MSI GeForce FX 5900 XT - HotHardware

MSI GeForce FX 5900 XT

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The MSI GeForce FX5900XT-VTD128
A Value Priced Powerhouse...

By, Marco Chiappetta
March 25, 2004

With all of the fan-fare reserved for high-end cards powered by NVIDIA's GeForce FX 5950 Ultra or ATi's Radeon 9800 XT, its easy to forget that these expensive products comprise only small percentage of the overall video card market.  Mainstream products, or those that are priced at or below $200, significantly outsell these high-end cards at retail and with OEMs.  Luckily for all of us, there is a lot to get excited about in this arena.  Buying a mainstream card no longer means sacrificing important features, and settling for sub-par performance.  NVIDIA and ATi have both released affordable GPUs, with full DirectX 9 capabilities and performance that is much closer to their flagship cards than in previous generations.  The GeForce FX 5700 Ultra, the ATi Radeon 9600 XT and GeForce FX 5900 XT have rapidly become favorites amongst enthusiasts for just these reasons.  Today on HotHardware, we're going to take a look a the latest card to arrive in the lab powered my a mainstream GPU, the MSI GeForce FX5900XT-VTD128.  This card is equipped with 128MB of RAM, a near silent cooler and it has video-in / video-out (ViVo) capabilities as well.  With these features and the performance of the GeForce FX 5900 XT, the FX5900XT-VTD128 seems like winner.  What do you say we put it to the test and find our for sure...

Specifications & Features of The MSI GeForce FX5900XT-VTD128
NVIDIA's Mainstream Screamer

    
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GeForce FX 5900 XT Chipset Features

NVIDIA CINEFX 2.0 Engine

  • Advanced pixel shaders deliver 2x the floating-point shader pixel performance of previous generations.
  • Support for Microsoft® DirectX® 9.0 (DX9) pixel shader 2.0+.
  • Support for DX9 vertex shader 2.0+.
  • Long pixel programs up to 1,024 instructions.
  • Long vertex programs up to 256 static instructions with up to 65,536 instructions executed.
  • Dynamic, conditional execution and flow control.
  • Architected for Cg and Microsoft HLSL for maximum compatibility for next generation content.
  • 128-bit, studio-quality, floating-point precision computation through the entire rendering pipeline.
  • Native hardware support for 32 bpp, 64bpp and 128 bpp rendering modes.
  • Up to 12 pixel shader operations/clock.
  • Up to 16 textures per rendering pass.
  • Support for sRGB texture format for gamma textures.
  • DirectX and S3TC texture compression.
  • Optimized for 32-, 24-, 16-, 15- and 8-bpp modes.
  • True-color, 64x64 hardware cursor alpha.
  • Multibuffering (double, triple or quad) for smooth animation and video playback.

Intellisample HCT Performance Technology

  • Increased visual quality at higher resolutions through advances in compression, anisotropic filtering, and anti-aliasing technology.
  • Blistering-fast anti-aliasing and compression performance.
  • Support for advanced lossless compression algorithms for both color, texture, and z data at even higher resolutions and frame rates.
  • Fast z-clear.

UltraShadow Technology

  • Accelerates shadow volumes for next generation games.
  • Accurately maintains shadows while discarding non-useful information.
Advanced Display Pipeline with Full nView Capabilities
  • Integrated NTSC/PAL TV encoder supporting resolutions up to 1024x768 without the need for panning with built-in Macrovision copy protection.
  • DVD and HDTV-ready MPEG-2 decoding up to 1920x1080i resolutions.
  • Dual, integrated 400MHz RAMDACs for display resolutions up to and including 2048x1536@85Hz
  • Dual DVO ports for interfacing to external TMDS transmitters.
  • Internal TV support.
  • Dual internal TMDS encoders (one single and one Dual link) able to drive next generation flat panel displays with resolutions greater than 1600x1200.
  • VIP 1.1 interface support for Video-In function.
  • Microsoft Video Mixing Renderer (VMR) support for multiple video windows with full video quality and features in each window.

Digital Vibrance control (DVC) 3.0

  • DVC color controls.
  • DVC image sharpening controls.

Advanced Technology

  • AGP 8X including Fast Writes and sideband addressing.
  • 0.13-micron process technology for higher levels of integration and higher operating clock speeds.
  • Advanced thermal management and thermal monitoring.
  • 40 mmx40 mm, BGA 1309 flip-chip package.

Operation Systems and API support

  • Windows® XP / 2000 / Me / 98SE.
  • Complete DirectX support, including DirectX 9.0 and lower.
  • Full OpenGL 1.4 and lower.

Compatibility

  • NVIDIA Unified Driver Architecture (UDA)
  • Fully compliant professional OpenGL 1.4 API with NVIDIA extensions, on all Windows operating systems.
  • WHQL-certified for Windows® XP, Windows® Me, Windows® 2000.

     

     
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MSI has historically bundled a very complete set of accessories and software with their products.  With the GeForce FX5900XT-VTD128, they continue that tradition.  Included with the card itself, we found an S-Video cable, a Molex power cable splitter, a DVI-to-DB15 adapter for those looking to take advantage of the card's dual-monitor capabilities using 2 analog CRTs, and a break-out box that houses the S-Video and Composite video-in and video-out connectors that work in conjunction with the FX5900XT-VTD128 ViVo capabilities.  MSI got really generous with the software, where we found the obligatory driver / utility CD, along with a multitude of games and other utilities. MSI included 10 different games, or game demos, with the FX5900XT-VTD128 including full versions of Duke Nukem: Manhattan Project, Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon, and The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind. A "7 in 1 Games Collection" CD consisting of The Sum of All Fears, IL-2 Sturmovik, Serious Sam 2 Lite, Rally Trophy, Beam Breakers, Zax: The Alien Hunter and Oni was also bundled with the card.

In addition to the game CDs, MSI included a myriad of other utilities and applications like WinDVD Creator Plus, Photoshop Album SE, and 3D Album SE.  A custom overclocking utility and a modified driver set equipped with Dynamic Overclocking Technology, or D.O.T. as MSI calls it, are included as well.  As you can see in the badge above, 11 CDs with a total of 20 utilities are bundled with the FX5900XT-VTD128.  For a more detailed list of the included software and accessories, head on over to this page on MSI's site, they outline the features of each bundled application quite well.

The Card...

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