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MSI StarForce 815 GeForce2 GTS Review

By: Brian Gray - September 24, 2000

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Introduction

MSI decided to throw their hat into the graphics accelerator market with the announcement of a line of TNT2 based cards some time back. The "flagship" of the all-NVIDIA line of cards is the StarForce 815, based on the GeForce2 GTS. The StarForce 815 retails just below the three century mark at $299.00. This plants the MSI in direct price mark competition with the Annihilator2.

MSI

Neither card features a TV-Out.  Neither card comes with a game bundle. So the challenge is, can MSI keep up with the excellent driver support of the Creative Labs offering?

GeForce2 GTS logo

GeForce2 Refresher

Here is the condensed summary of the GeForce2 GTS.

NVIDIA's 2nd Generation GPU

NVIDIA GeForce2 GTS

GeForce2 GTS Specs

  GeForce2 GTS
Process Technology .18 micron
Clocks (core/memory) 200MHz/333MHz
Memory Bandwidth 5.3GB/Sec
Texels/Clock 8
Pixels/Second 800 Million
Texels/Second 1600 Million
Polygons/Second 25 Million
Shading Processor Yes
Full Scene Antialiasing Yes
Texture Compression Yes

That wasn't so painful, was it?

The Card

Full Size 170KB

MSI has followed the reference design here, and why shouldn't they? It works. The card sports the yellow PCB, and sports the standard Infineon 6ns DDR SGRAM.

Full Size 150KB

MSI does not buck the trend of a 200MHz core and 333MHz memory clock.  They do, however, give you the option to crank it up a bit.  More on that in a bit. The heatsink/fan unit is held in place by push-pins going through the PCB, instead of the cutomary thermal glue. By using the pins, MSI can use thermal paste for better heat transfer.

Full size 172KB

MSI does not offer the option of a Video-in/Video-out daughter card.  Since, there is no daughter card option, they left of the connectors found between the chip and the VGA out. This is not that big a set back, as most users will not purchase the daughter card. Hardware wise the card is geared towards the gamer. We have learned that a Starforce GTS with VIVO capability is being produced.

Next Page: Installation and Software

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Last Updated on September 24, 2000

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