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Reviewed by: Carl Nelson [09.23.00]
Manufactured by: MSI
MSRP: $150


Default Speed

First, let's have a look at how the StarForce 816 stacked up against a GeForce 2 GTS at default speed.  No overclocking was done to either card for these benchmarks.  First up is the venerable Quake 3 Demo001 timedemo, in High Quality mode.  I changed only the resolutions and the bit rate.

In 16 bit, the GF2MX does quite well, right up to about 1024x768.  Anything above that though, and you are looking at sub-50 frames per second.  This might be tolerable for you, so I'll just show you the numbers and stay out of your way.  I personally like to play with at least 80 FPS in Demo001, so I can be sure of a steady rate of at LEAST 60 in other levels.  Let's have a look at 32 bit:

This is the mode I personally play in.  I use the GeForce 2 GTS in 32 bit mode at 1024x768.  I turn off the texture compression though, so my numbers will be a bit lower than this (texture compression is on by default, so I left it).  The GeForce 2 MX fares well up to 800x600, but anything above that and you're going to see some choppiness in some areas.  What you're seeing here is the clear effect the limited memory bandwidth has in 32 bit high res gaming.

Let's Overclock This Puppy!

I'm sure you're just DYING to know how the StarForce 816 overclocks... Well I am happy to report that it fares quite well! Thanks to the 6 ns ram, you should be able to get a memory speed of at least 185 Mhz without seeing artifacts.  Pump the core clock speed to 210, and this is what you get:

Some nice little gains there in higher resolutions, and this is with absolutely no extra cooling or anything.  Take a look at the crappy little heatsink that comes with the card, and you know that you can get it higher with just a little effort.

That heatsink just HAS to go! Well not just yet - we're here to show you what you can do with this great little card right out of the box.  Let's have a look at how it holds up to 3DMark's tests:

400 extra 3DMarks can surely be considered as a nice gain.  How does just over 5000 3DMarks with a video card that's just over $100 sound? Good! Because the MSI StarForce 816 is just that!

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