Re: Upcoming MSI 6800 SLI Review
I've never been able to say with certainty, but I think the RAMDACs on my cards are all the internal ones within the NVIDIA gpu. With the notable exception of a blurry VGA port on my Quadro 980 XGL, most of my analog clarity issues are all with cards deploying low end gpus(GF4 MX, FX 5200, et al). Low end card manufacturers are not bloody likely to add to BOM cost with an external RAMDAC.
As for specific testing, unfortunately I'm pretty certain I have no NTSC screen patterns or similar for x86. All my advanced tools are on the Macintosh.
Instead, check out a simple word processor or web page doc, something with multiple columns of a serif font (times, palatino, bookman, etc). For example, just paste "The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog" into word or notepad over and over until it fills the screen with the same typeface face and font size. This way you can see the same words and letters at any given part of the display area.
See how small you can make the text before you get uncomfortably strained to read it at arms length.
See if the text is more blurry at one part of the screen than another (although portions of the scrfeen being blurry are is likely a CRT problme, not a gpu-RAMDAC problem).
See if the text is more blurry or has moire problems at 1024x768 vs 1280x1024 vs 1600 x 1200.
See if the text at a given res is more blurry on one of the MSI cards vs the other, at various resolutions. It would be interesting if the two cards you have deliver different VGA clarity results at the same settings: might indicate quality control problems at MSI.
I used to drive a Heisenberg, but whenever I'd glance at the speedometer, I'd get lost.