ABIT Siluro GF4 Ti4200-8X OTES

Review

posted 12/30/2002 by John Yan
other articles by John Yan
I’ve always thought of ABIT as an innovator. Just one look at the card I’m reviewing today should give you an idea of how ABIT tries to take a product and puts their mark on it. In fact, you can’t really miss the changes they have implemented on the video card. Today’s review is the ABIT Siluro GF4 Ti4200-8X OTES and if you’re in the market for a Geforce4 Ti4200 card, you should definitely consider this one.

The Siluro Ti4200-8X OTES is a Geforce4 card with an attitude. It features NVIDIA’s latest GPU has a CPU core speed at 275 MHz and the memory speed at 500Mhz. It’s already clocked faster than stock Ti4200’s so ABIT’s given you a little boost even though the card is labeled as a Ti4200. Specifications say that it can generate 113 million vertices per second and has a fill rate of 4 billion AA samples per second. Memory bandwidth is 8GB per second and the card has 128MB on it. Now that the basic specs are out of the way, let’s see what ABIT has done with the card that makes it unique.

OTES stands for Outside Thermal Exhaust System. The card cooling system consists of a copper fin heatsink, a plastic cover around the GPU, a high-speed blower, and a heatpipe. Taking up two slots, the Siluro OTES card’s features all operate in conjunction to lower the operating temperature. The thin and lengthy copper fin heat sink helps dissipate heat. The high-speed blower generates a nice airflow in the covered environment, which flows through the heatsink and out the exhaust. For the heatpipe, there is a liquid in it that absorbs the heat, which makes it boil. The fluid boils to a vapor where it travels to the upper part of the pipe and releases the heat. As heat is released, the vapor condenses back to a liquid and flows back to the lower part of the cylinder where the cycle begins again. On the back is a big X-plate that holds the cooling system in place as well as allows for some cooling on the back of the card. As you can see, there’s a lot here to help cool the video card down. The system screams for overclocking stability so we’ll see how well it does later on.

Since the exhaust system forces the card to take up two slots with the amount of outputs available, ABIT has spaced out some of the outputs onto the next slot. Next to the exhaust is a DVI port for those who have an LCD display. In the second slot area of the card, there is one S-VGA output and a VGA connector. ABIT has kindly included a DVI to VGA adapter so that if you do have two CRT monitors, you can utilize both outputs for dual display. For developers who enjoy games like me, I really do appreciate the second monitor option and you won’t sacrifice gaming speed for work capabilities.


Included software consists of America’s Army, a demo of >Soldier of Fortune 2, WinDVD 4.0, Earthviewer 3D demo, and WindowBlinds NV Edition. WindowBlinds is a neat program that lets you skin your operating system. You can download a lot of different skins from Stardock’s website. For those who like to customize the look of their computer and OS, this program is definitely for you. The version only works with Windows XP so if you have some other version of Windows you are out of luck. America’s Army is an Unreal Tournament 2003 engine game that, while you can download for free, is nice to have on CD since you don’t have to spend your time getting it. The game isn’t bad and is the only full version game that ABIT has included with the card. The bundle of software isn’t anything special but it does give you two games to fiddle around with and a full version of the good DVD player along with a skinning program.

All the cables that you should need for output are also nicely included. For those who want to output to a TV, ABIT has a SVGA split to SVGA and Composite video cable.

The card itself is quite heavy. Installing the card into the system, I plopped it into the AGP port and locked it in. There is one complete screw hole and one half hole for the screws to lock the board into the case. It was a little awkward to try and put the card into the AGP slot because of the design and heaviness of the card. After a bit of fiddling, the card dropped into the area fine. Just make sure you don’t have any card or expansion port in the next slot. I had my USB 2.0 expansion port there and had to move it.

Lets get to see how well this card performs. Here is my test system:

AMD XP 2200+
MSI KT3 Ultra2
512MB PC2100 Crucial Memory
Hercules Game Theater XP
120 GIG Maxtor 7200-RPM HD
Windows XP Service Pack 1

I decided to use the latest nVidia Detonator driver package to run the benchmarks. The 41.09 package can be downloaded at nVidia’s website. The programs and games I used to test the card were 3D Mark SE, Quake 3, Unreal Tournament 2003, and Comanche 4 Demo.


First up is Futuremark’s 3D Mark SE in our line of bench tests. I ran a batch with both no anti-aliasing and 4X AA to compare how much of a hit the card takes when the process is activated.



And here are the scores with 4XAA turned on.



There is a mighty big drop when turning on anti-aliasing to generate a cleaner edges. With a loss of 3000 to 5000 3D marks depending on the resolution, it's probably not worth the speed loss to activate the feature for games.

The tried and true Quake 3 is up next. Running the benches three times on each setting, I took the averages as the final score.






The card screams when playing Quake 3. Yes it's a rather old game but it's still a standard for benchmarking and a lot of games use the Quake 3 engine.

Comanche 4 is the third piece of software I used to benchmark the card. There’s not much deviation between the resolutions and the game is more CPU dependant than GPU dependant.



Unreal Tournament 2003 was used with [H]ardOCP’s nice little utility. All the tests were run with the fly through of the levels. Here are the scores:







Even with no characters on the screen, the FPS generated at high settings is very impressive. Compared to the Radeon 8500 I tested a while ago, the Siluro GF4 Ti4200-8X OTES comes out well ahead.

With the nice cooling system that ABIT has on the card, I decided to test out how well it overclocks. I didn’t expect to get to Ti4800 range but did come close to the Ti4600 level. Using Rivatuner, I pushed the card to a 295MHz core and a 590MHz memory speed. If I went a little faster, the card would restart my computer during 3D Mark testing. Here’s the comparison in 3D Mark scores at default and overclocked speeds.





As you can see, you’ll get a 4.1% increase at 800x600, a 5.3% increase at 1024x768, and a 7.4% increase at 1280x1024 without anti-aliasing turned on. Once you activate 4XAA in 3DMark, the increase is significantly less for obvious reasons. A 2% increase is shown at 800x600, a 6.5% increase at 1024x776, and a 3.8% at 1280x1024. I wasn't suprised that it would reach close to Ti4600 level as a lot of Ti4200 cards can achieve that. I would've liked to have seen it go a little further but that could be because of my engineering sample.

As for the 2D picture of the card the display is very vibrant, clean, and clear. Comparing to the ATi Radeon 8500, I found the Siluro GF4 Ti4200-8X OTES produced a moderatly nicer picture.

Unfortunately, I do not have a motherboard capable of AGP 8X to see if there were any increase in speed. You can be sure though that once I do acquire a board that can support AGP 8X, I will revisit this card at both stock and overclocked speeds to see if there are any increases in performance.

The ABIT Siluro GF4 Ti4200-8X OTES is one great Geforce 4 Ti4200 card. ABIT’s cooling system is a superb design and I can’t wait to see more come out of them. Sure, it’s a little more expensive than other Ti4200 cards out there but you get the excellent OTES design, decent overclocking capabilities, and the ABIT quality that they are known for. Whether or not you overclock the card, the OTES system will keep it cool and most likely last longer. Kudos to ABIT for putting out a quality card and not follow the reference design and slapping their logo on it.





A-
It’s the Geforce 4 card with an awesome cooling unit. ABIT has really engineered a quality Ti4200 card that you can push further with some overclocking.