Leadtek A170 GeForce4 MX440 Review

We've been hearing an awful lot about the new GeForce4 MX cards, but how about from one of the big players in the overclocking world? Come join Cameron "Sov" Johnson as he takes us on a tour of the Leadtek A170 GeForce4 MX440 Video Card. Can the Leadtek folks make a winner out of a budget card? Come on in and find out.
Published Mon, Mar 11 2002 11:00 PM CST   |   Updated Tue, Apr 7 2020 12:25 PM CDT
Rating: 90%Manufacturer: Leadtek

Leadtek GeForce4 MX440 -

IntroductionnVidia is pretty much a household name for the hardware community. Ever since nVidia released its very first 3D graphics card, called the Riva 128ZX, to take on Intel i740 and S3 Savage 3D, they have had nothing but success in the 3D market. TNT, TNT2, Geforce and Geforce 2 have been among the great 3D cards of all time, and right beside them have been many multimedia companies; but none more famous then Leadtek.Leadtek was established in 1986. Since this time, they have been making computer products from motherboards to advanced 3D video cards for end users. What really put Leadtek on the map was its line of Geforce 2 cards with EliteMT memory that allowed for the most overclockable video card around. This won many appraisals out there in the hardware sector for having the most versatile and overclockable product ever. Since that time, Leadtek has focused on the enthusiast market, which is where everthing seems to be going these days. They have a rather impressive line-up with their graphics cards, and are more than renouned for their overclocking.nVidia recently introduced the latest addition to its video card line, the GeForce4. The GeForce4 series consists of three budget chipsets, the MX420, MX440 and MX460, and three high-end chipsets, the Ti4200, Ti4400 and Ti4600. Since its release, the Ti range has received a heap of praise because of its excellent performance at high resolutions, even with the highest quality settings turned on. While that is all well and good, not everyone can afford to spend about US$400 on a single component. That is where the GeForce4 MX comes in.Once again Rectron has come to our aid in presenting us with the Leadtek A170 Geforce4 MX440 video card. Time to play the game!

Leadtek GeForce4 MX440 -

Features- FeaturesnVidia GeForce4 MX440 256-bit 3D GPU64MB high-speed 128-bit DDR RAM memoryAGP 2X/4X with Fast Writes and AGP Texturing Support1 billion texels/sec. fill-rate6.4GB memory bandwidthIntegrated dual 350MHz DACs supporting two independent CRT displays at 2048 x 1536 resolution @ 75HznVidia nView technology supporting multiple displaysnVidia Lightspeed Memory Architecture II (LMA) Technology boosts effective memory bandwidthnVidia Accuview Antialiasing delivers unprecedented AA performance and quality to mainstream marketIntegrated TV encoder supporting 1024 x 768 resolution - Integrated Dual-Channel TMDS * Transmitter enables two independent LCD displays at resolutions up to 1280 x 1024nVidia Video Processing Engine (VPE) enables the highest-quality, full-frame rate, full-screen HDTV and DVD playbackAPI SupportOpenGL 1.3 and lower; DirectX 8.1 and lower- I/O Interface15-pin D-sub VGA connectorTV-out Connector (S-Video/Composite)DVI-I Supports LCD MonitorVideo-In Connector

Leadtek GeForce4 MX440 -

FeaturesThe Card
The A170 is driven by the new nVidia Geforce4 MX 440 GPU. The GeForce4 MX has copped a bit of flack lately because despite it being named a GeForce4, it is still based on the NV17 core and does not feature programmable pixel shaders or a second vertex shader like the GeForce3 and GeForce4 Ti series do. That does not mean that this chipset is just a higher clocked GeForce2 MX as it does include some great new features such as nView technology (multiple monitor support), Accuview Anti-aliasing (only present on the GeForce4), a crossbar memory controller and a Video Processing Engine (hardware DVD playback). While it may lack some the the Geforce4 features it does make up partly for this in its speeds. Running a Core Clock of 275Mhz and a memory clock of 400Mhz, the Geforce4 MX is a highly clocked card for the value market.
Though being budget oriented, the Geforce4 MX doesn't skimp out on the major componant, and that is the memory. As many hardware enthusiasts remember, the Geforce2 MX video cards featured a 128-bit SDR or 64-bit DDR memory interface. While good, this did limit the Geforce2 MX's speeds quite a bit. In order to fully appreciate the Geforce4 MX, nVidia has added a 128-bit DDR memory controller to the GF4MX, and a framebuffer size of 64MB. This allows you to have up to 64MB memory using 128-bit DDR technology for a maximum 6.4GB/s on the MX440 class cards. This is a far cry from the GF2MX's max of 2.7GB/s. Using Samsung's 4ns DDR chips packed in a new SGRAM array, the number of modules needed on the board is greatly reduced while clock speeds are able to be increased.
Leadtek are known for using radical cooling techniques on their video cards, like we saw on our GF3 Ti500 card we reviewed earlier. The A170 comes with a new "Half Heat-Pipe" GPU cooler as Leadtek likes to call it and believe me, not only does it look better but it is actually capable of pulling more heat away from the GPU than standard active chipset coolers.
This is Leadtek's choice for the VIVO (Video In/Video Out) controller chip, Phillips SAA7114H hardware TV Decoder/Encoder chip. This chip has been used in some of the Nintendo 64 consoles and is also used on some of the Flyvideo TV tuner cards. Using PAL and NTSC standards this card can input and output for any video devices from anywhere in the world.

Leadtek GeForce4 MX440 -

BenchmarkingTest SystemProcessor: Intel Pentium 4 2.0GHzMemory: 256MB DDR-333 Kingmax Motherboard: EPoX 4SDA+Video Card: Leadtek GF3 Ti500, Leadtek A170 GF4MX 440Hard Disk: Seagate Barracuda ATA-3 UDMA 100 7200RPMDrivers: SiS AGP 1.08D, nVidia Detonator v27.20Software Used: 3dMark2000, 3dMark2001, Quake III Arena, Star Trek Armada, Star Trek Voyager Elite Force Star Trek Armada 2Results - 3dMark2000 1024x768
Results - 3dMark2001 1024x768
Results - Quake III Arena 1024x768 32-bit Color
Results - Star Trek Armada 1024x768 16-bit Color
Results - Star Trek Voyager Elite Force 1024x768 32-bit Color
Results - Star Trek Armada 2 1024x768 32-bit Color

Leadtek GeForce4 MX440 -

ConclusionAt the end of the day, the Leadtek A170 is the most overclockable, cheapest value market video card that for dollar. To demo it does not disappoint anyone who would invest in one for their value box. While lacking the GF4's extra features such as DX8 support, 2nd pixel shader, nVidia does have to cut some extras out to make it affordable, yet still worth your money. GF4MX is very much the card for everyone.Scoring just behind out GF3 Ti500 card and at less than half the price, we can see nVidia is planning to phase out the GF3 line of cards. After all, why buy a AU$800 GF3 Ti500 when you can get a AU$300 GF4MX 440 and overclock it, getting the same results as the Ti500? I see none.With this said, Leadtek have done a fantastic job keeping us value market users happy while giving something that is worth our dollars.- ProsUltra Fast Value cardVery cheapOverclockableRetail Games IncludedExcellent Video in and Out quality- ConsNo DX8 supportRating - 9/10 and TweakTown's Editors Choice Award

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