MSI FX5600-VTDR128 Videocard Review
Most of us cannot afford to spend
$500 every six months in order to keep up with the latest high
end videocard technology. Since we can't always get what we want, the real trick becomes finding
the next best videocard at an affordable price.
up one solution to this search for performance at an affordable price in
the form of the new FX5600-VTDR128 GeForceFX 5600 based videocard. With a retail
price of $235 CDN ($167 US) the card comes with a whole slew of features, games,
and is most importantly a decent performer.
That's all well and good, but what separates the MSI FX5600-VTDR128 from the rest
of the GeForceFX 5600 competition? Unlike many
products out there, MSI actually include a good software bundle with their
videocards for starters. For example the FX5600-VTDR128 card comes with
Morrowind, Ghost Recon, Duke Nukem: MP and a seven game demo/lite game
MSI have also included WinProducer/WinCoder, WinDVD, VitrutalDrive and RestoreIT!
software. Things don't stop there, because the card is fully VIVO compatible as well.
A VIVO break out box which supports both S-Video and Composite connectors is also thrown into
With the breakout box is
an infrared receiver which is used with the remote control which is also included
in the package. Lastly, for those of you who use dual monitors, a DVI-to-analog converter rounds out
GPUs will always be increasing in clock speed, but one of the
byproducts of all this speed is heat. Manufacturers are having to resort to
larger and more powerful heatsinks to cool down their chips and this has resulted in
noise going up substantially.
consumer complains loud enough the manufacturers eventually listen, and
so that's why we now find virtually all videocards equipped with
custom built coolers which are quiet-running. MSI's "T.O.P. Tech cooling" runs
with less noise that their previous cooling solutions. While
I cannot confirm if the videocard is running cooler, I did notice that the card
does run much quieter (MSI claims it only generates 28db of noise) then most
These days it's possible for one
to update the firmware of a videocard which in turn could unleash a
bit more performance. Of course, flashing a videocard is as risky as flashing a
motherboard but MSI remove some of the risk by equipping their
FX5600-VTDR128 with two BIOS!
On a side note, we had a hard time getting the MSI
FX 5600-VTDR128 to work well with our Granite Bay/P4 2.8 GHz processor test
system. The driver would install but we'd always get a "not enough resources"
error in device manager. At first we thought that the card was defective, but we
saw the exact same error with two other GeForceFX 5600 videocards from different
manufacturers. After some frustrating troubleshooting, we found
that if DMA transfer mode on the HDD's was disabled the videocards would work
flawlessly. With it enabled and the videocard simply refused to work
properly. Up next, the overclocking adventure you've been