When we review a video card we sit and watch the benchmarking and later play some current video games with the card to see how it performs. For the MSI FX5200-TDR128 we played Counter-Strike, Ghost Recon, Return to Castle Wolfenstein, and Comanche 4 to determine how the card fairs in real life gaming. By doing so we have no gripes about the image quality in those games or the benchmarking tests. When we loaded Unreal Tournament 2003 and began playing it we noticed that some graphical errors were appearing, but nothing that could not be lived with. Also future drivers may be able to correct this situation. The MSI FX5200-TDR128 was able to handle some of the more demanding new game titles with ease and we were impressed by the image quality that a "budget" 5200 series card offers to the mainstream market.
MSI video cards have always been very good overclockers for us. Now with the new FX5200 in the spotlight, we were very interested to see what the results would be. The MSI FX5200-TDR128 comes with a default core speed of 250 mhz and default memory speed of 400 mhz. By using Coolbits and nVidia’s 43.45 driver, we were able to max out the MSI FX5200 to 312 mhz on the core and 540 mhz on the memory. So that is a 62 mhz increase on the core, and a 140 mhz increase on the memory! That’s not bad when you look at the mhz increase of some other cards out there. For example, the Albatron Ti4680 we compared this too had only a 40 mhz increase on the core (250mhz default; 290mhz max), and a 95 mhz increase on the memory (550mhz default; 645mhz max). So, the overclocking on the new MSI FX5200 was not a disappointment.
However, I would also like to point out that with this overclock of 312/540, you still do not reach the next level of FX5200 Ultra core/memory speeds. The FX5200 Ultra is rated at 325/650, so if you want the power of the next level of video card performance, you will have to buy the card with the next level of performance.
The MSI FX5200-TDR128 currently has a price of US$115 (found on pricewatch.com). This is the budget GeForce FX video card. This card offers respectable performance for a cheaper price and contains all the current technology. This is the card that parents can buy as a gift for their children and not burn a hole in their pocketbook. This card will also be able to play all the future video games that will require DirectX 9 capable video cards!
Now aside from performance, this card also comes with the MSI package – one of the best bundles Legit Reviews has seen to date; especially with MSI’s Media Center II Deluxe + Remote Controller! The MSI bundle gives you everything you need to start using this card to its fullest ability. If you do not need the Remote Controller then you will probably want to visit MSI’s GeForce FX product line webpage for more information.
To give a quick recap: MSI’s FX5200-TDR128 offers the newest technology (DirectX 9 support, TV-out, etc), a great package (10 3D games, about 20 different kinds of software and utilities, Remote Controller, etc), and respectable performance all in a budget-level video card. So if you are stuck with a GeForce 4 MX440, or lower, and you want to upgrade so you will have full DirectX 8 and 9 support without breaking the bank, then this just may be the card for you!