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NVIDIA's brand new GeForce4 line of cards is the current state of the art for consumer-level computer graphics rendering. With Doom 3 and Unreal 2 just around the corner, it remains to be seen how the GeForce4 line of cards will perform.

NVIDIA has split the GeForce4 line into three series:

  • The Geforce4 MX marks the return of the GeForce "budget" line of cards to the consumer PC arena. The GeForce4 MX line is further divided into the following models of cards:
  • The main difference between these GeForce cards is clock speed and price. Yes, you could buy a GeForce4 MX 420 and overclock it to get the performance of a GeForce4 MX 460. The name "GeForce4 MX" is misleading, a fact which John Carmack has publicly complained about in his .plan file. The GeForce4 MX is actually a retooled version of the GeForce2 MX, and thus is the best video card available in a PCI version.. It lacks support for DirectX 8-specific features, pixel shading, vertex shading, nfiniteFX, or other features exclusive to NVIDIA's upper end cards. Ouch
  • The GeForce4 Ti line of cards is the current Holy Grail of every PC gamer out there. This monster pushes above 200fps in Quake 3 arena, with all features enabled, at resolutions above 1024x768. The GeForce4 Ti line of cards finally make hardware FSAA a reality, taking only a minor performance hit running at 4x FSAA. At $399, it also cost less than when the GeForce2 GTS debuted. The GeForce4 ti is available in 3 versions: Again, the difference between the cards is clock speed and price. What the GeForce4 MX lacks, the GeForce4 Ti has, with a kitchen sink too.
  • The GeForce4 Go is NVIDIA's latest foray into the laptop arena. This GPU is meant for the mobile gamer. Because of this, the GeForce4 Go is slower due to NVIDIA's attempt to balance power and battery life. Nevertheless, it boasts a small set of features common to the GeForce line of cards

With 3dfx out of the way, ATI's Radeon 8500 still crippled by bad drivers, and PowerVR's Kyro II not up to par, NVIDIA once again has the upper hand in the consumer graphics industry. The seventh generation of 3D accelerators will be very interesting with the latest batch of games; ATi's R300 and Matrox's G800 ought to provide healthy competition when they're released.


Update 6/13/2002

And indeed, ATI'S R300 (now known as the Radeon 9700) has provided a healthy ass-kicking to NVIDIA. With stable drivers, superior performance, and a release schedule to match NVIDIA's, ATI has taken the crown ... for now. The wu will remain unchanged for historical purposes.


Info taken from NVIDIA, Tom's Hardware, AnandTech, and Guru3D.com

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