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World Exclusive : MSI NBox N5900 ULTRA
By Vijay Anand
Category : Graphics
Published by Jimmy Tang on Thursday, 10th July, 2003
Rating : 4.5 out of 5 stars  

The State Of ‘Gaming’ Cards

New graphics cards these days are being churned out solely for tackling the increasingly complex nature of games as well as encouraging game developers to further push the envelope of in-game graphics experience. Of course this statement is not directly applicable to entry-level graphics cards. So basically, the pricey graphics cards are in fact ‘gaming cards’. However, if you were to survey the available gaming cards in the market and evaluate the sort of game bundles offered, you would soon realize that most of them are either undesirable, obsolete or just demo versions.

We don’t see the point of purchasing a spanking new graphics (gaming) card of a high caliber and accompanying it in the package is a bunch of has-been game titles. It certainly doesn’t do the card justice if you get our point. Sure, it may be a great avenue for dumping excess stock of games that did not do well in the retail scene but this does not attract nor showcase the capabilities of the graphics card being purchased.

The cool, neat outer box packaging of the MSI NBox N5900 ULTRA. The clever design is such that it attracts attention to itself.

MSI is one of those rare graphics card manufacturers who kept revising the bundled software and game titles for their graphics card packages. With relatively current game titles such as Morrowind and a couple of other very decent full games and demos, MSI has by far the best software/game bundle in the graphics card arena. Not resting on their laurels, MSI had recently conjured a rather potent game bundle for some of their best graphics card offerings in the form of the NBox. Sounds interesting? Follow up in the next few pages as we unravel the NBox and its armada of bonus items within.

MSI NBox N5900 ULTRA Technical Specifications
Graphics Engine
  • NVIDIA GeForce FX 5900 GPU
  • High Precision 3D Rendering Engine
    • 8 pixels per clock rendering engine
    • Full 128-bit Precision Graphics Pipeline
    • Native support for 128-bit / 64-bit floating point and 32-bit integer rendering modes
    • Up to 16 textures per pass
  • CineFX 2.0 Engine
    • Advanced Pixel Shaders allow floating-point pixel shader operations to run 2x faster than CineFX 1.0 Engine.
    • Support for DX 9.0 Pixel Shader 2.0+
    • Support for DX 9.0 Vertex Shader 2.0+
    • Very long pixel programs up to 1024 instructions
    • Very long vertex programs with up to 256 static instructions and up to 65536 instructions executed before termination
    • Subroutines in shader programs
    • Dynamic flow control
    • Procedural shading
    • Z-correct bump-mapping
    • Hardware-accelerated shadow effects with shadow buffers
    • UltraShadow Technology to accelerate shadow  computations
    • Two-sided stencil
    • Keyframe animation
    • Programmable matrix palette skinning
    • Custom lens effects: fish eye, wide angle,fresnel effects, water refraction
  • Intellisample HCT Technology
    • Loss-less Color Compression and Z Compression (up to 4:1 ratio in real time)
    • Fast Z-clear
    • Adaptive texture filtering
    • Dynamic Gamma Correction
    • Fast antialiasing and compression performance
    • High Compression Technology (HCT) increases visual quality at high resolutions with fast performance
  • DirectX and S3TC texture compression
  • Integrated NTSC/PAL TV encoder support resolutions up to 1024x768 with built-in Macrovision copy protection
  • Video Mixing Renderer (VMR)
  • DVD and HDTV-ready MPEG-2 decoding up to 1920x1080i resolutions
  • Dual DVO ports for interfacing to external TMDS transmitters and external HDTV encoders
  • Support for dual-link DVI with resolutions support of 1600x1200.
  • High-performance 2D rendering engine
  • Digital Vibrance Control 3.0 (DVC)
  • nView Multi-display Technology
  • Default clock speed in 2D environment: 300/850 MHz (core/DDR memory)
  • Default clock speed in 3D environment: 450/850 MHZ (core/DDR memory)
  • 256-bit  memory interface
  • 27.2GB/sec Memory Bandwidth
  • AGP 8X including fast writes and sideband addressing
  • Advanced thermal monitoring and thermal management
  • Microsoft DirectX 9.0 optimizations and support
  • OpenGL 1.4 optimizations and support
Graphics Memory
  • 256MB DDR I SDRAM of 425MHz clock rate (effective speed of 850MHz DDR)
  • Dual 400MHz RAMDACs that support resolutions of 2048x1536@85Hz
  • 1x analog RGB connector
  • 1x mini-DIN connector (for Video-in / Video-out)
  • 1x DVI-I connector (for Digital Flat Panel displays)
  • Driver support for Microsoft Windows 95/98/98SE/Me/NT 4.0/2000/XP, Linux IA32 / IA64 / AMD64 and FreeBSD
  • NVIDIA Unified Driver Architecture (UDA)
  • Fully compliant professional OpenGL 1.4 API with NVIDIA extensions
  • Complete DirectX support including 9.0 and lower
Software / Games
  • InterVideo WinProducer / WinCoder & Professional Users' Pack
  • Trend PC-cillin 2002
  • ThinSoft Be Twin
  • E-Color 3Deep
  • MediaRing Dialer
  • ShowShifter
  • MSI Utilities (LockBox,  GoodMEM, SecureDoc, 3D Turbo, Live Update)
  • Unreal II : The Awakening
  • Battlefield 1942
  • Command & Conquer: Generals
Other Information
  • AGP 2.0/3.0 slot required
  • 1 PCI-assigned IRQ Required
  • 1 four-pin power connector

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