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MSI Brings Back the Turbo Button

By - Source: Tom's Hardware | B 18 comments

Turbo buttons on the PCs went extinct after the 386/486-era. But now, according to TweakTown it appears that MSI will be trying to resurrect it for the button happy crowd with the MSI GeForce N9600 GT Diamond graphics card.

After some reconstructive surgery, MSI turned the sleek single-slot reference design of the GeForce 9600 GT into a honking dual-slot port-happy behemoth featuring an unmarked red button. The button located along side the plethora of output ports will allow users to overclock the GPU core, memory clock speeds, and increase the voltages.

However, MSI indicated that the turbo button currently does not support SLI mode. Meaning when two of these 9600 GTs are paired up, the shiny turbo button will be there for aesthetic reasons only — bummer. However, as with all new technology, MSI is continuing to improve support, and expects SLI support in the near future. MSI did not reveal however, that a SLI-compatible turbo button will be available by a simple firmware upgrade.

Details on clock speeds were not revealed, but the card will feature 2GB of GDDR3 memory, dual DVI, HDMI, DisplayPort, SPDIF, and of course the turbo button. Enthusiasts nostalgic of the good-old days of turbo buttons can expect to pick up their GeForce N9600 GT by the end of June with an expected street price of $250 to $300. Reference 9600 GTs can be found at the rock bottom price of $99 during sales. A quick glance at Newegg puts the average price to be around $150. Quite a price premium for a turbo button that only works half the time. Only time will tell if turbo buttons will go the way of the Dodo again.

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  • 0 Hide
    mfarlow , May 27, 2008 5:54 PM
    Seems like a pretty useless feature. How many people are actually going to toggle between a fast graphics card, and a not so fast one.

    The reason the turbo button on the 386/486 went away was because no one ever switched off turbo.
  • 0 Hide
    nachowarrior , May 27, 2008 6:07 PM
    i see what you're saying, not to mention the fact that most "turbo" functions are usually just a change in the bios of any given board. I still have a "turbo" function in my old socket A machine, but via the bios only. But I can see how this might be convenient for a card that doesn't scale it's clock speeds on memory and gpu or if a particular game doesn't like a full overclock. you can just mash the button on the fly. However, I highly doubt this product will do well for several reasons. First and foremost being the super high price. You can just get a wicked fast card for that price, or two standard 96gt's or 2 3870's for that matter. Secondly, i doubt 2gigs of gddr3 will be anything less than overkill for the gpu and will not likely give any huge performance gains over standard versions. 1/2 gig to 1 gig hardly makes a huge difference on higher end cards. These companies need to stop wasting money on ubercards that suck and just focus on getting faster, higher end , cards to a more marketable price. but why should they do that when they can make 250 dollars profit on one of these instead of just 50-100 bucks profit?
  • 0 Hide
    bgd73 , May 27, 2008 6:10 PM
    why even have a turbo button. turbo button says "I am too stupid to keep it at full speed." There is too many dynamics for a turbo button. One "turbos" thier way into as fast as it goes automatically nowadays. PS: I bought my last msi board. It was and is a good board. platinum, all intel... no crazy chips.Will hang onto it like an 87 subaru...Todays msi is like a boxer engine with 5 main bearings, leaving the 3 people who run computers in reality in this world to ask "Why?"
  • 0 Hide
    cryogenic , May 27, 2008 6:14 PM
    Well, newsflash, turbo buttons have been replaced by technologies like Cool&Quiet, Power Now etc ...
  • 2 Hide
    LkS , May 27, 2008 6:18 PM
    Isn't the idea so that you can turn it to not turbo when you are not playing all those games which require 'turbo' power and save some electricity?
  • 0 Hide
    velocityg4 , May 27, 2008 6:41 PM
    From what I remember of the turbo button I never noticed a difference in speed. Probably because I was running Win 3.1 and DOS 6 on a 33Mhz 486DX and only running basic office applications (and Star Trek 25th anniversary WOOH!). So I probably never taxed the computer enough to even use those 33Mhz.

    However I could see the use of this Turbo button since the GPU is gulping more energy overclocked. By the simple button click you could lower clock speeds and energy usage/heat generation when simply using Open Office or Firefox.

    I would love this if it switched between O'C for gaming then 1/4 speed energy usage for non-3D intensive uses.

    Currently by I am using Windows XP with Firefox, Thunderbird and iTunes Running and my GPU is just gulping down energy, belching out heat and spinning my fans for no good reason.
  • 1 Hide
    Anonymous , May 27, 2008 6:49 PM
    I love the turbo button just cause that means theres two bios chips on board. While its pretty much useless its comes in handy when you slightly over overclock your graphics card and cant see your screen anymore. Basically it just comes in handy to have the extra chip in case you mess up...
  • 0 Hide
    B-Unit , May 27, 2008 7:51 PM
    2GB for a 9600GT?!?! Talk about a waste...
  • 0 Hide
    grieve , May 27, 2008 8:09 PM
    Damn, a turbo enabled one with no button would be better. Who would buy this?

    So... you open your case move all them water cables to hit the button every time you want to go moderately faster, Ill pass.

    Ill place this with other stupid inventions… like a Pay toilet.
  • 0 Hide
    grieve , May 27, 2008 8:12 PM
    - Black Highlighter
    - Ejector seat for helicopters
    - Waterproof cups
    - Braille TV guide
    - Turbo button on graphix card
    - Caffeine-free Diet Coke
    - Flashbulb tester
    - Inflatable dart boards
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , May 27, 2008 8:15 PM
    There was a very valid reason for turbo. Many applications, specifically games of the time, ran based off of the system clock. If you ever tried to play a 386 game on a pentium and everything was running mach speed then you understand. The turbo button was not there to speed things up, but drop things down into comaptibility mode for these applications. I remember running a boot disk with a software slow-down in order to play Ultima 7 on my 120MHz Pentium.
  • 0 Hide
    dmacfour , May 27, 2008 11:17 PM
    Waterproof towels, Turbo buttons, Glow in the dark sunglasses, etc.

    Just overclock the damn thing. Rivatuner isn't that hard to use.
  • 0 Hide
    lx_flier , May 27, 2008 11:29 PM
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , May 27, 2008 11:48 PM
    "Quite a price premium for a turbo button that only works half the time. Only time will tell if turbo buttons will go the way of the Dodo again."

    This busch league mediocrity is now turning into some kind of weird as resurrection of Romper Room or some shit...


  • 0 Hide
    lopopo , May 28, 2008 12:34 AM
    The marketing people at MSI are....not smart. This button is cumbersome and really this sorta thing would have been much more sucesful is it was marketed as a power saving state perhaps acesible though software ( or if you really like buttons a drive bezel option). This is no surprise just look at how they market other products.
  • 0 Hide
    Balshoy , May 28, 2008 6:21 AM
    Apparently Msi's marketing director is Dee Dee... at least that explains why a sudden urge for a red button "conveniently" placed at the back of the case. :D 
  • 0 Hide
    martel80 , May 28, 2008 8:14 AM
    It would be good to add a system-wide slowdown button which would lower all the possible voltages on the board and graphics and underclock everything to some reasonable minimum. If you could save like 20-40 W while reading web, using Office/mail etc. I would sure use that option. It could be even software-based, activated through a hotkey.
    I have a HD 3870 and I think the minimum clocks it uses at idle are way too high (I use either XP in classic look or Linux Gnome without any visuals - visual effects, skins etc. are just useless crap anyway). The CPU and memory could also go much lower on clocks/voltages.
    I would like the option of building a high-end, power-hungry rig and turning it into office-grade power-savvy machine with one click.
  • 0 Hide
    rocket_sauce , June 3, 2008 4:38 PM
    I agree w/LKS...but I think that feature should be automated by the programming. Seems like it should be an easy thing to do for a card and game to talk to each other and say "Hello, please give me more power".

    Sounds to me like they are putting the button on there in case you want to OC. I dont think it OC's for you. Sounds like it just unlocks certain features like voltage, w/o having to do a vmod.