MSI N280GTX-T2D1GOC, GeForce GTX 280 Redux

Introduction and Specifications

NVIDIA's GeForce GTX 200 series of graphics cards, that launched about 60 days prior to the publishing of this article, have undergone a significant price reduction since they first debuted.  At the time, NVIDIA flexed its GPU muscle with a high-end, single GPU graphics design that their primary competition (AMD) could only compete with by throwing two GPUs at the problem.  As such, NVIDIA initially priced their flagship GeForce GTX 280 at a significant premium; $649 upon its introduction on launch day.  Would you believe us, if we told you back then, that these cards would be selling for $200 dollars less in only about two months time?  You can believe it today, however, as many etailers have cards on the shelf right now at $449 and even less, with rebates etc.

Since then, we've seen the launch of AMD's
latest ATI dual GPU-based flagship, the Radeon HD 4870 X2.  There's no question, in all of the numbers we've shown you, it's faster than any standard retail GeForce GTX 280.  On the other the hand, AMD's Radeon HD 4870 X2 also costs $100 - $150 more currently, generates a lot more heat, consumes more power and in general has a more prominent acoustical signature, versus a GeForce GTX 280.  So with that stage set, we'll take you through the ins and outs of another retail version GeForce GTX 280 from MSI, as well as compare and contrast it versus other cards above and below its price range.  Journey on for our view of the GeForce GTX 280 redux and see how MSI's N280GTX-T2D1GOC shapes up in the current high-end 3D graphics landscape.

MSI's N280GTX-T2D1G GeForce GTX 280
Specifications and Features

 MSI N280GTX-T2D1G Features
  • 650MHz Core clock
  • 2300MHz Memory clock
    2nd Generation NVIDIA® Unified Architecture
  • PhysX™ Ready
  • 3-way NVIDIA® SLI™ Technology
  • Microsoft® DirectX 10 Support
  • NVIDIA® CUDA™ Technology
  • PCI Express 2.0 Support
  • GigaThread™  Technology
  • NVIDIA® Lumenex™ Engine
  • 16x Anti-aliasing Technology
  • 128-bit floating point High Dynamic-Range (HDR) Lighting
  • OpenGL® 2.1 Optimization and Support
  • Dual-link DVI Support
  • NVIDIA® PureVideo™ HD Technology
  • Discrete, Programmable Video Processor
  • Dual-stream Hardware Acceleration
  • Dynamic Contrast Enhancement & Color Stretch
  • HDCP Capable
  • Integrated SD and HD TV Output

Video Output Function

  • TV-Out (via S-Video to Composite)
  • HDTV-out
  • Dual-link DVI x 2 
  • VGA (via DVI to D-Sub adaptor)
  • HDMI (DVI to HDMI adaptor)


Bundle MSI developed driver and utilities

  • MSI Live Update Series (Live Graphics Card BIOS & Live Graphics Card Driver)
    Automatically online download & update Graphics Card BIOS & Drivers, reduce the risk of getting the wrong files, and never have the trouble on web site searching.
  • MSI Graphics Card Driver
  • MSI StarOSD
    StarOSD can monitor system information, adjust monitor figuration, and overclock system.
  • MSI Dual Core Center
  • MSI GoodMem
    Automatically release the system memory space, reduce the risk of system hang-up.
  • MSI LockBox
    Instantly enter the data lock mode when you must leave your system for a while.
  • MSI WMIinfo
    Automatically list the detail system configuration, it helpful for engineering service people.
    Vivid brings the easiest way to optimize graphic quality. Colorize your vision when browsing digital photos!!! Sharpen characters edge!!! Enhance contrast when playing game!!!
  • MSI Live
    including all real time life information you need, such as Live MSI Product News, Live Daily Information, Live Personal Schedule Manager, Live Search and more.
  • E-Color
  • MediaRing
  • ShowShift
  • ThinSoft Be Twin
  • Adobe Acrobat Reader
  • 1 year limited warranty

MSI's bundle is fairly standard issue with respect to the current lineup of flagship cards from NVIDIA.  There is no included game bundle with the N280GTX series but the card does come with a driver CD that offers a bunch of MSI-built utilities, like Live Update, which will actually upgrade your graphics card BIOS, if an update is released by MSI.  MSI also includes the standard GeForce GTX 280 bundle of cables and converters that we've seen in other bundles, including S-Video and Component output cables, a thermal sense cable for ESA compliant cases, as well as a DVI to SVGA d-sub converter and a DVI to HDMI converter.

This standard assortment of add-ons, in addition to MSI's quick start guide, comprises the bundle for the MSI N280GTX-T2D1GOC.  MSI's warranty is a little on the light side for our preference, offering only 1 year of coverage while many competitive offerings come with 3 year or even lifetime warranties.

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