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home : reviews : e-GeForce 4 MX 440 Review : page 2

Benjamin Sun
April 16, 2002

  • nView: Empowers the user with maximum flexibility in display options and control
  • LightSpeed Memory Architechture II: Increases memory bandwidth efficiency to provide unmatched performance
  • NVIDIA Accuview AntiAliasing: Delivers unbeatable visual quality and frame rate
  • NVIDIA Video Processing Engine: Delivers unprecedented features to the mainstream
  • Integrated dual 350MHz DACs: Drives 2 independent CRT displays with the crisp and clear image quality at 2048x1536@75hz
  • Integrated TV encoder: Provides best-in class TV-out functionality up to 1024x768 resolution
  • Independent dual-channel TMDS transmitter: Enables two independent Digital Flat Panels (DFP) displays at resolutions up to 1280x1024
  • Core Speed: 275mhz
  • Memory Speed: 200mhz DDR
  • Memory: 64MB
  • Memory Bandwidth: 6.4GB/second
  • Triangles/second: 34 million
  • RAMDACs: 350Mhz x 2
  • 2 Pixel pipelines
  • 4 texels/clock
  • NVIDIA Shading Rasterizer (NSR)
  • High Quality HDTV/DVD playback
  • Dot3 Bump Mapping
  • AGP 2/4x support
  • Supports OpenGL 1.3, Direct3D 8.1
NVIDIA Shading Rasterizer
First introduced in the GeForce 256 series of cards and later announced in the GeForce2 GTS series of cards, the NSR does per pixel shading calculations. You can read more about the NSR by clicking here. Basically what the NSR allows developers to do is calculate lighting in game on a per pixel basis. Previously the developers had to use light maps or vertex lighting.

Games that used the NSR to good effect include: Giants (DirectX 7 based game), Sacrifice (beautiful RTS game), Messiah (one of the first games available to use tesselation and deformation of polygons in software (software version of Higher Order Surfaces present today in the GeForce4 and Radeon 8500), Black and White (God game by Peter Molyneaux) and others.

Developers have to code to a lowest common denominator in games. While there are many GeForce3 and Radeon 8500 owners, there are many more owners of cards based upon TNT or TNT2 level technology with some good portion of the gamers using GeForce2 MX and Radeon cards. The technology behind the NSR has been superceded by the introduction of programmable pixel shaders in the GeForce3, however many developers are still using GeForce2 GTS cards in their development machine.

One feature missing from the NVIDIA Shading Rasterizer and thus the GeForce4 MX is Environmental Mapped Bump Mapping, or EMBM. First introduced by Bitboys in Microsoft's DirectX 6, and first supported by Matrox in their G400 series of cards, EMBM allows for realistic looking water, a relief map of the earth and other cool effects. It's too bad NVIDIA didn't include this in their NSR specification, but their implementation of Dot3 bumpmapping is flexible and also useful.

nView is NVIDIA's multi-desktop manager. You can use it to set several different desktop configurations, multiple monitors. Unfortunately, I don't have two monitors at home, so I really can't take much advantage of nView. The e-GeForce4 MX 440 comes with a standard VGA-Out and a TV-Out connector. The TV Out connector is made by Conexant Corporation and has a maximum output of 1024x768 versus the previous TV-Out resolution of 800x600 in previous NVIDIA cards. So what else can nView do? Yes there's more. Here are the features of nView:
  • Windows integration: Seamless integration within the familiar Windows environment
  • Setup Wizard: Enables quick and easy installation of nView multi-display
  • Transparency Effects: Quickly view hidden applications on cluttered desktops
  • Microsoft Internet Explorer Extension: Enables more efficient web searches
  • Advanced zoom features: Quickly enlarge portions of the screen to view information easier and to do precision editing
  • Desktop management: Create up to 32 different Windows desktop workspaces to control information flow
  • Window and application management: Gives users full control over repositioning dialog boxes and application windows
  • Hot keys: Bind every nView action to a keyboard hot key
I'll cover nView in more detail in my Ti4600 review where I'll use 2 CRTs (monitors). As the eVGA GeForce4 MX 440 has CRT+TV Out, and I don't have a TV set to use to test it, I'll save my more detailed look at nView for when I can fully utilize the features. For now, let me say that it's much improved over NVIDIA's previous multi-display feature, TwinView, and I was a tiny bit disappointed that there weren't two monitor connectors on this card.

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