Having seen MSI’s latest motherboards at our last visit to MSI’s headquarters in April, this time the company had a selection of new graphics products available to show to us.
We also had a look at some of the other P35-based boards that were now nearing completion, including details of bundles, too. Before we get onto the motherboards though, let’s have a look at some of the graphics products MSI showed to us.
8600 GTS Diamond Plus
First up was MSI’s GeForce 8600 GTS Diamond Plus, which uses MSI’s own custom PCB design focused around its Dual Core Cell technology. The card features an HDCP enabled HDMI connector which will also pass sound through after connecting it to SPDIF out on your system’s soundcard, allowing end users to connect directly to their high definition televisions with a single cable.
Of course, this is not as elegant as ATI’s Radeon HD 2000-series graphics cards, which natively supports 5.1 audio over HDMI, but it’s nice to see manufacturers including HDMI on their GeForce 8-series graphics cards too. Interestingly, the 8600 GTS Diamond Plus uses a four-pin Molex connector instead of the now standard six-pin PCI-Express power adapter.
MSI says that this is so that end users don’t require additional connectors if they already have a perfectly good power supply without a six-pin connector. While that’s definitely true, anyone with a recent PSU will have at least one PCI-Express power connector spare. We’re told that the card is clocked at Nvidia’s reference clocks, but don’t be too put off by that as MSI tells us that, because of the dual-slot cooling solution it has opted for, you should have a decent amount of overclocking headroom available.
The next couple of cards MSI showed to us were its watercooled Radeon HD 2900 XT 512MB and its Radeon HD 2600 XT 256MB (which features GDDR4 memory). Both of these cards run at clock speeds of 742/1600MHz and 800/2000MHz respectively.
The watercooled Radeon HD 2900 XT will start shipping very soon, but MSI says it is waiting for A15 RV630 silicon before it can ship the Radeon HD 2600 XT. The current delivery date is expected to be the third week of June, meaning that we’ll see product availability by the start of July if everything goes to plan.