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MSI NX8800GTX Review and Mixed-Vendor SLI - Page 1 of 9

INTRODUCTION

This article is a follow-up on the MSI NX8800GTX graphics card, which we briefly covered in a preview of NVIDIA's GeForce 8800 GTX Graphics Processing Unit (GPU). In addition to examining the performance of the MSI NX8800GTX in a single GPU configuration, performance is also examined in a mixed-vendor SLI configuration.

MSI NX8800GTX
Click Image to Enlarge

Micro-Star International, or MSI, was founded in 1986 and is one of NVIDIA's leading Authorized Board Partners. They manufacture a variety of products that include consumer electronic, communication and multimedia devices. Among PC gaming enthusiasts, MSI is primarily recognized for their motherboards and graphics cards.

MSI Added Value

MSI adds value to the NX8800GTX by developing custom software to control various aspects of the graphics hardware. Image quality enhancements are managed by Vivid Image Technology, GPU, memory, and fan speed by Dual CoreCell Technology and system status, overclocking and gaming display options by StarOSD.

MSI NX8800GTX
Click Image to Enlarge

Bundled software includes the full version of Serious Sam 2, CyberLink PowerCinema and Power2Go, assorted MSI utilities, and drivers. Accessories consist of two VGA-to-DVI adapters, two external power cables, one HDTV/S-Video out cable, and an S-Video out cable extension. A Quick Installation Guide and a multi-language Quick User's Guide are also provided.

MIXED VENDOR SLI

In addition to providing single GPU performance with the MSI NX8800GTX, we also paired it with EVGA's GeForce 8800 GTX to form a mixed vendor SLI configuration. The first order of business when running the GeForce 8800 GTX in an SLI configuration is to upgrade to a Certified SLI-Ready Power Supply. High-end power supplies can be expensive and our PC Power and Cooling Turbo-Cool 1KW-SR set us back $549. However, if the need to troubleshoot should ever arise, there is less of a chance the problem will involve the power supply with an SLI certified model.

Mixed Vendor SLI
Click Image to Enlarge

Other components that you will want to match with a GeForce 8800 GTX SLI configuration are a powerful CPU, an SLI-capable motherboard, 2GB of RAM and the most important accessory - a WUXGA (1920x1200) or WQXGA (2560x1600) wide-screen monitor.

Dell 3007WFP LCD Monitor
Click Image to Enlarge

Let's get rolling...

SYSTEM CONFIGURATION

Test System

  • Intel Core 2 Duo E6700 - 2.66GHz Conroe Core - 4MB L2 Cache
  • EVGA nForce 680i SLI Motherboard
  • 2GB Corsair CM2X1024-8500C5 XMS PC8500 DDR2 SDRAM 5-5-5-18-2T @ 400MHz
  • Western Digital Raptor 74GB HDD, 10000RPM, 4.5ms Avg Seek, 8MB Buffer, SATA
  • Seagate Barracuda 300GB HDD, 7200RPM, 8ms Avg Seek, 8MB Buffer, SATA 2
  • Western Digital Caviar SE16 250GB HDD, 7200RPM, 8.9ms Avg Seek, 16MB Buffer, SATA 2
  • Creative Sound Blaster Audigy 2 ZX
  • PC Power and Cooling Turbo-Cool 1KW-SR Power Supply
  • Dell 3007WFP LCD Monitor
  • 32-Bit Color / Vsync Disabled / 60Hz Refresh Rate
  • Windows XP Professional with Service Pack 2 / DirectX 9.0c

Graphics Cards, Drivers, and Settings

  • MSI NX8800GTX
  • EVGA e-GeForce 8800 GTX
  • ForceWare 97.44 and 97.92
  • High Quality Image, 8x Anisotropic Filtering, Gamma Correct Antialiasing, Supersampling Transparency Antialiasing

Test Applications

  • Age of Empires 3 - v1.0.9
  • Battle for Middle-earth 2 - v1.06
  • Dark Messiah - v1.02
  • Far Cry - v1.04
  • F.E.A.R. - v1.08
  • Gothic 3 Demo
  • Guild Wars - v20,689
  • Half-Life 2: Lost Coast - v1.0.1.0
  • Half-Life 2: Episode 1 - v1.0.1.0
  • Neverwinter Nights 2 - v1.03.840
  • Oblivion - v1.1.511
  • Quake 4 - v1.3.0.2393
  • World of Warcraft - v2.0.5

Notes

  • Antialiasing was set to "application-controlled" or "enhance the application setting" unless otherwise noted.
  • Anisotropic filtering was set to "application-controlled" unless otherwise noted.
  • In-game graphics settings were configured to their highest quality.

Next Page: Antialiasing and Texture Filtering

Last Updated on January 23, 2007


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