MSI – NX7600GS T2D256EH review

budget Nvidia 7600GS graphics card
Photo of MSI – NX7600GS T2D256EH
£89

It doesn’t take a detective to work out that the graphics chip at the heart of the MSI NX7600GS T2D256EH is an Nvidia GeForce 7600GS, however it’s not immediately apparent how the 7600GS differs from the 7600GT.

The answer is that the 7600GS chip only supports DDR2 memory instead of DDR3, which effectively limits the speed to less than an effective 1GHz. There’s no point in running the core speed out of step with the memory, so while you’ll typically find a 7600GT runs at 560MHz/1.4GHz, the reference speed for the 7600GS is 400MHz/800MHz.

Some manufacturers have pushed their 7600GS cards to the limit with figures of 550MHz/950MHz but MSI has followed the reference design to the letter so you’re looking at a performance drop in the region of 40 percent compared to a 7600GT card. You can claw some of this deficit back as the card will stand a small overclock, but this isn’t really a mid-range graphics card at a low price but instead is a fast budget card that sells for a realistic price.

Although you can play most games acceptably you’ll find that there are times when you have to downgrade the quality settings to keep the frame rate at a reasonable level, which isn’t really an ideal situation.

This may sound a bit doom and gloom, however the MSI has a couple of tricks up its sleeve which ought to make it very appealing to a certain category of office worker. For one thing the NX7600GS has a passive heatsink so it is completely silent in operation. This is becoming relatively common these days and we have to say that the MSI heatsink is little more than a finned slab of aluminium, but it works perfectly well and keeps the card nice and cool.

The second feature is altogether rarer because the card sports a pair of DVI outputs, rather than the more common DVI/VGA combo. This presumably bumps up the price as we calculate that MSI is charging a £10 premium compared to some other models of 7600GS, and it certainly can’t justify the asking price if you’re looking at performance or the very basic software package, which consists of CyberLink StarCinema and Star2Go.

Company: MSI

Contact: 020 8813 6688


Verdict
Compared to many other GeForce 7600GS graphics cards the MSI lacks appeal, with one important proviso. It has a pair of DVI outputs, so provided you run dual TFT displays on your desk with digital connections you should take a good, long look at the MSI. If you have a single display we suggest that you walk on by.