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MSI FX5600-VTDR128: We have a look at MSI's latest mainstream video card offering. Is it a suitable replacement for the Ti4200? That's what we'll try to determine today.
 
 
Date: June 23, 2003
Catagory: Video Cards
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MSI FX5600-VTDR128

I am happy to report that this FX5600 doesn't have the "space heater" cooler on it - MSI has thrown on their cooling solution, which allows the card to only take up the AGP card area, instead of cutting off the first PCI slot. MSI calls their cooling solution "T.O.P. Tech Cooling" and is reported to only generate 28 db of sound, the cooler it seems to be the exact same one that's on the Ti4200.


MSI's T.O.P. cooling solution only generates 28dB according to it's packaging.

Also, the card isn't that long; it's about 1 inch longer than the Radeon 9700 Pro, and shouldn't have any problems fitting into ATX compliant cases.

I was also reassured by all of the quality control stickers that were on the back of the card, proving MSI inspected it and at least cares about their products completely working before they leave the factory.

MSI once again includes a DVI connector on their card as well as dual VGA out, which has pretty much become expected in a current card. In addition to this however, MSI has included their dongle that allows for S-Video and Composite in and out. Other than the ports, the dongle is similar to the one included with the Ti4200 I received from MSI except for a small wire coming out of the side, and a switch on the top. MSI has included an IR receiver and remote control for this video card, as well as hardware access to their Twin-BIOS.

You can see the locations for "S/OUT V/OUT S/IN V/IN" S representing S-Video, V representing composite, as well as the T-BIOS switch and IR cable.



The VIVO connectors

That's right - they give you a remote control for your computer, a cool way to access your computer or one more controller to keep track of. If I decided to use this card with the Pentium 4 motherboard I'm about to review, I would have three remote controls to worry about - one from the video card, one from the motherboard, one from the sound card. I've been looking to see if there's any sort of standardized computer IR effort, but unfortunately there isn't.


MSI's included remote controller



MSI's complimentary IR receiver

The controller has a power button, suspend, sleep, and home on the top; they relate to not the computer's power (I suppose they could have a connector from the video card to Wake On Lan… unfortunately they don't,) but rather to turn on MSI's Media Center program. Directly below that are two buttons, one labeled DVD, one labeled FM. The first button's use should be obvious - it opens your DVD player (MSI bundles InterVideo's WinDVD.) I am unsure, however, as to if the FM button turns on FM radio, or if it's for MSI's enclosed Foreign Language Learning Machine. Honestly, I still cannot fathom why MSI bundles software to learn foreign languages with a video card… Which is probably why I'm not in marketing. I haven't had time or a reason to use the language learning software, but MSI must think it's important, or at least commonly used, if they position its button right below the commonly used DVD button.

From there down are the menu and exit buttons, direction pad, MTS and C.C/TTX buttons Below are 8 colored buttons - TV, FM Radio, Music, Pictures, Video Clip, DVD, Game Zone, and Application. Below that is a number bad, channel and volume up and down, and finally a mute button with play/pause, seek, record, skip, and stop.

Next Page - The Software

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