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MSI RX1800GTO-VT2D256E review

MSI RX1800GTO-VT2D256E (Radeon X1800 GTO 256MB)

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MSI's Radeon X1800 GTO 256MB

MSI's Radeon X1800 GTO 256MB

The Radeon X1800 GTO from MSI may come in its own unique box packaging but it is essentially the same as any other Radeon X1800 GTO in the market now. It is a reference design card that bears more than a passing resemblance to the Radeon X1800 XL that it was originally derived from. There is the same large cooler covering most of its already considerably long PCB. The MSI RX1800GTO-VT2D256E is different in the sense that it has a small MSI decal on its fan. Yet, it ends there as the clock speeds, memory chips, down to its transistors and PCB are all done according to ATI's prescription.

This means a core clock of 500MHz and a memory clock of 1000MHz DDR, along with a 256-bit memory bus that seems to be its best advantage over the 128-bit version found on the GeForce 7600 GT, especially for memory bandwidth intensive applications. If you are interested to find out how the performance of the Radeon X1800 GTO compares against other cards, you can refer to our previous review of the GeCube Radeon X1800 GTO . Of course, unlike its Radeon X1800 XL relative, the R520 core on the Radeon X1800 GTO has been reduced to 12 pipes from the original 16. Tests done by various hardware sites so far have shown that most Radeon X1800 GTOs cannot be unlocked; the few that have been tested successful have come from Hightech Information Systems (HIS) and that only from the early batches. This further confirms our original suspicions that the Radeon X1800 GTO GPU SKU is derived from 'rejected' R520 cores that may have one faulty functional unit, but the rest of it functions as desired as long as the undesirable section has been isolated.

Noise output from the cooler on the MSI Radeon X1800 GTO is quite low, with the fan spinning most furiously during startup so you might get a louder whine then but it's all good by the time the operating system takes over (even during gaming). Temperatures on the card were also rather typical of its class. Finally, there's a Rage Theatre ASIC onboard to provide the VIVO functionality that is another extra feature over the GeForce 7600 GT.

Rarely have we found MSI's package less than satisfactory but for its Radeon X1800 GTO, the software was definitely quite disappointing. There was only a single disc - MSI Multimedia - containing a number of the company's own proprietary applications, like MSI Video and WMInfo (you can find the whole list of applications on MSI's website), which despite its intentions, will probably be underused by most users unfamiliar with them. Only the included Norton Internet Security will ring any bells for end-users. At least the assortment of cables and dongles included in the package were up to the mark, though we suspect that they are more likely standard issue for a Radeon X1800 GTO. The package that we received contained the following:

  • 2 x DVI-to-VGA adaptors
  • S-Video extension cable
  • Composite extension cable
  • 9-pin mini-DIN to Component dongle
  • 9-pin mini-DIN to Composite/S-Video dongle
  • 6-pin PCIe to 4-pin Molex power plug converter
  • User Manual
  • MSI Multimedia (Drivers & Utilities)