It's of little surprise that the any manufacturer, almost irrespective of the field in which they operate, sells the bulk of their products at what is perceived to be a low-to-mid price. That's true of almost every industry, and the computing industry is no different. It stands to reason that Intel, for example, will sell more 2.4GHz P4s than 3.06s - the demand is generated by the attractive price-to-performance ratio present in the former CPU.
The graphics card industry works in much the same way. NVIDIA, the Californian multimedia giant, have a number of cards that cater for most budgets. They're differentiated, naturally, on the basis of features versus cost. I'd wager that if you were to ask most people in an objective manner, the consensus would be on a graphics card that can play most of today's games at a reasonable price tag. £100 - £150 is a range that every graphics card manufacturer wants to win in terms of sales. The cards priced between those barriers feature heavily in most midrange systems, and it's those systems that sell by the proverbial shedload. Winning this market is paramount to all video card manufacturers, no matter what they might say in their literature.
NVIDIA's potent GeForce4 Ti series currently occupy the positions in this most important pricing sector. The original Ti 4200, the baby of the Ti clan, was the last to be released. Priced comfortably lower than its Ti 4400 and Ti 4600 counterparts, cards based on this chipset often overclocked to the default levels of the aforementioned cards. So, in effect, a Ti 4200 was the card to choose if you wanted the greatest bang from your buck.
With the recent introduction and acceptance of the 8x AGP standard, offering a theoretical 2GB/s+ interface between card and motherboard, and the now widespread availability of motherboard sporting this new speed, NVIDIA wisely decided to 'update' its range of cards.
We have a number of Ti 4200s in for a comparative review today. What's evident is that all of the Ti 4200s boasting the newer, faster 8x AGP standard, ship with 128MB of on-board memory. Further, to distinguish themselves from pre-8x cards with 128MB RAM, these cards have seen a bump in memory speed. We'll see just how each manufacturer approaches this most lucrative GPU, what they bundle with their efforts, how they attempt to outdo each other, and see just how far we can push them. All this on 2 leading platforms. Hang on for the benchmark ride.