VGA Card Buyer's Guide 07/2003

MSI FX5200-TDR128

The MSI FX5200-TDR128 is based on NVIDIA's GeForceFX 5200 (NV34). It features 128 MB of 128 bit DDR memory with an access time of 4 ns. The clock speeds are set to 250/ 400 MHz (core/ memory), as specified by NVIDIA's reference design. To make BIOS updates safer, MSI has fitted the card with two BIOS chips (TwinBios). A jumper on the front of the card is used to select the active BIOS.

The card is cooled by a copper-colored heatsink with a pleasantly quiet fan (43.5 dB). This fan produces a whistling sound, though, making it seem louder than it really is. Hardware monitoring functionality is handled by a Winbond chip (W83L785R) and covers fan speed, temperatures and voltages. On the software side of things, MSI's rather playfully designed monitoring tool, 3D! Turbo Experience, displays the information to the user. The tool runs in a browser window as a Shockwave Flash application and also offers overclocking options.

TV output is handled by the 3D chip's internal encoder functionality. S-VHS and composite video sources can be connected to the card using the plastic adapter that comes with the card. A video cable is not included.