VGA Card Buyer's Guide 07/2003

MSI FX5200-TDR128, Continued

The software bundle is very extensive and extraordinary. In addition to the aforementioned 3D! Turbo Experience tool, MSI ships a number of other utilities with the board. These are: Live Update 2 (automatic check for, download and installation of new BIOS files and drivers), MSI Secure Doc (file encryption utility), MSI GoodMem (a tool to flush the system memory), MSI LockBox (security software which allows the user to lock the computer when he or she leaves the workstation), and MSI WMI Info (a system information tool).

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, or when using the infra-red remote control that comes with this version of the card. Using the remote, the Media Center software can be completely remote-controlled. Unfortunately, the remote control feature does not extend to mouse support via IR. The IR receiver is connected to the TV-out adapter using a 90-cm long cable.

The games bundle is another 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: The MSI FX5200-TDR128 is another good entry-level card. Its IR remote allows users to control the multimedia software remotely to watch DVDs or videos, listen to music, etc. The quiet fan is an additional bonus.

+ Quiet fan
+ TV-out
+ 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

- Video cable not included

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MSI FX5200-TDR128
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 Noise43.5 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