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MSI FX5950 Ultra-VTD256 "Red PCB" Videocard Review
MSI FX5950 Ultra-VTD256
FX5950 Ultra-VTD256 with its red PCB and large copper plated cast aluminum heatsinks weighs in around 500g, making it one pretty heavy videocard.
 90% Rating:   
Filed under: Video Cards Published:  Author: 
External Mfg. Website: MSI Feb 04 2004   C. Sun  
Home > Reviews > Video Cards > MSI FX5950 Ultra-VTD256

Quiet, and Overclockable

The temperatures we saw during use seemed in line with other FX5950 Ultra videocards, and the TOP Tech cooler was certainly very quiet. To keep the rear of the card coverd, the FX5950 Ultra-VTD256 employs a two part cooling solution there. One large "U" shaped heatsink takes care of the memory and a smaller HSF with thermal pad draws heat away from the PCM directly behind the chip.

Since the FX5950 Ultra-VTD256 supports VIVO (thanks to the Philips 7108AE chipset), MSI also include a great little break out box which has both S-Video and composite in and out ports! Thrown in for good measure is the S-Video-to-S-Video cable.

Overclocking with Colin: A lesson in what to shoot for.

With GeForceFX 5950 Ultra based videocards generating as much heat as they do, I didn't really know how much headroom the FX5950 Ultra-VTD256 had in it. As usual I started with the core overclocking first... w ith the core clocked by default at 475 MHz, I first set it to 500 MHz and was not disappointed - it stuck. After that I raised the core speed to 550 MHz, finally ending up with a maximum core speed of 580 MHz. With more extreme forms of cooling, I would guess that this card could have easily gone past 600 MHz.

The FX5950 Ultra-VTD256 uses 2ns Hynix DDR memory which have a maximum theoretical speed of 500 MHz DDR (1000 MHz SDR). The memory is clocked by default at 950 MHz, so I raised the memory clock speed to 1000 MHz. I pushed the memory higher in 10 MHz intervals, and leveled out at a decent 1040MHz. Anything higher and the card would start to produce artifacts in the benchmarks.

Ultimately the videocard was extremely unstable at an overclocked speed of 580/1040, and only worked well when the core was dropped down to 550 MHz and memory to 1020MHz.

Benchmarks and 3DMark03

PCstats has been a supporter of FutureMark since the days of 3DMark99, but for the time being we have stopped including 3DMark03 in Videocard benchmark suite. It has become clear that recent events have cast so much doubt in the legitimacy of 3DMark03 results that it no longer serves much reference value to our readers. We are aware of FutureMark's Approved Drivers list, but they can be somewhat limiting if newer WHQL drivers are available on the web. If the situation changes we will re-evaluate our position, and reintroduce the benchmark as decided. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact us by e-mail or speak your mind in the PCstats forums.

PCStats Test System Specs:

intel pentium 4 3.0c

clock speed: 15 x 200 mhz = 3.0 ghz

gigabyte 8knxp, i875p


ati radeon 9800xt
ati radeon 9800 pro
ati radeon 9700 pro
asus radeon 9600xt
msi fx5900u-vtd256
msi fx5900xt-vtd128
gigabyte gv-nv57u128d
msi fx5950 ultra-vtd256


2x 256mb corsair twinx 3200ll

hard drive: 40gb wd special ed
cdrom: nec 52x cd-rom
powersupply: vantec stealth 470w
software setup

windowsxp build 2600
intel inf 5.02.1012
catalyst 3.9
detonator 53.03

workstation benchmarks

gun metal 2
x2 the threat

aa test, af and aa+af test
x2 the threat

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Contents of Article: MSI FX5950 Ultra-VTD256
 Pg 1.  MSI FX5950 Ultra-VTD256 "Red PCB" Videocard Review
 Pg 2.  — Quiet, and Overclockable
 Pg 3.  Benchmarks: 3DMark2001, CodeCreatures
 Pg 4.  Benchmark: AquaMark2.3
 Pg 5.  Benchmarks AquaMark3, Gun Metal 2
 Pg 6.  Benchmarks: X2 The Threat, UT2003
 Pg 7.  Advanced Benchmarks: 3DMark2001, X2 The Threat
 Pg 8.  Conclusions and Advanced UT2003 Benchmarks

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