VGA Card Buyer's Guide 07/2003

MSI FX5600-VTDR128 [Editor's Choice]

MSI's FX5600-VTDR128 uses NVIDIA's GeForceFX 5600 chip, a.k.a. NV31. The card uses 128 MB of 128 bit DDR memory with an access time of 3.6 ns. The clock speeds adhere to NVIDIA's specifications (325/ 550 MHz). To reduce the risks involved in flashing the card's BIOS, MSI has fitted the card with two BIOS chips (TwinBios). A jumper on the TV-out/ -in adapter selects the active BIOS.

The card is cooled by a copper-colored heatsink and an almost silent fan (25 dB). 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.