MSI NBox FX5900U-VTD256 Ultra Videocard Review
Back in the
days when 3Dfx was king and nVIDIA still a pre-pubescent teenager, manufacturers differentiated themselves
by clocking videocards higher then what was advised, and some
even included large software bundles to tip the scale. In this wonderful
period videocards were rarely based entirely on the reference design, then came what I
like to call the
'dark ages', manufacturers did nothing exciting with their products and followed the reference design down to a
tee. Not only that, but most products arrived on store shelves with the software bundles cut out.
Games if they were included, were old, out of date, or titles that never carried
much weight anyway.
though, there seem to have been some changes to which might indicate
the videocard industry is on the precipice of a renaissance. Many manufacturers are now
overclocking their cards right from the get go, and better software bundles are once
again being assembled.
were to buy a GeForceFX 5900 Ultra based videocard right now, you're most likely
going to get one built by Flextronics (nVIDIA's board partner) rather then
getting one built by the manufacturer of choice. This was done not just because the GeForceFX
5900 Ultra is an incredibly complex videocard, but also
because it's expensive to validate and build. nVIDIA
aren't giving manufacturers the option to skimp on certain parts and have Quality Assurance issues pop
up again (if you recall, Gainward experienced signifcant QA problems with their Ti4200 line)
that hurt the "GeForce" brand.
Officially, the centralized manufacturing is a stop gap solution. In the mean time
manufacturers have worked out the kinks in their own design and manufacturing process.
MSI are reportedly the first manufacturer to be selling their
own custom built GeForceFX 5900 Ultra's.
reference design is still followed to a "T", so to differentiate
the nBox, an extraordinary bundle of hardware (and we do
mean items other than the
videocard) and software has been assembled. In fact, the nBox has
easily the most impressive bundle of goodies we've seen in the last 12
Now that the bar has been raised, we can only
hope the days of bundling Duke Nukem and Serious Sam are finally
What makes the MSI NBox FX5900U-VTD256
Inside the ornate packaging MSI have bundled three full version games with
the 5900 Ultra videocard. These titles include Command & Conquer Generals,
Battlefield 1942 and Unreal II!
Separately, these three games would retail for about
$120 CDN, and perhaps more importantly, they each command a large online