A little over a month ago I reviewed PNY’s flagship video card, the Verto Geforce4 Ti4600. While I was very impressed with this card’s performance and capabilities it rapidly became apparent during testing that my PC simply couldn’t give the card all it wanted. I was mortified to find that I was seriously processor limited!
Well, in the interests of science and in an effort to bring you, our readers, the best information possible, I sucked it up and upgraded my machine and took the PNY Verto Ti4600 for another spin!
My machine wasn’t bad before. It was probably pretty typical for a casual gamer and computer buff. It was a home built unit and a step or two back from the cutting edge but what I felt was a good compromise between cost and performance. It was also likely a good matchup for my old Visiontek Geforce3 and also the Leadtek Winfast A170 DDR T MX440 card I reviewed recently.
Let’s take a look at what my setup was and then what I changed.
- ECS KT7S5A motherboard
- AMD Athlon T-bird 1.2ghz, 200fsb CPU
- 512mb generic PC-133 SDRAM
- Maxisound Muse Sound card
- KDS AV-7T 17″ Trinitron Monitor
- Windows 2000 SP2
- DirectX 8.1
- Nvidia 27.42 Drivers
I kept the core of my system but upgraded the CPU, RAM, and the video drivers for the rematch:
- AMD Athlon XP 2000+
- 512mb OCZ PC3000 DDR RAM
- Nvidia 28.32 Drivers
So, did the increase in processor speed and the move to DDR RAM make a difference? Let’s take a look at some benchmarks and see!
Since this wasn’t intended to be a full re-review of the card, but rather a look to see what more CPU horsepower and better RAM could do, I decided to keep things simple. I used the old tried and true standards of 3dMark2001SE and Quake3 Arena Demo1 to gauge any performance gains.
I wanted to see not only what the CPU would do but also what difference the DDR RAM would make, so I did the test in two stages. First, I just swapped out my CPU and ran benchmarks with my old PC133 SDRAM and the Athlon XP 2000+. Next I swapped out the RAM and ran the numbers one more time with bothe the Athlon XP and the DDR RAM installed. Lets see how things turned out.
Quake 3 Arena
Well, it looks like I was right when I thought that I was processor limited! It became immediately apparent that even just the addition of the new CPU alone caused a dramatic jump in performance over the old 1.2ghz T-bird! Adding the DDR RAM in caused another fairly significant jump in everything except for the 4x AA tests at 1280×1024 which where neck in neck with either RAM installed.
3dmark2001SE tests reinforced what we saw with the Q3A benchmarks. The addition of the Athlon XP caused a large bump in performance by itself and the further addition of the DDR RAM caused another increase still.
You’ll probably note one anomaly in the 1280×1024 4x AA scores on that graph. According to that, the PNY Verto Ti4600 actually did considerably better at that resolution and setting with the old T-bird installed! I re-ran the numbers with the new hardware multiple times and these figures remained stable. All I can figure is that my initial test run with the old hardware had to have been a fluke. Since I sold off the old hardware to pay for the upgrade I couldn’t go back and retest it to figure out what exactly was going on there but I’m not too worked up about it.
The rest of the 3dMark numbers and the Q3A numbers are pretty consistant and show what the boost in horsepower and RAM speed give you though so I tend to think the overall picture is still pretty clear, even given the odd 4x 1280×1024 quirk.
So what did I learn from all this? Well, I knew I was processor limited when I ran that first set of tests but I was still surprised to see just how much of a difference it really was. In most cases the jump was anywhere from half again to nearly twice the FPS that I got in the first run!
I was also somewhat surprised to see what a boost the DDR RAM was over the PC133 stuff. While I knew in theory that better RAM would make a difference I’ve never been real worried about it and always figured the increase would be marginal. I was proved wrong in that from the looks of things! The DDR RAM caused a pretty significant jump in scores over the PC133 SDRAM, a lot more than I would have guessed.
I thought the PNY Verto Geforce4 Ti4600 was a great card when I first tested it and now that I have the proper hardware to really see what it can do I’m even more impressed. My score of 9 out of 10 stands because there really wasn’t anything bad to say the first time around! It gave my machine a solid performance jump over my Geforce3 even with my old T-bird 1.2ghz chip installed. The addition of the new processor and DDR RAM really gave the Verto a chance to shine and show what it was truly capable of.
If you missed my initial review of this card you can check it out here!