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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great card for low powered computer system, August 5, 2009
This review is from: MSI N9600GT-MD1G GeForce 9600 GT 1GB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Supported Video Card - Retail (Personal Computers)
Disclaimer: I do not advise you to test your own computer; I am doing this at my own risk and cannot be responsible for you.

I was intrigued by reports of using this video card in a computer system with only a 250 watt Power supply unit (PSU)!!!. Normally, the recommended PSU is 350-400 watts (Interesting - the outside of the MSI box said "400". The instruction book inside said "350"). So I did some research. A full computer system made by HP has a Geforce 9600 factory installed with only a stock 350 w PSU. So I have decided to test it on a lower powered system, an Acer M1100 AMD 4400+ 64x2; 320GB HDD; DVD burner; 4 gb memory; 250 w PSU.

There are two versions of this chipset (Nvidia Geforce 9600 series): one with 96 watts of power consumption and a lower power unit with 59 watts. The Nvidia chipset (which MSI uses in its video card) is the 59 w version, a savings of almost 40% in power consumption! There are negligible differences between the higher and lower powered chipsets resulting in similar performance. The only differences (besides power consumption), are: Graphics Clock (MHz) - 650 MHz vs 600 MHz; Processor Clock (MHz) 1625 MHz vs 1500 MHz; Texture Fill Rate (billion/sec) 20.8 vs 19.2 respectively for the 96 vs 59 w units. All other specs are the same.

I am not a hard core gamer. Others have written on a good performance with this MSI video card. So as a test, I added it to my computer system at a reasonable cost.

Installation and first looks:

The card is 8 inches long, requires extra space - a PCI Express slot and an adjacent card slot. Inserting the card was easy. Be careful to make sure you have enough room. High powered video cards reguire a lot of width (the fan!)and length. The way today's motherboards are made, you need two card slots (Why? MB's should have double wide slots and you shouldn't have to lose valuable PCI or Express slots to accomodate these cards).

Installing the video drivers was another story. It seemed to take a long time for the drivers to install and when the computer was rebooted, it only recognized a standard VGA quality card (depressing)! After trying to figure what went wrong, it appeared a 2nd reboot solved the problem. When I upgraded the driver from the Nvidia website....same problem. Frustrating! The MSI CD disk was poor. Some of the utilities didn't install because the programmers changed the names! The overclocking utility is called "Dual Core Center" - here you can overclock the graphics and processor clocks or decrease them. The speed of the fan will not adjust - appears to be auto only. Some of the utilities were old 2003 era software to adjust your monitor screen etc. There are no included cables ( not needed if you use the VGA port) else you have to buy the cables.

Once you get it all working, the card performs! It ranks up there but is NOT the highest. The Geforce 295 series are currently on the top of the heap, but these cards would never run in my system. I used a video testing program to "stress" the card. Initial temperature was around 130 deg F and after 40 min it was 170 deg F (75 deg C)....HOT. The fan was not noisy at all even with all that heat. I have a factory installed 2nd fan around the area of the card. It has slow rpm's and I may change out the fan for a stronger and faster one (but this is optional and appears not to be needed). A demo FarCry 2004 game did NOT texture correctly - water and land were all blue. While it ran, was not playable. Call of Duty 4 demo 2007 ran fine. Warmonger supplied by Nvidia ran fine in the practice mode; did not test on the multiplayer mode. (My "fine" is that it has nice graphics at a high enough resolution without slowing down....... NOT the highest resolution possible). My Vista graphics rating went from 3.0 to 5.9 and overall from 3.0 to 5.0 on the entire computer system. It appears that many computers, on the mid to lower end, the weakest link is the GPU. Upgrading the GPU, makes the overall system to be more responsive with games but I have not tested it with business graphic programs.

Up and running:

I have been running my computer system and playing various test games and pleased to report that the system is holding up fine. Heat generated by the GPU is 140 deg F or below running action computer games. When not stressed it is around 125 F. Now why does my system handle a higher end GPU without difficulty? My research shows that even with everything running, my power usage is under 250w. I don't know the efficiency of my PSU. Assuming 80% x 250 = 200 w actual. The peak power of all components on my system is theoretically about 236 w (peak power is never reached in actuality). My CPU is the AMD 4400+ (Code name:Brisbane; Note: there are several versions of the 4400+) which only consumes 65 w of power. I don't know the actual power my computer system is using and I have purchased Kill-A-Watt to measure it under gaming conditions.

Other thoughts: I suspect that the PSU is running close to full power, really something I don't want to do over the long haul. My goal was to see if my 250 w cheap stock PSU would do it and it was the "little engine that could". The stock PSU is a Liteon which came with the Acer system. I looks like a generic PSU that is very inexpensively made. The fan exhaust was very warm. Like running your Kia at 100 mph per hour - it can be done but do you want to do it all the time? Better to have a bigger engine (or power supply). I did switch out the power supply for an overkill 585 w PSU with 39 A (12v) total which is extreme for my system. The fan exhaust is now cooler and the GPU standby temp dropped to 115 deg F with the new dual fan PSU.

Further testing update:

After writing this review,I used Kill-a-Watt to test the power usage. I found the my computer only uses about 120 watts of power with the new GPU. When stessing the GPU with the video testing program, power consumption increased to 160 w. If my power supply is rated at 250 w with 70% efficiency = 175 w (generic PSU's are around 70% efficient; better ones are 80% or higher but 100% is not possible)the PSU should be enough except for the most demanding situations. With the games I used, it only consumed 145 w max. still within limits. So I probably did not need to switch for a more powerful PSU. I advise you to check out your computer system with a Kill-a-Watt tester to get a baseline on how much power (watts) your system is using before upgrading your PSU.

Another thought: Update the latest drivers directly from Nvidia. I don't like the software included with this GPU. However that did not enter into my ratings.

Overall: An excellent low powered high performing GPU converting a lower level computer to a better gaming machine. (My system of course is not intended for you high end gamers ;)
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5.0 out of 5 stars Inexpensive and great, January 11, 2011
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This review is from: MSI N9600GT-MD1G GeForce 9600 GT 1GB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Supported Video Card - Retail (Personal Computers)
exelente targeta de video no me a dado ningun problema hasta el momento puedo jugar los ultimos titulos sin problemas
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good, but Noisy Fan, October 16, 2009
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This review is from: MSI N9600GT-MD1G GeForce 9600 GT 1GB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Supported Video Card - Retail (Personal Computers)
This Video card improves my Vista Home 32-bit score from 4.1 to 5.6, but didn't realized it was Fan Sink, rather than heat sink version at times it bothersome with the noise, even without gaming or extreme programming. I'm not sure if there heat sink available for this NVIDIA 9600 series PCI-e 2.0 with DDR3. Makes vista lags a little bit. Not a gamer, but played some high graphics games such as Call of Duty Modern Warfare and it has no problem at all with it.

PROS: Good acceralation on TV Live, Standard HD HDMI & DVI ports,

CONS: Fan Sink (Noisy), Easily Heated, large-size PCI-e little challenge to install in small cases, lags.
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