If you are looking for
an ultra high-end video solution, there are only a couple
of real choices; invest in an ATI X850-based card, a Geforce 7800GTX or an SLI-capable motherboard and a pair of 6800-class Geforce
SLI has mostly lost its novelty at this point
in the game, with the focus shifting to ATI's upcoming CrossFire
SLI-like solution, but, SLI technology still offers great gaming performance. It's certainly well worth your while to check
Over the next few pages PCSTATS will be reviewing a pair of PCI Express MSI
X6800 TD-128E SLI-capable videocards in both single and SLI mode. We're going
to see just what kind of performance a user can expect from these high-end
cards operating in tandem. By now, most consumers should be familiar with SLI
benchmarks from 6600GT mid-range nVidia cards, so let's take things up a
Each of the MSI NX6800 TD-128E videocards we'll be testing are based on
the nVidia Geforce 6800 GPU and sport
128MB of GDDR3 memory, SLI compatibility, full HDTV/S-Video/composite TV-out capabilities
and dual-monitor support. The blue analog connection is for CRT monitors and the white DVI connector is
for digital LCD displays.
MSI NX6800 TD-128E
Users Manual,Quick-start guide, Driver CD, Far-Cry game
CDs, one DVI to analog converter, S-Video to S-Video
cable, breakout box.
Taking the same approach as with the MSI NX6600GT-VTD128SP
video card PCSTATS tested previously, MSI has
eschewed the typical bundle of older games for one slightly outdated but extremely
good one. In this case, each MSI NX6800 TD-128E comes bundled with a
copy of Far-Cry, one of the better First Person shooters released
recently. Though themed differently, it is arguably equal to both Doom 3
and Halflife 2 in terms of graphical flair and pure fun. It
may lack the burnished surfaces and amazing textures seen in Chronicles of
Riddick or Doom 3, but it makes up for these with miles of realistically
depicted jungle, smart enemies and lots of vehicles to ride
in. Far-Cry's high-end graphics settings can also put a hurting
on just about any PC, making it a good partner for a fast
While the MSI NX6800 TD-128E does not include
any additional software, the card does come with the necessary hardware add ons, including a
DVI-to-analog converter, a breakout box with component, composite and S-video outputs and a standard S-video cable.
All the above accessories are coloured a brilliant day-glo green, which may or may not
appeal to you, but is certainly noticeable.
The card itself
is fairly typical, reflecting the design choices that MSI has made on all
of its recent video hardware. A large copper plated cast-aluminium heatsink covers both the core and the memory, while the single small fan proved to be audible, but not loud enough
to stand out in a sealed computer case.
Single DVI and VGA connectors are
available, as well as the port for the breakout box. For a high-end card, the
NX6800 TD-128E is quite quiet, which we appreciated.
Thanks to its PCI-Express interface, the NX6800 TD-128E does not require an
additional power connector, deriving all its power from the PCIe x16 slot.
As you can see, the SLI connector is present on the top of the card, allowing it
to be linked to other SLI-compatible video cards with a compatible
I was glad to note that MSI ships the NX6800 TD-128E in a more reasonably
sized box than those holding some of the company's other high-end cards. It
seems wholly unnecessary that while most motherboards come in a cardboard box
barely large enough to contain them and their accessories, video cards
frequently ship with acres of surplus cardboard and plastic. MSI is by no means
the only company doing this, but I think it's high time that the computer parts
industry took the same responsible approach to packaging that the video game
industry adopted a few years ago.