VGA Card Buyer's Guide 07/2003

MSI FX5600-VTDR128 [Editor's Choice], Continued

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 infrared 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. Video files can be edited, cut and encoded using Intervideo's WinCoder and WinProducer (Professional User's Pack).

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: With its very good multimedia features, its huge software bundle and the solid 3D performance, we have no trouble recommending the MSI FX5600-VTDR128 wholeheartedly and giving it an Editor's Choice. If you don't need such a feature-rich card, though, there are faster alternatives available. Thanks to its very quiet fan (25 dB), the card is practically silent.

+ Practically silent fan! (25.0 dB)
+ Hardware monitoring
+ 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)
+ Infrared remote control for Media Center Deluxe II
+ Good games bundle with current titles
+ TwinBios

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MSI FX5600-VTDR128
3D ChipNVIDIA GeForceFX 5600
Memory128 MB DDR (128bit), Samsung 3.6ns
Memory SpecsMax. Clock Rate: 550 MHz (DDR)
Clock Rate (Chip/Memory)325 / 550 MHz (DDR)
Hardware FeaturesVideo-In & OutTwinBiosIR remote controll
Fan Noise25.0 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