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MSI NX6600GT-TD128E

MSI is yet another manufacturer that follows the nVidia PCB reference design though like Gainward, it has gone for a cool looking red PCB. The cooler is made out of copper coloured aluminium and has been fitted with a clear fan. However, during testing we encountered something of a design flaw. It differs from the standard design, by incorporating memory heatsinks that bulge slightly out from the main body. As we discovered during testing this meant the heatsink was only partly touching the GPU cooler.

This was not a problem when testing the card on its own, with rock solid stability. However, when using two of them in SLI configuration the cards consistently crashed, due to the extra heat generated by two cards. As a result of our findings MSI said that they have updated the design to remove the SLI problem but we’ll have to take them on trust on that for the moment.

The NX6600GT-TD128E follows most of the other cards on test with a DVI and D-SUB connector as well as a video out. One thing that MSI has done differently is that the video out connector is a small dongle with S-Video, Composite and Component outputs. This is much better solution than having a bunch of cables hanging out the back of your PC. You also get an S-Video cable and a DVI to D-SUB converter.

It’s hard to beat MSI when it comes to software bundles, as the NX6600GT-TD128E comes with a huge pile of discs on the box. You get WinDVD Creator Plus, RestoreIT!, Virtual Drive Professional, Adobe Photoshop Album SE, WinDVD 5.1-channel and MSI Media Center Deluxe II. The driver CD also includes a range of utilities as well as a copy of PC-cillin anti virus software.

The game bundle consists of Prince of Persia the Sands of Time, ‘XIII’ and URU: Ages Beyond Myst, as well as a DVD with 14 game demos. The quick installation guide is amusing (System requirement – "Computer". Wow, really!) but the main manual is far more helpful.

But where MSI really scores is on price, as you can pick up a NX6600GT-TD128E for £115.09 making it the cheapest card on test. It doesn’t perform any better than the others, but it’s not any slower either and considering the software bundle, the MSI walks away with an award.

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