MSI GeForce FX 5900 XT

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The MSI GeForce FX 5900 XT - Page 6

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

By, Marco Chiappetta
March 25, 2004

Head-to-Head Performance With Tomb Raider: AOD
Lara is Back! As Crappy as Ever!

Tomb Raider: AOD

Although Tomb Raider: Angel of Darkness won't be winning any "Game of the Year" awards, it is one of the more advanced DirectX games currently available. We've recorded a custom demo of Lara jogging through an indoor garden area in the "Prague3" map. When using the Pixel Shader 2.0 code path, this area of the game utilizes a DOF (depth of field) blurring effect to enhance the sense of depth and size. We ran our custom demo at a resolution of 1024x768 and then again at 1600x1200, using both the Pixel Shader 1.4 and 2.0 code paths (with and without 4x anti-aliasing in the PS 2.0 tests).

With our custom Tomb Raider: AOD timedemo, the MSI GeForce FX5900XT-VTD128 once again outpaced the competition, in every test configuration.  In the PS 1.4 tests, it was about 33% faster then the second place finisher, the Radeon 9600 XT, at 1024x768.  At 1600x1200, the MSI card's lead over the 9600 XT ballooned to 59%.  In the PS 2.0 tests, things get a little more interesting because ATi's current crop of cards handle DX9 titles better than NVIDIA's, but the FX5900XT-VTD128 still posted the highest frame-rates.

Overclocking With The MSI GeForce FX5900XT-VTD128
Fast is Good.  Faster is Better!

Before wrapping things up, we installed CoolBits and overclocked the MSI GeForce FX5900XT-VTD128 until we begun to see visual anomalies on-screen.  As we mentioned earlier, MSI includes a custom set of drivers with dynamic overclocking built-it with this card as well, but they were based on the v45.33 Detonators - we opted to use the latest v56.56 Forceware release.  When all was said and done, we were able to take our card up to "only" 437MHz for the core and 776MHz for the memory, up from the default clocks of 400MHz / 700MHz.  An overclock over 10% isn't terrible, but we've seen other 5900 XTs go quite a bit higher. Overclocking potential varies from card to card, however, so your mileage may vary.  To illustrate the benefits of our overclocking efforts, we re-ran the Gun Metal benchmark at 1280x1024, and saw a 10.3% increase in performance.

Ask any savvy PC enthusiast what they look for in a video card, and they'll likely answer you by saying it's got to be fast, quiet, and cheap.  Well, the MSI GeForce FX5900XT-VTD128 is fast - We ran 33 different tests with 9 different games and it outperformed the competition in 32 of them.  It's also nearly silent thanks to MSI's custom cooling solution and at $180 it's relatively cheap.  The ATi Radeon 9600 XT is much less expensive at $150, and the GeForce FX 5700 Ultra at $160 is cheaper as well, but the GeForce FX 5900XT's dominant performance is definitely worth the extra investment in our opinion.  Couple the MSI GeForce FX5900XT-VTD128's affordable price with its excellent bundle and feature set, and it's easy to declare this card a winner.  About the only thing that would make us apprehensive about buying a 5900XT today, is the impending release of new cards by both NVIDIA and ATi.  The significant price drops we've seen on the faster and more DX9 friendly ATi Radeon 9800 Pro should factor into your decision as well, but it is still roughly 25% more expensive than the GeForce FX 5900XT.  In the end though, MSI has done a great job with their GeForce FX5900XT-VTD128.  We're giving it a solid 9 on the HotHardware Heat Meter...

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