MSI uses a tried and trusted formula when it develops a new graphics card, and it has followed it to the letter with the NX6600GT-TD128E. The box is large and impressive and the graphics card itself looks bigger than many other 6600GT models, but that’s an optical illusion as the copper-coloured heatsink is large and covers the graphics chip as well as the memory chips.
Although the heatsink has a conventional fan this too looks larger than it really is as MSI has added a cosmetic clear plastic disc which has no obvious function, although it seems to make the fan sound quite noisy.
Inside the box you get all of the usual bits and pieces such as a DVI to VGA adapter, a manual (which covers the range of MSI graphics cards), a TV-Out cable and an HDTV splitter cable.
You also get a pile of software on fourteen CDs, which is the sort of bundle that we have seen many times before with various MSI motherboards and graphics cards. Ubisoft XIII takes up four of the CDs, Prince of Persia Sands of Time requires two, Uru Ages Beyond Myst is on one CD and there’s a CD of fourteen game demos.
The other six CDs are used for a number of utilities and applications, which are Adobe Photoshop Album, 3D-Album LE, WinDVD Creator Plus, VirtualDrive Pro and RestoreIT! Pro from Farstone, InterVideo WinDVD 5.1, MSI Media Centre Deluxe II and MSI 3D desktop.
We wholeheartedly accept that games and DVD playback software are legitimate inclusions with a gaming graphics card but really can’t say the same about VirtualDrive Pro and RestoreIT! Pro.
As for the card itself, it’s a conventional GeForce 6600GT which is supplied with a core speed of 500MHz, while the 128MB of DDR memory runs at an effective speed of 1GHz. We overclocked the MSI with Coolbits and the speeds rose to 570MHz and 1.14GHz respectively, which is very acceptable and in line with most other decent 6600GT graphics cards on the market.
Out of the box the performance is good enough to play any current game such as Doom 3 or Half Life 2 on high resolution, however you are unlikely to be able to use FSAA without suffering a severe drop in frame rates.
Of course the 6600GT fully supports DirectX 9.0c, but it doesn’t have the sheer power of a £250 GeForce 6800GT or Radeon X850XT, and that’s where we hit a bit of a problem with the MSI. It is essentially a generic GeForce 6600GT for which you pay a premium of £10 or £15, presumably for that huge software package. This makes the buying decision quite easy as you are either prepared to pay the extra or you are not.
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