MSI GeForce FX5200 TDR128 - HotHardware

MSI GeForce FX5200 TDR128

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The MSI GeForce FX5200 TDR128
A Budget Card with a Little Extra

By: Jeff Bouton
June 3rd, 2003

The Remote Control and Media Center Deluxe II
Adding Versatility to the Picture


One of the more versatile items to be included with the MSI GeForceFX 5200 is the Remote Control and Media Center Deluxe II software.  These two components work together to give the user complete control of the system's multimedia functions, clearly and easily.  The remote control seamlessly maps to the Media Center Deluxe II's major functions and can also be customized to run third party products as well, integrating with a TV and FM Tuner card.  The remote control works in connection with a small infrared receiver that plugs into the FX5200 and can be routed to the front of the PC.  We've seen a number of products hit the market as of late that offer remote control functions and it's hard to argue the benefits of such an item.

The Media Center Deluxe II comes with 8 major components for viewing TV, DVDs, pictures and video clips not to mention easy access to music files and select games and programs.  Compared to other proprietary software we've tested from MSI, the Media Center Deluxe II is by far the most versatile, professional looking and useful we've seen.  When we first loaded the software it became immediately clear that MSI was aiming for a clean, easy to read menu system that could be viewed on a TV or monitor.  Below are a number of screen shots of the major components of the Media Center Deluxe II software.
 


Main Menu

Play Music

View Pictures

Play Video Clips

Watch DVDs

Play Games

Run Programs


After we used the Remote Control and Media Center Deluxe II software, we were very impressed, but there is still room for improvement.  We found the infrared sensor that connects to the rear of the FX5200 to be tethered to a rather short wire which may be limiting to some users.  This, in our opinion, makes for a strong argument to dispense with the infrared design altogether and move to an RF based design, eliminating the need for lengthy wires and clear line sight.  The other issue is the overall application of the Remote Control and Media Center Deluxe II software.  We must admit, when we first saw the inclusions of the remote control we were a bit puzzled as to why MSI would include such an item with a card that doesn't have a TV Tuner.  Traditionally these types of features make the best compliment to a TV/Video card, but MSI obviously felt it was still a valuable addition.  This is evident in that the Media Center Deluxe II is highly configurable and is designed to integrate with other TV tuner products.  In the end, we began to see the value in the remote control features, but even then, these features are best reserved for specific applications.  We doubt the average user would have much of a use for the Remote Control and Media Center Deluxe II with a standard PC setup unless outputting the video signal to a TV is planned.  The strength of the Remote Control and Media Center Deluxe II lies with users looking to integrate a PC into their home entertainment system.  In a situation like this, the Remote Control and Media Center Deluxe II software is well suited and an invaluable convenience.  The only thing missing is video-in capabilities which would balance out the package a bit.

 

HotHardware Test Systems
AMD All The Way

 

MSI GeForceFX 5200

Detonator 43.45

 

ATI All-in-Wonder 9000 Pro
Catalyst Driver 3.2

 

AMD AthlonXP 2100+

Asus A7N8X Deluxe
512MB PC2700 RDRAM

Western Digital 30GB ATA-100 7200RPM Hard Drive

Creative 52X C-DROM

Windows XP Pro SP-1

DirectX 9.0a

Methodology:
 

We chose to test the MSI GeForceFX 5200 on the Asus A7N8X Deluxe with an Athlon XP 2100+.  The first thing we did when configuring this system was enter the BIOS and "Load Optimized Defaults".  We then configured the Memory CAS Latency and other memory timings to be set by the SPD. The hard drive was formatted, and Windows XP Professional w/ SP1 was installed. After the Windows installation was complete, we installed the nForce chipset drivers and then hit the Windows Update site.  We downloaded all of the available updates, with the exception of the ones related to Windows Messenger. Then we installed all of the necessary drivers for the rest of our components, disabling and removing Windows Messenger.  Auto-Updating and System Restore was also disabled, and we set up a 768MB permanent page file.  Lastly, we set Windows XP?s Visual Effects to "best performance", installed all of the benchmarking software, defragged the hard drive and ran all of the tests at the CPU's default clock speed.  For comparison, the scores of the GeforceFX 5200 were compared to those of an ATi All-Wonder-Radeon 9000 Pro.

 

FuterMark's 3DMark03
Direct X 9 Benchmark

Lately there have been some questions as to how NVIDIA drivers function with FutureMark's 3DMark03.  Each side has their own take on the issue but in the end it is you and I who have to deal with the doubts on the accuracy of the benchmark.  These questions were serious enough for FutureMark to issue a patch to insure that the scores were accurate which was followed by a response from NVIDIA.  It is unfortunate that this has occurred, but until this situation is resolved the best we can do as reviewers is to make sure the software we test is current and have faith that the scores are fair and accurate.

All in all, the MSI GeForce FX5200 TDR128 put up a fair score, but until we get more value based DirectX 9 hardware in our labs, we have little to compare it to.  Next we'll jump into more familiar territory with some of our trusted DirectX and OpenGL benchmarks.

3DMark2001SE and UT2003

 

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