GeF4 Impressions

So I finally took my Voodoo 5 out of my main computer and replaced it with a 128 Mb GeF 4 Ti 4200. Not a moment too soon, too. This weekend I hit the EB and was surprised to see how many games -required- hardware T&L. I can at least feel virtuous for holding off on upgrading for so long!

For the most part, I only have nits to pick, so I will go with them first. The control panel item for the card makes my display go dark for a second when I first access it. Maybe I’ll get used to it, but this is truly annoying—especially if you want to experiment with the AA and antistropic (sp?) filtering settings, and have to keep going back into the panel. Also, where is the color control? I would like a gamma slider to make my desktop a little darker, like I had with my Voodoo card. Also, my old drivers had a setting to defeat the automatic degauss that occurs whenever the monitor “wakes up” from idle. Is there a reg key that can fix this? If I wanted a degauss, I’d command one.

On to the good stuff—NOLF 2 looks unbelievable! I was in the first mission last night where you start at a waterfall outside of Ninja town. I called my wife in the room to show her the reflections in the water. I saw something like this in a benchmark utility last year, but haven’t seen it in real games. MHOAA has awesome terrain detail—realistic trees and shrubs that shake in the wind. Along with MHOAA, I also found used copies of Serious Sam, GTA2, Return to Wolfenstien and BF:1948. I haven’t even installed some of these yet. I haven’t bought a lot of games in the past year or so (Max Paine was my last purchase), so I have a lot of catching up to do. Fortunately for my wallet, it’s been a banner year for games and the bargain bins are filled with, er, bargains. ;) For the most part the card runs everything at insanely high resolutions. I am not sure that the FSAA is a step forward from the Voodoo 5. I am still experimenting with it, but for the most part I am only using it in older titles because of the performance hit. None of my older games showed much of an improvement in framerate, although I had expected this because they are all driving and flight sims. The real pleasure has been experimenting with the new games.

Hate the annoying GeForce 4 control panel?

“These are the times that try men’s souls,” I thought, as a video card was whistling an insane yet mathematical tune of interference into the desperate circuits of its neighboring sound card. It was the last stop on the PCI bus, where those who reap the blessings of a vertex shader also undergo the fatigues of supporting it. I had paid the price for 1600x1200 with both my money and my soul, but what we obtain too cheap we esteem too lightly.

Aw, cut it out, Mark, and just update the front page. ;)

Tim,

You’re not using the drivers included with the card, are you? The latest drivers from Nvidia’s page do let you adjust the gamma for your desktop. Heck, I have the gamma set differently for my CRT and LCD monitors, even.

BF1948? That’s the sequel that postulated we continued the war and pushed into the Soviet Union? Cool, where’d you find that? ;-)

I am using the drivers you posted a link too in the other thread (40.71, I believe). There is one page in the control panel that appears to be for multi monitor support, and since I only have one CRT, I did not spend much time there. Clearly I will have to poke around some more. Thanks for the tip.

LOL, you never know what you might find in the EB bargin bin!

Just a warning Tim. I have had random lockups using both the 40.71 and 40.72 beta drivers. I decided to go back to 30.82 which is very stable on my system.

The beta drivers are incomplete and have been haphazardly released. Don’t use them.

Agreed on the drivers. Good choice on card; that’s a good value in the $200-and-under segment. Most of them overclock to at least Ti4400 speeds on the memory, and faster than Ti4600 speeds on the core, if you’re into that sort of thing :)

Thanks for the warning. I have noticed some odd lockups in MOHAA, for no apparent reason. I had attributed it to my SBLive (why not?) but it may have been this.

They make it quite easy to overclock the card with the control panel. I may just give it a shot, after I get a better sense of what it is capable of.

Found it! Man, that’s a busy little control panel. Thanks for the head’s up. I couldn’t believe they didn’t have a color control!

There was also a slider in there for somethign called “Digital Vibrance” that I really like. It make the desktop colors seem much richer. I must have really glanced over everything because I didn’t even notice the little utility for adjusting the picture on the CRT tube. Sweet! Very intuitive and easy to adjust.

For those that might be having driver prolems with the latest GF4 fare (40.72 or whatever):

I found this software fix the other day, which supposedly removes the parts of the 30.xx series drivers that are conflicting with the 40.xx for some people.

I don’t know if it actually makes any difference, because the 40.72s work just peachy for me. I know they’re beta and all, but I’ve had no issues whatsoever.

http://www.jester2k.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/jester2kdetfix.htm

What if you have a VIVO card and want to go from the card maker’s default drivers to the latest nVidia stuff. Does that cause problems with your ability to record video input? And if so, are you then at the mercy of the card maker to release their own updated drivers?

I’m also curious for a brief summary on how that VIVO stuff works. Have any of you used it for getting stuff off your camcorders? I see the VIVO cards have just one S-video jack, does that handle both input and output?

Well, I do not know much about VIVO (is that video in/video out?), but I have been looking into various solution to take analog tape and digitalize it.

My hi8 camera was an okay purchase a few years back, but it uses these little hi8 tapes that you can only monitor from the camera. As a result, I have dozens of these little tapes stacking up and I rarely watch them.

Right now I am looking at a capture card from Pinnacle. Pinnacle has a PCI card that does analog capture. There is another, more expensive pinnacle card, that offers both DV and analog capture. I considered buying it because it might be nice to have a firewire port on my box, but I am unsure if it’s a worthwhile investment right now. I don’t have a digital camera or any firewire parts yet, and I am probably going to need to purchase a fast disk to make movies.

My biggest confusion comes from not understanding the output formats well enough. I want to distribute these CDs to my family. I want to avoid any format that is going to require them to download and install a codec or new media player software. I also want to make sure that the video is going to be a decent size, but most of these cards make video that’s smaller than 640x480. :(

IMHO the best bet is to get a DV camera with analog inputs, and a firewire card.

You can use the DV cam to transfer your old analog tapes to the computer. And your future CDs and DVDs taped on DV tapes will look a helluva lot better. Total investment’s about $400, not a lot more than a high-end All-in-Wonder card.

That’s what I did.

That’s what sold me on the Gainward VIVO you recommend Denny. It has its very own Firewire jack.

No way?! Really. I thought most DV cameras were still around 1k. I will have to look into it some more. What camera do you have?

Tim,

Nope, I got my Canon ZR20 for about $400. Great DV cam, very compact, and complete with analog inputs.

You could include the codec/media player on cd along with the movie. solves the distribution method.