Friday, October 20, 2006

Tech Link (Graphics): MSI RX1950XTX-VT2D512E Water Cooled Edition (Radeon X1950 XTX)

If you feel like wanting to have watercooling for your video card yet you aren't feeling you're up to it, maybe you can resort to a factory-ready watercooled solution then. HardwareZone has an article about this watercooled high-end gaming video card that will certainly be fit only to those who have the $$$ but not the experience nor the courage to embark on DIY watercooling system. Expand for more...


Vendors have been gradually encroaching into niche segments in order to differentiate themselves. An example would be how liquid cooling, which used to be custom projects involving lots of time and effort, becoming a mainstream product available off the shelves. Perhaps the enthusiasts who used to have the time to indulge their hobbies have all grown up or moved on. Or maybe they just saw the writing on the wall: their hobbies are no longer niche and Big Business has muscled into their field. It's not necessarily a negative development since those who lack the technical skills would benefit. But there's also probably a proportion who feel that the 'exclusivity' of their niche has been lost. Not to mention that the motivation to start projects like liquid cooling will be undermined by the easy availability of such products. There are probably some who would hence move on to other less developed, niche hobbies. Overall though, the market has probably increased in size, with terms like overclocking entering the mainstream consciousness.

MSI's latest effort shows how far the manufacturers have come. A third party liquid cooling kit by Thermaltake is grafted onto a Radeon X1950 XTX by MSI. Practically all the work has been done, whereas in the past, there could be no such thing as a readymade liquid cooling kit. Is it more convenient for consumers? Definitely. However, judged as a Radeon X1950 XTX, the performance of the MSI RX1950XTX-VT2D512E did not break new ground, due to its standard clock speeds. Neither did we manage to overclock it beyond the usual limits of this chipset. You could probably notice a drop in noise with the Tide Water Mini liquid cooling kit but that's only if you have the fan at the Low setting. Then, the temperatures were at best on par with the reference card though more often than not, they were a tad higher. In short, on almost all possible criteria, the MSI card only had a minor edge in terms of operational noise levels.

Since everything has been done for you, MSI will naturally expect you to pay for the convenience. While we don't have a confirmed retail price for this card at the moment, it will probably add up to more than the combined total of the selling price of a typical Radeon X1950 XTX and that of the Tehrmaltake Tide Water Mini unit. Throw in the new Heroes of Might and Magic V game and other accessories in the bundle and the cost of this product can be quite substantial. The standard Radeon X1950 XTX goes for around US$430 - US$450 so you can probably add 60 to 80 dollars to that, based on the average price of the Thermaltake liquid cooling module. For some, it looks like a cool toy thanks to the novelty of liquid cooling but be warned, it's not for those with shallow pockets.

Source:MSI RX1950XTX-VT2D512E Water Cooled Edition (Radeon X1950 XTX)

No comments: