spots being seen). 300/450 ran perfectly with no visual glitches at all. So while the memory is set to a slower speed than the GeForce3 cards, the core is faster.ConclusionAs I stated earlier, this chipset represents nVidia's attempt at making a solid budget graphics adapter. It is a GPU that is full of compromises. The overall quality is better than any past nVidia based card, but there is no hardware support for DirectX 8. It handles high-polygon scenes better than previous chipsets, but it can't do per-pixel shading. 3d animations flows wonderfully, but it can't do a number of other tasks that were capable of being accomplished with a GeForce3 based board.It really makes you have to ask: "Is this just a hyped-up GeForce2?" Kudos go out to Prolink for making the best of a mediocre GPU, but you can still only do what the chipset will allow you to.So, does this card represent a fair trade-off between performance and capabilities? The answer is a resounding YES. While the chipset doesn't allow for some of the newer technologies to run, the low entry fee does a very respectable job at offsetting this. When was the last time that a brand new GPU came out for just over US$100?Bottom line...If you're looking for a quality video card while on a budget (approx. US$130), and don't have a need for the hardware DirectX 8 support, then take a good look at this board. It is faster in 3d applications than the GeForce3, and has better visual quality as well. But if your wanting a card that can handle both today's and tomorrow's gaming engines, then you may want to save up your dollars for the high-end GeForce4 Ti series boards.- ProsVery good general 3d capabilitiesInexpensiveImpressive visual qualityAdded TV-Out- ConsNo hardware support for DirectX 8Unable to meet the demands of upcoming gaming titlesRating - 8.5/10
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