ABIT GeForce4 Ti 4200 OTES Review
Heat has always been the enemy of those that wish to push their components to their limits. Heat is also playing a major factor in pre-built machines from system integrators. Today's top-end machines, running at multiple GHz with powerful graphics cards, put out a considerable amount of it into the case. So much so that responsible system integrators now include internal chassis fans to expel the build-up of heat through vents.
On the CPU front, larger coolers have now become widely used. Larger, aftermarket coolers, once a fringe thought for most PC enthusiasts, have become increasingly popular.
Material development has changed too. We find that copper, with its more efficient heat transfer properties, is being amalgamated into a greater number of heatsinks. Empirical testing has shown that copper-clad coolers can offer a real-world benefit over standard aluminium coolers, especially as we raise the wattage output from our CPU.
What some people perhaps don't appreciate is just how quickly graphics cards have developed over the last few years. As it stands right now, the GeForce4 Ti 4600 boasts around 63 million transistors (greater than the Pentium 4 Northwood, incidentally), and the current king-of-the-hill, the Radeon 9700 has an incredible 110 million transistors running at 325Mhz.
It's also become common for graphics card manufacturers to play the game safe and use the reference card design offered by the GPU designer. The reference coolers are there simply to ensure that the GPU runs at its required frequency.
We, however, do have an exception to the above rule. ABIT, perhaps more famous for their performance-orientated motherboards, have a prominent range of graphics cards marketed under the moniker of Siluro. Looking back through records shows that ABIT have been producing graphics cards based on NVIDIA's GPUs for some considerable time now.
Speaking of NVIDIA, their present GeForce4 Ti lineup, as you may know, consists of the Ti 4200, Ti 4400, and Ti 4600, differentiated on the basis of core and memory speed respectively. ABIT have decided, seemingly, that the generic coolers supplied with most cards, although capable, are in need of their attention. With that in mind, ABIT introduce their patent-pending OTES (Outside Thermal Exhaust System) cooling. We first see it present on the GeForce4 Ti 4200.
What exactly is OTES ?, what does it do ?, and how good is it at its intended purpose ?. Let's answer these and other questions as we look at this rather different approach.