The lines have been drawn and the cards have been played. The mid-range graphics segment sprung to life in March with NVIDIA's launch of its GeForce 7600 series, consisting of the GeForce 7600 GT and the GeForce 7600 GS catering to the upper and lower-mid range respectively. ATI has also played its ace, the Radeon X1800 GTO, a stripped down Radeon X1800 XL with crippled pipelines. So we are not expecting surprises from either side in the next few months for this price segment. Having said that, now is the time for the market to decide which card deserves to inherit the mid-range sales crown.
We have all taken a close look at the performance of these relatively new cards in previous articles and the general consensus seems to be that the GeForce 7600 GT has the price advantage over the Radeon X1800 GTO. Without doubt, more graphically intensive settings like HDR and anti-aliasing, best represented in the latest games, like the "recently released to wide acclaim and popularity" Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion tend to show the better side of ATI's superior hardware. However, the more compact and optimized GeForce 7600 GT can hold its own, aided by its aggressive pricing.
Enthusiasts are also probably drooling at the prospects at unlocking the pipelines in the Radeon X1800 GTO to get a cheap Radeon X1800 XL but from the news we have gathered, it's not exactly a slam-dunk, as it does not work for all Radeon X1800 GTO cards. If it had a 100% success rate, it would have rivaled ATI's older Radeon X800 GTO2 in generating the kind of fervor in the enthusiast community. With that out of the way and the limited availability of the card, the GeForce 7600 GT is in pole position at the moment. After all, there are so many vendors with GeForce 7600 GT products in retail now and that more than anything will determine the contest.
With interest in the GeForce 7600 GT still at a high, it is only appropriate that we bring you another review of a GeForce 7600 GT. This card comes from one of the biggest names in graphics now, Micro-Star International (MSI). Ranked as the best-selling manufacturer of discrete graphics cards in recent years, MSI has proved its ability to offer value-added products, from proprietary programs and tools to premium enthusiast offerings, and all at rather decent prices too. Its GeForce 7600 GT looks to be in the same mould as most of the reference card based products in the market now but before we check if our initial impressions are spot-on, here's its technical specifications: