Chaintech GeForce4 MX 440 Graphics card

It's a good thing that nVidia produces top-quality technology, since its arcane naming system is calculated to drive the video industry crazy. Not only is its GeForce4 family split into two differing branches -- the MX and Ti -- nVidia also insists on distinguishing the cards with different code numbers. Having had the Ti 4600, 4400 and 4200, we now meet the MX 460, 440 and 420.

While the Ti cards are the no-holds-barred performers, the MX cards offer value for money. Equipped with essentially the same hardware, the MX is a GeForce4 Ti running at half throttle. That's not to say that the MX trio can't set some impressive speeds, however, and the MX 440 used in this card from Chaintech may be low cost, but it's definitely not low powered.

The popularity of the nVidia chips is such that card manufacturers are falling over themselves to unleash their versions of the GeForce4 phenomenon. Chaintech is the latest name, and its strong links with the motherboard industry puts it in an ideal position to take on the competition.

The card has 64MB of DDR (double data rate) RAM, which few GeForce4 MX cards will top. Otherwise it has standard features, with a TV-out S-Video port. The software bundle is impressive, though.

Compared to the GeForce4 Ti cards, the MX 440 actually comes up a little short. This may be predictable, but what is surprising is how closely the MX compares with the top-range GeForce3 cards. In fact, the 440 produces almost identical performance to a GeForce3 Ti 200, despite the vast difference in their price tags. The Quake III demo test turns up 159fps at 1024x768. Even in top resolutions, it stays close to the 50fps mark, making it a good card for gamers.

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