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I just recently tried installing Deus Ex II invisible war and when I tried to run it the dreaded pop-up reared its ugly head, "Graphics card does not meet required specification". Now I had known for a while that my old graphics card (MX440 64MB) was the bottle neck in my system but I still thought that it would be able to play all the modern games even if it wasn't in max resolution. I purchased this card from my mate at work for £40 as he had upgraded to a 4600 TI card.
As soon as I had taken the card from its protective bag I could see the difference between this and my old unit. It is a large AGP card with a very large heatsink and fan for the processor. It was simple enough to fit, slot in and close the clasp and boot up.
Windows XP detected the new card but I chose to install the drivers from the supplied CD. Installation was quick and easy, and I was benchmarking the new card within 15 mins of taking it out the bag.
For the benchmark figures I best give you a quick spec list of my PC :- Athlon 2000XP+ , 512 MB 2700 PCI RAM, MSI KT333 ULTRA motherboard and my new graphics card. Previous score with my MX440 and the same system as above on 3DMARK was 3800, new score 9200 !!! After playing Deus Ex and X2 the threat I can confirm I can now play in max resolution with all options turned to max (except antialiasing and shadows) and still get 60+ fps, with the added bonus of having all the fancy eye candy present and correct.
Overclocking on this card is simple as MSI have provided a windows based overclocking program where you simply hi the AUTO button and the processor and memory is increased in 1 mhz steps untill it crashes and then will reboot at the step below to ensure stabilty. The program works great and the amount you want to turn up the juice is just governed by your temps inside your PC. By using this overclocking faciltiy I have had no stabiltiy issues and have upped my 3DMARK score to around 9500.
The MSI live update feature that is also installed when you fit the card constantly checks the manufacturers website and will update any software drivers for you without you even realising it. This makes the card an excellent buy for anyone in the mindset of stick it in and leave it.
The card is noisy once installed but I think this is inervitable with the size of the fan which is on the processor, I have also noted that my internal temp has risen 2 degrees celcius.
I realise that not everyone has a mate at work who has selling one of these cards but prices on the .net range from about £80 - £110. Even at this price I think the performance easily matches that of newer cards.
Double the performance + £40 expenditure = Happy Daniel