NV28:Carrying the load until GeForce FX
Do you remember all the hoopla and fanfare that surrounded NVIDIA’s NV28 launch earlier this fall? We didn’t think so. Unlike previous graphics launches, NV28 was intended to be incredibly low-key. There would be no fancy technology demos, press releases, or even a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) for the press to adhere too.
You see NVIDIA was shooting for the OEM market with NV28. These guys are already quite familiar with the architecture and didn’t need the buzz that surrounds a typical launch to jump onboard. NVIDIA’s big play this fall was intended to be NV30, which we now know as GeForce FX. NVIDIA had planned to sneak NV28 under the radar while NV30 drew all the attention -- the graphics cores were literally scheduled to launch within a few weeks of each other.
By now we all know how that plan played out. NV28 launched on time in September, while GeForce FX wasn’t announced until November, the product still hasn’t officially launched.
This has left graphics card manufacturers like MSI in a quandary, as a product that was once intended for OEMs now also has to compete in the retail sector, two markets with very different needs. OEMs tend to focus on price first and foremost, when you’re purchasing graphics cards in tens of thousands of units (even more for some OEMs) every dollar saved counts. The retail sector on the other hand isn’t quite as price sensitive, features and performance are also important.
Fortunately, the graphics card manufacturers are doing a good job of rising to the challenge, and they’re not just making reference cards anymore. These guys are looking to prove that they can make a better Ti 4200 card than NVIDIA can.
MSI for instance is making multiple lines of NV28 cards; each one is designed to appeal to a particular market. The graphics card we’re reviewing today, the G4Ti 4200-VTD8X (MS-8894), is designed to appeal to the hardcore enthusiast on a budget. MSI knows that this type of consumer craves one thing first and foremost: efficient, powerful cooling. After all, if you can keep the graphics core and its accompanying memory cool, it bodes well for your overclocking potential. Fortunately, we’re glad to say that MSI’s unique T.O.P. Tech cooling solution accomplishes this in spades. MSI has also thrown in a few extra goodies to round out the package even more. Lets take a look at the specs…