There aren't that many graphics cards featuring a HDMI port in the market now, with Gigabyte's GV-NX76G256HI-RH that we tested as one of the few others equipped with HDMI output. Now, to that shortlist, one can add the MSI NX7600GT Diamond Plus. The HDMI port is nothing much to gawk at and those with HDTVs should be familiar with it by now. Basically, HDMI combines both the video and digital audio streams into one handy output. Therefore, a S/PDIF input is found on the MSI graphics card for you to connect your sound card's S/PDIF output. Miss that step and you're unlikely to have digital audio from your television, unless you have a better alternative like standalone speakers.
Like on the Gigabyte, Silicon Image provides the HDMI transmitter, using its SiI 1930 chipset. MSI does go one step further than the Gigabyte by adding a Philips SAA7115HL VIVO ASIC to its card. It's no TV tuner but having video capturing could be useful for some consumers, especially if they are home video enthusiasts.
Besides these multimedia friendly features, the GeForce 7600 GT GPU is more than capable when it comes to 3D performance. It may be considered a lower mid-range card now due to the influx of newer models but it can deliver playable frame rates for all but the more demanding quality settings in the newest games. MSI has also upgraded the default heatsink on the reference model with a larger one, with no corresponding increase in noise output. The new heatsink covers the memory modules and presumably will aid in cooling them in addition to the GPU. Whether that is effective, we'll let you in on that soon in our temperature test segment.
The Diamond Plus has MSI's Dual CoreCell stamp, which in MSI's own words, is an ASIC that has been designed to improve its graphics cards in four key areas, namely Performance, Image, Sound and Silence by optimizing and integrated multiple integrated circuits. This feature is found in all its Diamond and Platinum range of motherboards and graphics cards and honestly, it's a claim that we can't really ascertain as to its effectiveness. The only discernible component to most end-users would probably be the Dynamic Overclocking Technology II (D.O.T II) that is included along with the Dual CoreCell technology. As you should know by now, this is an overclocking utility that enables users to overclock their graphics cards by up to 10%, with the assurance that MSI will take the responsibility for any hardware failures.
Finally, the usual MSI bundle is found for this Diamond Plus edition GeForce 7600 GT. That mean besides the cables, accessories and proprietary MSI utilities, its Star DVD suite of applications are included. Unfortunately, there are no games in the package, though considering this product's target audience, it was not unexpected. The following are the packaged items in the box: