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.
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