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Reviewed by: Bryan Pizzuti [09.05.02]
Manufactured by: MSI
MSRP: $199 

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NView is the decendent of NVIDIA's TwinView (Introduced with the GeForce2MX) which was inspired by Matrox's DualHead technology. It allows the computer's desktop to be divided up between multiple monitors, using a mirror or clone mode to show the same display on both, or by stretching the desktop horizontally or vertically between the two monitors. It can also show a zoomed-in portion of one monitor on the other, which is very useful for video and graphics editing.

NVIDIA's Desktop Manager is a pretty complex program, especially for being a piece of a driver. It's original purpose was to manage the output between the two video outs on GeForce2MX TwinView cards, but has since grown to a major extension to Windows itself (in addition to providing nView services). Now, it can support multiple desktops, similar to the way many Linux window managers do.

It can also provide variable levels of transparency to particular applications, which is handy if you'd like to be able to see through one document to reference another while you enter data into the first (or vice versa). It can also allow ANY application to be set as "Always On Top," without the application itself having to support it. Some other effects include transparency only when dragging, and using the scroll wheel to zoom in and out on parts of the screen.

Of course, the Desktop Manager still handles TwinView (now called nView) management of applications between multiple monitors, so long as nView mode is enabled. And if you're using the Windows Extended Desktop instead, fear not, because it can handle application management between displays through that as well, though the available options are slightly different.

NView also integrates with the Video-Out on GeForce cards, allowing them to be treated like an ordinary monitor, which is very handy for presentations, and game-playing on large-screen TVs. Keep in mind, however, that the TI4200 GPU only supports a total of 2 monitors, so if you want to use TV-Out, and you have 2 monitors attached, one of them must be disabled first. And the nicest thing about nView is the fact that your settings won't intrude on anyone else's. nView stores it's settings per user rather than globally. So as long as you're using different logons for each user, each user can have their own nView preferred way of viewing their applications.


As already mentioned, part of the VIVO usefulness on NVIDIA cards is that they can integrate with nView and allow the video out to act as an ordinary monitor-out. This is no surprise, since it, and it's predecessor TwinView (As well as Matrox's DualHead, and ATI's HydraVision) have always done so. That makes the VideoOut portion incredibly easy to use, since if you're already familiar with nView, then the procedure is identical, and whatever you want piped out to the TV (or other video device) should be placed on the TV "monitor." TV-Out is restricted to 800x600 (1024x768 on some NVIDIA-based cards now) but it's certainly capable for games, presentations, and playing DVDs.

However, not as many people will be as familiar with video-in. This section of the drivers are powered by NVIDIA's Personal Cinema drivers, believe it or not, and install drivers for a TV Tuner and Crossbar Audio controller, even though these devices are not physically present. This is a 100% NVIDIA driver, rather than being modified by MSI, so MSI should not be blamed here.

To use the VideoIn, you have to have appropriate video editing and capture software. And yes that sounds expensive, but it isn't; WindowsME and WinXP both come with a basic video editing bundle preinstalled.  With it, you can capture video and encode to about any video codec you can think of, including Microsoft's WMA for internet video.  If you prefer, MSI includes InterVideo's WinProducer software, which is a nice, slightly more powerful set of video editing and mixing tools.


This isn't an NVIDIA feature, it's an MSI feature. And, as far as I know, this is the first implementation of it in a video card (though Gigabyte uses similar technology on their motherboards, and others are following suit). The MSI manual also refers to it as SafeBIOS and BIOS II at times.

TwinBios is simply 2 BIOS chips on the card instead of one. When you decide to flash the BIOS to upgrade the code, there's a reason they tell you to be careful. A bad BIOS flash, or bad BIOS chip, power outage or any number of things going wrong, including the board not being able to handle the updated BIOS, can make your wonderful piece of hardware a wonderful paperweight. But TwinBios gives you a fallback; all you have to do is adjust a jumper to switch to the unchanged BIOS chip (Safemode) and you're back in business. Then you can switch the jumper back (While the PC is on?!? Sounds like a job for the PC Geiger RD2!) and re-flash BIOS #1.

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