MSI 7600GS 256mb PCI-Express

  • Category: Graphics Card
  • Published on Monday, 17 July 2006 14:42
  • Written by Nasirul Huq
  • Hits: 1594

It doesn't take a detective to work out that the graphics chip at the heart of the  MSI NX 7600GS-T2D256 EH is a Nvidia GeForce 7600GS with 256mb RAM, however it's not immediately apparent how the 7600GS differs from the 7600GT.


The plain dark passive cooler found on the MSI card and probably on all reference GeForce 7600 GS cards receives a flowery MSI makeover. The company's logo has been reproduced in a rather baroque style and attached to the heatsink. It is quite a change from the common practice of pasting the vendor's logo over the default NVIDIA cooler though that would not have been possible with the heatsink for the GeForce 7600 GS.

Red PCB is also a bright and welcome change from the staid green preferred by NVIDIA and frankly, we were expecting green again, since this being the first batch of GeForce 7600 GS cards. So, the MSI NX 7600GS-T2D256 EH has certainly surprised us with its unique looks.

MSI7600GS

Package Contains

  • MSI 7600GS 256mb PCI-Express Graphics card
  • 2 x DVI-to-VGA adaptors
  • S-Video extension cable
  • 9-pin mini-DIN to Component dongle
  • User Manual
  • Quick Installation Guide
  • Driver CD
  • Software CD with CyberLink StarCinema, Star2Go etc.

Price

Test Unit purchased at a special price of Rs 7000/- from Tirupati Enterprise, Kolkata

Overview

MSI7600GS
MSI7600GS

The Box 

MSI7600GS
The Card

MSI7600GS

dual DVI Output + S-Video out

 

 MSI7600GS

Accessories

MSI7600GS  MSI7600GS

The Heat-Sink
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. 

MSI7600GS

The GPU
The brain of the card

Specification

Everyone have thought that the GeForce 7600 GT is the rightful 'successor' to the GeForce 6600 GT. But NVIDIA is not done yet and the real GeForce 6600 GT killer is none other than the GeForce 7600 GS, a card that blurs the distinction between the low and mid-range with its price and performance.

 Geforce 7600GS Chipset Features

Full Microsoft® Direct® 9.0 Shader Model 3.0 Support
• Ture High Dynamic-Range (HDR) Rendering Support
• NVIDIA® CineFX® 4.0 Engine
• NVIDIA® SLI™ Technology
• NVIDIA® PureVideo Technology
• Adaptable Programmable Video Processor
• High-Definition H.264, MPEG-2 and WMV Hardware Acceleration
• Advanced Spatial Temporal De-Interlacing
• High-Quality Scaling
• Video Color Correction
• Integrated HDTV Encoder
• 128-Bit Memory Interface
• NVIDIA® UltraShadow™ II Technology
• 128-Bit Studio-Precision Computation
• Full-Speed 32-Bit Color Precision
• NVIDIA® ForceWare® Technology

Key Specifications

• 128-bit memory interfaceOpenGL 2.0 Optimizations and Support
• NVIDIA® nView® Multi-Display Technology
• NVIDIA® Digital Vibrance Control® 3.0 Technology
• Dual 400MHz RAMDACs
• Dual Dual-Link DVI Support
• 90nm Process Technology
• Built for Microsoft® Windows™ Vista

MSI Features

 MSI Vivid - easy tool to enhance " image quality ".
 • D.O.T Express - 2% ~ 10% / 6-Scale Dynamic Overclocking.
 MSI Live Update online - automatically download and update latest BIOS and drivers.
 Live Update 3 - automatically checks BIOS, driver and utility updates and installs for you.

Comparison 

GPU/VPUNVIDIA GeForce 7600 GS 256MBNVIDIA GeForce 6800 GS 256MBNVIDIA GeForce 6600 GT 128MBATI Radeon X1600 XT 256MBATI Radeon X1600 PRO 256MB
Core Code  G73  NV42  NV43  RV530  RV530
Transistor Count  177 million  ~190 million  ~145 million  157 million  157 million
Manufacturing Process (microns)  0.09  0.11  0.11  0.09  0.09
Core Clock  400 MHz  425MHz  500MHz  590MHz  500MHz
Vertex Shader Pipelines  5  5  3  5  5
Rendering (Pixel) Pipelines  12  12  8  12  12
Texture Mapping Units (TMU)  12  12  8  4  4
Raster Operator units (ROP)  8  12  8  4  4
Z Compare Units  16  12  8  8  8
Memory Clock  400MHz
 (800MHz DDR2)
 500MHz
 (1000MHz DDR3)
 500MHz
 (1000MHz DDR3)
 690MHz
 (1380MHz DDR3)
 390MHz
 (780MHz DDR2)
DDR Memory Bus  128-bit  256-bit  128-bit  128-bit  128-bit
Memory Bandwidth  12.8GB/s  32.0GB/s  16.0GB/s  22.1GB/s  12.5GB/s
Ring Bus Memory Controller  -  -  -  256-bit  256-bit
PCIe Interface  x16  x16  x16  x16  x16
Molex Power Connectors  NIL  Yes  NIL  NIL  NIL
Multi GPU Technology  Yes (SLI)  Yes (SLI)  Yes (SLI)  Yes (CrossFire)  Yes (CrossFire)
DVI Output Support  1x Dual-Link
 1x Single-Link
 2x Single-Link  2x Single-Link  1x Dual-Link
 1x Single-Link
 1x Dual-Link
 1x Single-Link
Street Price   ~ US$150  ~ US$199  ~ US$140  ~ US$180  ~ US$120
 

From the specification, 7600GS has a smashing win over its competitor, with 3 times the pixel pipelines and full H.264 acceleration up to 1080p.

Test Configuration

 Processor AMD64 X2 4200+ (939) @ 2211 MHz
 Motherboard MSI K8N NEO4 Platinum
 RAM Transcend DDR400 (single side) 1GB
     (512mb x 2) Dual-Channel (3-3-3)
 Power Supply COLORS-iT 450W 24Pin Dual Fan SMPS
 Hard Disk Seatage 80GB SATA + 120GB SATA
   
 OS WindowsXP Pro + SP2
   
   

3DMark 2005

76GSmark05

3DMark 2006

76GSmark06

Quake 4

 7600GS Q4

More results will be comming soon on FarCry 64Bit with WindowsXP 64Bit Pro edition to show its potential power on 64Bit computing.

Overclocking

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.

Overclocking the MSI GeForce 7600GS was all but too easy, taking a guess I believed the memory would top out around 900MHz DDR and it did. Then the core was estimated to hit around 500MHz and it did. Not bad really given there are no fans involved, at 100MHz core and memory overclock. More importantly this boosted performance dramatically, boosting frames where they were most needed, at 1600x1200. The overclock helped the 7600GS deliver much more playable performance with FSAA 2x + Aniso 8x enabled at 1600x1200 in games like Quake 4 and Far Cry etc.

MSI7600GS OC


Hence, the results of 3DMark05 showed the GeForce 7600 GT still with a massive lead over the overclocked GeForce 7600 GS. However, compared to the original settings, it was a performance gain of 20%, which is not to be sneered at. The passive cooler on the GeForce 7600 GS is probably keeping it back from a better showing. Besides, with its high temperatures at default speeds, it may not be a good idea to push it too far.

There is also a provision for dynamically overclock the card using D.O.T. for soft-core Overclockers.

SLI Setup

Comming soon.... 

Final words

So the MSI GeForce 7600 GS offers amazingly good performance for just Rs 7000/-, features the latest GeForce 7 technologies and uses a very suitable cooling solution. Of course all you kids out there will cry about the performance because it's not a GeForce 7900 GTX, but at the same time it does not cost 7000/-, so deal with it. As far as value for money is concerned the GeForce 7600 GS is a WINNER, even keeping equivalent ATI card far far behind. 

The Positives:

  • With a price tag of just Rs 7000/- and equipt with passive-cooling technology, it is the best value-performance card for both Media Center PCs and general Gamers.
  • No need to buy expensive SMPS. 400W smps is enough to drive the card smoothly.
  • The other benefit the 7600GS has over the 6600GT is the integrated H.264 1080p acceleration, which will considerably reduce the CPU load during HD movie playback.
  • 7600GS can be significantly faster, circa 20%, than the 6600GT under 1280x1024 with FSAA enabled, with its advanced memory management.

The Negatives(very very hard to find but we managed few) :

  • Comes with DDR2 ram. DDR3 would cause a totally different level of performance. DDR2 is used just to keep the performance of 7600GS below 7600GT.
  • Compared to many other GeForce 7600GS graphics cards the MSI lacks appeal.
  • Does not contain the game Brothers in Arms: Road to Hill 30 as said in the website.
    Anyway, the game is not that much of graphics rich to show the full potential of the card.
  • The card is equipt with passive-cooling method. Though, in stock speed, it is enough, but you will need to do some special arrangements if you want to Overclock the card manually or through D.O.T.

Final Ratings

 Design     7 / 10
 Overclocking     8 / 10
 Accessories     7 / 10
 Value of Money   10 / 10
 Overall
    8 / 10