I bought one of these GeForce 4 Ti4200 cards for my new computer, I only chose the MSI one because it was the cheapest MSI card available with the Ti4200 chipset. What I didn't expect was all of the lovely extra stuff that came with it - some manufacturers will just give you a card in a box with a boring instruction manual, but MSI really make you feel like you have got your moneys worth. In the box: Paper Faff The Ti4200 card A DVI to VGA adapter An s-video link cable A dongle with extra ports on - svideo in&out and composite in&out A bundle of about 10 software CDs in cases As you can see - there is much more than the card in the box! The card is a cool red colour with a nice orange cooling fan (no LEDs though) and looks great with my red mobo! One of the great features about this card is that is has both a VGA connector and a DVI connector - this allows you to connect two monitors at once, they can even both be VGA monitors if you use the DVI-VGA adapter included in the box. Having two monitors connected is awesome - you can have a desktop split across both!!! Think of all those extra pixels!!! I thought it was unbelievable that this card has completely unsung dual head capability since most dual head cards cost considerably more. Also included in the box, and very useful, is the dongle that connects to the s-video port on the back of the card and splits it into separate s-video in, s-video out, composite video in and composite video out ports - this allows you to connect the card up to receive video from a camcorder/digital camera or output your desktop to a TV - great for watching DVDs!!! So far as the 3D performance is concerned, this card is the same as any other Geforce 4 Ti4200 card - the quality is better than earlier chipsets and not as good as the later ones - just as you'd expect. If you want details of how it compares, you would probably do best to look at a few benchmarks on the interne
t to see how the chipset performs compared to others. The card has 8x AGP giving a massive amount of data bandwidth between the card and the motherboard, as well as 128Mb graphics memory - this will allow you to play games with a higher texture quality than cards with lower AGP speeds/less memory and will reduce loading times. As if the extra hardware included wasn't enough, the software bundle contains the following software: *Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon FULL VERSION!!! - this is a cool FPS game *Morrowind FULL VERSION!!! - RPG, never played it myself but have heard it is good *Duke Nukem: Manhattan Project FULL VERSION - side scrolling shoot-em-up - I was a bit disappointed by this as it is nowhere near as good as the previous Duke Nukem games *A demo disk containing 7 game demos *MSI 5.1 Channel DVD Player - useful if you don't have one already *Virtual Drive 7 Pro - weird CD copying software - never used it *Restore It 3 Pro - backup software - never used it *Foreign Language Learning Machine - helps you learn languages *MSI 3D Desktop - amusing for about 5 minutes, then boring *MSI Live update - automatically updates the card's drivers and BIOS *MSI 3D Turbo Experience - the card's control panel - see warning below *Goodmem - weird utility to release system memory and supposedly improve stability - sounds like witchcraft to me. *MSI LockBox - a utility to automatically lock your PC when not in use *MSI WMInfo - churns out weird system info - seems to be mostly for MSI's tech support *MSI secure DOC - allows documents to be encrypted *E-Color - a little utility to help you adjust your screen colours so that they are perfect *Adobe Acrobat - this is free anyway *Trend PC-Cillin 2000 - Virus scanner *DirectX 8.1 - in case you have been living on Mars for the past 3 years I think its really quite amazing that Ghost Recon and Morrowind are being g
iven away with this card for free, they are still on sale in the shops and are both popular. Although the Duke Nukem game is boring and tedious, at least I didn't buy it to have to discover that. One word of warning about the 3D Turbo experience - this is a control panel for the graphics card, it allow you to do thing such as change the memory and GPU clock speeds, monitor the voltages, GPU temperature and fan speeds, adjust the brightness and contrast etc. The only problem is that it is written in flash and is made to look like the control panel of a space ship with poorly labelled colourful buttons. The first time that I ran the 'Turbo Experience' I just randomly clicked on all the inviting-looking coloured buttons, only to find that my computer locked up! - it turned out that I had inadvertently overclocked my graphics card. This seems a little bit irresponsible of MSI, especially as overclocking can damage hardware. It even seems that the control panel is aimed at children, so don't install this if you have little people using your computer! The E-color tool is useful if you have a monitor that doesn't quite display colours correctly - it runs a series of tests to determine the correct brightness, contrast and gamma correction for the red, green and blue colour channels. This ensures that games look exactly how they should and you are not for example disadvantaged in a game because you can't see an object that is too dark. Overall I have been very impressed with this card - the dual-head ability was a great surprise and the quantity and (general) quality of the bundled software adds to the general good impression. For the cheapest Ti4200 card around, it is truly outstanding. I bought the card for £93 in July 2003, it has probably dropped in price considerably since then, but after a quick look nowhere online seems to sell it any more.