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MSI RX1900GT-VT2D256E review

MSI RX1900GT-VT2D256E (Radeon X1900 GT 256MB)

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The MSI Radeon X1900 GT 256MB

MSI's Radeon X1900 GT 256MB

ATI has been reusing a similar PCB board design for a number of products and the Radeon X1900 GT is the latest in line to feature the rather lengthy board, following the Radeon X1800 GTO and XL. Originally named the Radeon X1900 GTO, as indicated by a sticker on the PCB, the re-christened Radeon sees the GTO suffix dropped in favor of the GT, probably in a bid to associate the Radeon X1900 GT as the direct rival to NVIDIA's GeForce 7900 GT.

Its pedigree suggests that it could well be so, as our initial glimpse of the Radeon X1900 GT showed a card capable of matching the GeForce 7900 GT in quite a few benchmarks. The main reason is the R580 core onboard, which is the same core used in ATI's flagship Radeon X1900 XT and XTX cards. Of course, ATI has ensured that the Radeon X1900 GT remains in the lower hierarchy by reducing by one operating quad, hence the number of pixel shaders and texture units onboard are now down to 36 and 12 respectively. Clock speeds have also been lowered to 575MHz (compared to 625MHz on the XT). Meanwhile, slower 1.4ns memory chips are used and they are clocked lower at 1200MHz DDR. More importantly, there's only 256MB worth of it, compared to the 512MB on the XT and XTX (which should also help position the card more strategically price-wise).

MSI has basically repackaged the reference design with its own decal and a decent bundle. This is hardly a surprise in this business, which sees very short product cycles. At least you know that you'll be getting consistent quality of products and that its performance should not be far off the mark. The MSI RX1900GT-VT2D256E comes with a hefty cooler that covers most of the card, especially the memory modules. Fortunately, it is not too much of a noise polluter and while not completely silent, it should not raise your blood pressure with its whine. In fact, the general noise levels are hardly anything like the original Radeon X1000 series and thankfully, ATI finally rectified that longstanding issue.

Probably because of the presence of the Rage Theatre ASIC on the Radeon X1900 GT, this card came with the full complement of cables, including both S-Video and Composite extension cables, along with two cable dongles. There are also two DVI-to-VGA adaptors for each of the two DVI-I outputs. MSI also did its part by including a bunch of useful applications, like its collection of DVD programs, courtesy of CyberLink. The only game, Peter Jackson's King Kong is a rather decent game based on a blockbuster movie and should change your impressions of such games. For the accountants, here's the complete list of items you should find in the MSI RX1900GT-VT2D256E package:-

  • 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)
  • MSI Star DVD Family
  • Peter Jackson's King Kong (full game)