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
NVIDIA's Mainstream Screamer
CLICK ANY IMAGE FOR AN ENLARGED VIEW
GeForce FX 5900 XT Chipset Features
NVIDIA CINEFX 2.0 Engine
Advanced pixel shaders deliver 2x the
floating-point shader pixel performance of
Support for Microsoft® DirectX® 9.0 (DX9) pixel
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
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
Support for advanced lossless compression
algorithms for both color, texture, and z data at
even higher resolutions and frame rates.
Accelerates shadow volumes for next generation
Accurately maintains shadows while discarding
Advanced Display Pipeline with
Full nView Capabilities
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
integrated 400MHz RAMDACs for display
resolutions up to and including
- Dual DVO ports
for interfacing to external TMDS transmitters.
- Internal TV
- Dual internal
TMDS encoders (one single and one Dual link)
able to drive next generation flat panel
displays with resolutions greater than
- VIP 1.1
interface support for Video-In function.
Video Mixing Renderer (VMR) support for multiple
video windows with full video quality and
features in each window.
Digital Vibrance control (DVC)
- DVC color
- DVC image
- AGP 8X
including Fast Writes and sideband addressing.
process technology for higher levels of
integration and higher operating clock speeds.
thermal management and thermal monitoring.
- 40 mmx40 mm,
BGA 1309 flip-chip package.
Operation Systems and API
- Windows® XP /
2000 / Me / 98SE.
DirectX support, including DirectX 9.0 and
- Full OpenGL
1.4 and lower.
- NVIDIA Unified
Driver Architecture (UDA)
compliant professional OpenGL 1.4 API with
NVIDIA extensions, on all Windows operating
for Windows® XP, Windows® Me, Windows® 2000.
CLICK ANY IMAGE FOR AN ENLARGED VIEW
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.