Our Summary & Conclusion
Performance Summary: The MSI RX1800XT-VT2D512E was a relatively strong performer. Due to the fact that its stock clock speeds are identical to ATI's reference cards, the MSI RX1800XT-VT2D512E performed exactly like an ATI built Radeon X1800 XT. Generally speaking, the RX1800XT-VT2D512E was faster than a 256MB GeForce 7800 GTX, especially when anti-aliasing and anisotropic filtering were used, but the Radeon X1900 XTX and 512MB GeForce 7800 GTX were faster overall. The X1900 XTX outpaced the MSI RX1800XT-VT2D512E across the board, as did the 512MB GeForce 7800 GTX in all but a handful of tests.
There is a lot to like about the MSI RX1800XT-VT2D512E. For all intents and purposes, this card is identical to an ATI built Radeon X1800 XT. They share the same PCB, specifications, features, and cooler. If we strictly focus on the hardware, the only thing that differentiates the MSI RX1800XT-VT2D512E from an ATI built card are the decals on the fan shroud. But MSI's offering is somewhat "different" than ATI's in a couple of other key areas. For one, MSI ships their card with a more gamer friendly bundle that includes a complete game and DVD playback software, although the game isn't exactly a marquis title. And, perhaps most importantly, MSI's RX1800XT-VT2D512E is currently selling for far less than an ATI Radeon X1800 XT, or any other X1800 XT for that matter. As of today, you can purchase the MSI RX1800XT-VT2D512E for $399 at a couple of our preferred on-line retailers (ZipZoomFly, NewEgg). That makes the MSI RX1800XT-VT2D512E about $50 to $100 less expensive than most 256MB GeForce 7800 GTXs and Radeon X1800 XTs, and approximately $200 to $350 less expensive than most Radeon X1900 XTXs and 512MB GeForce 7800 GTXs. Considering the very complete feature set offered by the Radeon X1800 XT GPU, the card's strong performance, and its very competitive price point, we've got to give MSI some praise here. We're giving the RX1800XT-VT2D512E a strong 8.5 on the Heat Meter, and hope MSI starts a trend with this card's aggressive price point.
|•_Great Price (Relatively Speaking)
•_In Stock at Multiple Resellers
|•_OpenGL Performance Should be better