If you're planning on upgrading to Microsoft Windows
Vista take a bit more time when searching for a videocard and get something
that's based around DirectX 10.
While it is true all you need is DirectX 9.0C to technically run Vista's
AeroGlass feature, a DirectX 10 videocard will give you the ability to try
out the latest games.
The PCI Express x16 MSI NX8500GT-TD256E videocard is a prime
example of value in an entry level part, and with a retail price of $93 CDN ($86 USD, £43 GBP) you're getting
one heck of a value videocard.
The MSI NX8500GT-TD256E uses nVIDIA's GeForce 8500GT GPU
and comes with 256MB of GDDR2 memory. Other goodies the videocard supports are
dual monitors, TV/Component output and HDCP so you can watch those encrypted
HD-DVD and Blu-Ray movies. You don't get any software with the videocard.
I have to say it was a pleasant surprise to see just how
well the MSI
NX8500GT-TD256E performed in the benchmarks. The little videocard is not going
to set any speed records, but considering its price the NX8500GT-TD256E
performed fairly well for its GPU class. It can handle most games at a
reasonable framerate, with a resolution of 1024x768. Turning on AA or AF or
increasing the resolution though will be too much for this particular
The MSI NX8500GT-TD256E was pretty good at overclocking.
The G86 core went from a stock speed of 450 MHz to 676 MHz and the GDDR2 memory
went from 800 MHz to 1040 MHz. Overclocking boosted overall framerates slightly,
so if you find gaming too slow overclocking may help ease the burden.
Considering the intended market and user, the MSI
NX8500GT-TD256E videocard truly delivers a good performance. It has a bit of
everything packaged into a small and inexpensive videocard, and in terms of
value you can't beat that.
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