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Visiontek Xtasy GeForce4 Ti4600 & Ti4400 review

Who could have imagined that Visiontek would become one of the most popular videocard makers among US PC enthusiasts in less than a year?

Even though their operational facilities have existed for years now, building up a whole new structure to become a retail manufacturer is no easy job, and I'm sure getting people's attention is even worse; but it would seem that Visiontek did everything right for success, they heard people's needs and learned from its big partner, NVIDIA, that a product delivered on time, played a key strategy for itself.

One hard fact that really impressed me was their recent announcement regarding plans for expanding operations to the European market, much probably with NVIDIA's full support after Hercules and other OEM's have switched to ATI and Creative's uncertain future support after the 3D Labs acquisition was announced.

So, getting back on our coverage of Visiontek's latest videocards we can tell that once again Xtasy boards were early to the market, being the first ones to be available on store shelves, but not by much this time... unlike with GF3 Ti boards, a couple of months ago, this time around we are going to see most major OEMs offering similar cards based on GF4 chips given that these are expected to have a much larger life cycle. For this same reason, I'm expecting card makers to offer the best product possible at the lowest price to compete with the rest of manufacturers.

In the Box

Taking the cards out of the boxes reminded me of Voodoo5 boards because of their noticeable larger-than-standard size (yes, the cards are big). There have been a few reports about cards not fitting well on some mobos or cases, I'm using a MSI K7T Turbo mobo on a standard ATX case and had zero trouble fitting any of the cards though, looking at the pictures below you will notice the large number of transistors located in the back of the boards, those are commonly the ones people have trouble with.

    

You can see Visiontek decided to go with the reference HSF design, which IMHO is really cool looking, no word yet on how effective it is for overclocking purposes though, we will get to that later on the review. Not too difficult to notice, what seems to be a more elaborated VGA port, this change, originally from NVIDIA's reference board will hopefully bring on an improved 2d picture, no word from the manufacturer on this kind of change though. 

    

Here you have a closer look to the available ports on both cards. We can see those sharing similar features, the standard VGA port and DVI output are included while the small connector on the Ti4400 is for TV-out and the higher-end Ti4600 model comes with a VIVO port. According to Visiontek they chose the 9-pin to two 4-pin VIVO connector so they didn't have to sacrifice dual monitor support or add a daughterboard which would also add to the cost.

Both Xtasy models are what you would usually call ‘high-end cards’, priced at $255 & $349 for the Ti4400 and the Ti4600 respectively. The main differences between them are core and RAM speeds, as well as the video input options the Ti4400 lacks. The more expensive Xtasy Ti4600 comes default clocked at 300/650 versus 275/550 for the Ti4400. It would seem that the speed difference between boards isn't enough to justify the extra $100, but in theory, the Ti4600 board should also offer more room for overclocking (see next page for more details).



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