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MSI FX5200-TDR128 Videocard Review

MSI FX5200-TDR128 Videocard Review - PCSTATS
Abstract: The FX5200-TDR128 also has a large software bundle with three full version games.
 76% Rating:   
Filed under: Video Cards Published:  Author: 
External Mfg. Website: MSI May 08 2003   Colin Sun  
Home > Reviews > Video Cards > MSI FX5200-TDR128

GeForceFX 5200 IQ and Overclocking

GeForceFX 5200 Image Quality

These days games cannot just be 'fast', they also have to look good. Image quality is a very subjective and opinionated point, but we still tested the image quality with 4xS and 8x AF enabled and compared that to a Radeon 9700 Pro with with 4x AA and 8x AF enabled. Yes I'm well aware that the Radeon 9700 Pro has higher AA and AF settings, but with both cards set the same, the Radeon 9700 Pro's image still looks sharper. nVIDIA has gone a long way in their image quality but it's still not up to par with ATi's offering.

For some examples of GFX5200 Vs. Radeon 9700 image quality comparisons please click here. The visual difference between reference-designed GFX5200 cards is not distinguishable in most cases.

Overclocking:

Even though the MSI GFX5200 is clearly a budget videocard, this doesn't mean it will be spared from our overclocking tests. The Albatron GFX5200 wasn't the greatest overclocker, so we were really not sure what to expect from the MSI FX5200-TDR128.

We've usually had pretty good luck overclocking MSI videocards in the past, and were hoping that this little card would keep the tradition running.

We first set out to see how high we could overclock the core. Using the coolbits registry hack we began to raise the core speed. Going up 5 MHz at a time. We easily passed 275, 280 and even 290 MHz. At 295 MHz we ran into a few stability problems, the card would run through both 3DMark tests with no problems, however, it would lockup while running the CodeCreatures benchmarks.

Lowering the core speed to 293 MHz eliminated all problems. Honestly this was a bit disappointing considering the Albatron FX5200P was able to reach 333 MHz with just a passive cooler. I guess it goes to show you overclocking is still luck of the draw.

With the 4ns Samsung memory rated for 500 MHz, I decided to be a bit more aggressive with our memory overclocking. Going up 25 MHz at a time, 475 MHz, 500 MHz and even 550 Mhz was easy - quite a contrast with our Albatron card which maxed out at 410 MHz memory speed. In the end we settled with a 578 MHz memory speed, anything higher and Artifact tester would start registering artifacts.

Visible artifacts were not present until we got up to 585 MHz but as always, we benchmark with zero artifacts on the screen visible or not.

Test System Specs:

PCStats Test System Specs:

Computer Hardware:

Processor: Intel Pentium 4 2.8 GHz
Clock Speed:

21 x 133 MHz

Motherboards:

MSI GNB MAX-FISR*

Chipset:

Intel E7205

Videocard:

ATi Radeon 9700 Pro (325/620)
MSI G4Ti4600-TD (300/650)
MSI G4MX440-T8X (250/400)
Albatron GeForceFX 5200P (250/400)
MSI FX5200-TDR128 (250/400)

MSI FX5200-TDR128 (293/578)

Memory:

2x 256MB Corsair XMS3500 CAS2

Hard Drive: 20GB Maxtor DiamondMAX+
CDROM: NEC 52x CD-ROM
Floppy:

Panasonic 1.44MB Floppy Drive

Heatsink: AVC Sunflower
PowerSupply: Vantec 470W PSU
Software Setup:

WindowsXP
Intel INF's 4.30.10
Catalyst 3.2
Detonator 43.45

Benchmarks:

3DMark2001SE
3DMark03
AquaMark
CodeCreatures
Commanche 4
Quake III Arena Ver 1.17
UT2003

AA Test, AF and AA+AF Test
3DMark2001SE
Quake III Arena

* - 8x AGP was enabled and functioning properly during all testing.

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Contents of Article: MSI FX5200-TDR128
 Pg 1.  MSI FX5200-TDR128 Videocard Review
 Pg 2.  — GeForceFX 5200 IQ and Overclocking
 Pg 3.  3DMark Benchmarks
 Pg 4.  Benchmarks: AquaMark
 Pg 5.  Benchmarks: CodeCreatures
 Pg 6.  Benchmarks: Commanche 4
 Pg 7.  Benchmarks: QIII Arena
 Pg 8.  Benchmarks: UT2003
 Pg 9.  Benchmarks: 3DMark2001, QIII Arena w/AA
 Pg 10.  Benchmarks: 3DMark2001, QIII Arena w/AF
 Pg 11.  Benchmarks: 3DMark2001, QIII Arena w/AA+AF
 Pg 12.  A good budget videocard...

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