VGA Card Buyer's Guide 07/2003

MSI FX5200-VTD128, Continued

On top of these utilities, MSI's bundle also includes the programs E-Color 3Deep, TwinSoft BeTwin (a tool for managing multiple user accounts on a PC), Trend PC-Cillin (Anti Virus software), Media Ring Dialer, Virtual Drive (VirtualDrive Copy DVD and Virtual CD-ROM ), RestoreIT! (RestoreIT! Data Recovery & System Backup ) as well as MSI 3D Desktop, Supreme Foreign Language Learning Machine (a language learning software), and Intervideo's WinDVD 5.1 software DVD player.

MSI's Media Center Deluxe II is more than just a media center - it lets the user control his or her entire PC (program launching, videos, music, radio, picture viewer, TV (video-in)). The big on-screen buttons and the large fonts make navigation especially easy when the PC is hooked up to a TV by TV-out. Video files can be edited, cut and encoded using Intervideo's WinCoder and WinProducer (Professional User's Pack).

The games bundle is also a highlight. The card ships with full versions of "Morrowind - The Elder Scrolls III" (2002), Tom Clancy's "Ghost Recon" (2001), "Duke Nukem - Manhattan Project" (2002), and an extra CD featuring seven game demos.

Conclusion: MSI's FX5200-VTD128 is an exceptionally full-featured entry-level card. It wins bonus points for its huge software bundle, TV-out and very quiet fan.

+ Quiet fan
+ TV-in & TV-out
+ Video cable included (S-VHS, 2 m)
+ Huge software bundle (see text for details)
+ MSI software tools
+ Media Center Deluxe II (control center for the PC, useful in combination with TV-out)
+ Good games bundle with current titles
+ TwinBios

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MSI FX5200-VTD128
3D ChipNVIDIA GeForceFX 5200
Memory128 MB DDR (128bit), Samsung 4ns
Memory SpecsMax. Clock Rate: 500 MHz (DDR)
Clock Rate (Chip/Memory)250 / 400 MHz (DDR)
Hardware FeaturesVideo-In & OutTwinBios
Fan Noise43.0 dB
SoftwareMSI 3D! Turbo ExperienceMSI Media Center II DeluxeMSI Tool SammlungMSI 3D DesktopE-Color 3DeepTwinSoft BeTwinPC-Cillin (Anti-Virus)MediaRing DialerFarsatone VirtualDriveFarstone RestoreIT!WinDVD 5.1Supreme Foreign Language L.M.WinCoder / WinProducerMorrowindGhost ReconDuke Nukem Manhattan ProjectDemo CD