Product Type: MSI graphic cards
Newest Review: ... range. In terms of price, the card holds up well, and you would be able to pick one up for around £80. However MSI do many differen... more
Member Name: JPShooter
Date: 22/01/04, updated on 22/01/04 (920 review reads)
Advantages: Quite cheap, lots of RAM, DX9 compatible
Disadvantages: Not brilliant, needs a faster graphics processor
In a way, my choice for this card was arbitrary. I was buying a new computer and had the choice of what to get. I certainly wasn't going to keep my old card - an MX440. Not a bad card in its own right, but still a budget one nonetheless.
I was attracted by the FX5600 by its price - it was only £95 more, and it had 256mb of onboard RAM. There always seems to be big leap in price from around £100 to £250 - well out of my budget. I knew the FX range was supposed to be good, and MSI are a reputable firm for branded graphics cards. Unfortunately I had the oem version and hence no bundled extras - not the worst thing in the world but you get what you pay for.
256MB DDR RAM
DirectX 9.0 compatible
Supports 128-bit colour
Dual 400MHz RAMDACs
I did a run recently on my Athlon 2800, 1024MB RAM machine and it got a score of over 2000 on 3DMark03. Not bad, but not amazing. Using the example from some games, I can run Max Payne 2 in 1280x1024 resolution with maximum graphic options no problem at all. In fact, I can run most games on 1280x1024 and they run well, including recent games.
Now I find it difficult to think of what else to write, without talking about pixel shading and vertexes and other technical terms which make for a very boring review. However, I can say that the card is always more than a match for the system requirements of new games. It is also DirectX 9 compatible, which means it is based on the latest form of Microsoft's graphic drivers. Some games often need this to run well, such as Rainbow 6 3: Raven Shield. Additionally, nVidia release drivers for the GeForce range relatively regularly, and these updates have solved some problems with some games.
The card sports 256MB of RAM, but don't be fooled into thinking this makes it better than a 128MB card. Although it helps, the speed of t
he graphical processor is important, and the FX5600 certainly can't keep pace with similar efforts from ATI's Radeon range. In terms of price, the card holds up well, and you would be able to pick one up for around £80. However MSI do many different variations of this card, so choose carfeully.
I haven't used the DVI monitor support, but a friend of mine with the same card has and he reports it as being good. The TV-out I have used, and is certainly much clearer than my previous MX440. The output is clear and good for putting DVDs on a big screen. The card also supports multiple monitors, if you're fortunate enough, and can spread the image across more than one screen. Ideally you need a good monitor to get the full delivery from this card, preferably a 19" flatscreen CRT or above - I can't comment on TFT screens as I haven't used one.
Apologies for the curt nature of this review, but it's hard to know what to put with resorting to jargon-mode. For the laymen (including me) - it's cheap, has lots of RAM and much more than meet the system requirements of all new games. Driver support from nVidia is good, and you probably can't buy much better for less than £90.