Derby's winless run continues but overall there was much more to shout about for Rams fans from this Friday night encounter.
The need for more attacking intent and quality had been obvious from the games preceding this one and Derby provided more of both at Pride Park, albeit still lacking that bit of decisiveness and killer instinct in the final third.
City gave as good as they got and looked particularly strong at the end of the first-half, the Bluebirds no doubt happier with the point, however, with Derby rattling the crossbar and forcing two or three good saves out of the visiting goalkeeper Alex Smithies during the second-half.
But it was overall a more encouraging display from the Rams who will aim to use it as a stepping stone to climb the table in a tough few weeks ahead.
The Rams led with the first notable attack of the game five minutes in. Duane Holmes was released down the right and he beat his man to get to the byline before pulling the ball back to where Jack Marriott and Martyn Waghorn both saw shots well blocked, then Tom Huddlestone's effort was saved, but Scott Malone followed up to poke home from close range.
The Rams had opened well and one of several bursts forward by Krystian Bielik saw him find Marriott who looked to be clipped by a defender, Waghorn following up to see his shot saved by Smithies with the referee not interested in Derby claims of a foul.
Then, moments later, a penalty was given but at the other end. Josh Murphy burst into the six-yard box where he was clumsily bundled over by Richard Keogh, who was booked, and Robert Glatzel stepped up to place the penalty powerfully into the corner of the net.
Malone nearly had another on 33 minutes but his dipping volley after the ball ran loose was gathered by Smithies, Derby looking dangerous in attack which was something that hadn't been the case enough in the previous games.
A couple of errors at the back from Derby then caused them to be put under unnecessary pressure, Cardiff unable to capitalise but warning signs going out that the Rams couldn't afford to play dangerously across the back line so often.
Bielik nearly turned a cross into his own net in the closing stages of the first-half, the ball dropping just wide, but the break arrived with a fairly entertaining game all square.
Marriott was nearly a scorer just moments into the second-half with an effort from just outside the penalty area but the ball crashed back off the crossbar and out to safety.
Then Waghorn burst through several challenges to be in on goal but his low shot was saved by the legs of Smithies, the same player driving an effort just wide five minutes later.
City responded with Leandro Bacuna breaking forward and firing low at Kelle Roos who saved with his legs, Tom Lawrence then firing just too high with eight minutes to go as the Rams sought a winner.
Cardiff nearly nicked a goal themselves when Glatzel's header from a Junior Hoilett cross had to be cleared off the line by a combination of Matt Clarke and Malone, Lawrence too high with a free-kick moments later.
Hoilett dragged a shot just wide in six minutes of stoppage time as both sides looked to get a winner, but neither could get one and the spoils would ultimately be shared.
21 - Kelle Roos
5 - Krystian Bielik
6 - Richard Keogh
9 - Martyn Waghorn
10 - Tom Lawrence
14 - Jack Marriott (Chris Martin 86)
16 - Matt Clarke
23 - Duane Holmes (Florian Jozefzoon 81)
25 - Max Lowe
44 - Tom Huddlestone
46 - Scott Malone
Subs not used: Ben Hamer, Jamie Paterson, Kieran Dowell, Curtis Davies, Jason Knight
GOAL: Malone 6
12 - Alex Smithies
2 - Lee Peltier
3 - Joe Bennett
4 - Sean Morrison (c)
5 - Aden Flint
7 - Leandro Bacuna
8 - Joe Ralls
9 - Robert Glatzel (Omar Bogle 88)
11 - Josh Murphy (Junior Hoilett 60)
13 - Callum Paterson
20 - Gavin Whyte (Nathaniel Mendez-Laing 60)
Subs not used: Joe Day, Will Vaulks, Isaac Vassell, Curtis Nelson
GOAL: Glatzel 19pen
Ref: Darren England
Star Ram: Duane Holmes