Graphics Performance and Final Thoughts

Let’s be upfront with you here – the GeForce GT 520 GPU isn’t really a gaming level graphics card in most of our readers’ eyes.  Is it going to perform better than the integrated graphics on Sandy Bridge processors?  Yes, but it might not be much better than the integrated graphics you’ll find on AMD’s Llano APUs.  As you’ll see in our quick gaming testing below you should not buy this card expecting to do multi-display gaming except in a few special cases.

Our GPU-Z screenshot shows the 40nm GPU is powered by only 48 CUDA cores (compared with the 512 cores found on the top-end GTX 580) but still has a solid 1GB frame buffer.  

The 3DMark11 results aren’t really going to impress anyone though it is a DX11 capable graphics card with support for PhysX and CUDA applications.

For our actual game testing I threw quite a few things at the GT 520 and had some limited success, even for modern titles.  Deus Ex: Human Revolution ran at nearly 30 frames per second at 1680×1050 resolution and low quality settings and the new Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim was able to hit 25 FPS at 1680×1050 and low quality settings.  

What Skyrim looks like on the Galaxy MDT GeForce GT 520

Both of those games were completely playable which is actually quite a nice surprise based on our assumptions with this GPU.  If you play games like StarCraft II, League of Legends, Left 4 Dead or even more casual titles like Minecraft and Bastion, the Galaxy MDT GT 520 is going to more than meet your needs.  

As for actually running two display gaming, that configuration is only useful for a handful of game types.  Strategy games like StarCraft II and Supreme Commander can utilize the real estate without the annoyances that exist in first person shooters (targeting reticule on the bezel, etc) and are definitely worth trying out.

Features and Use Cases

So while the Galaxy MDT GT 520 can definitely handle some moderate gaming the real killer use-case for this card is consumers and business users that simply need more screens on the same PC for a low cost.  

You may not even realize today how useful it can be to have more than a single monitor on your desk but if you give it a try, I have no doubt you’ll be hooked.  Accountants that need to see a mass of numbers all at the same, day traders that want to make sure they have every resource in sight at all time, writers (like myself) that need to reference multiple sources very frequently – they could all take advantage of the power that a card like the MDT GT 520 can provide.  

Pricing and Availability

As of this writing, the Galaxy MDT GeForce GT 520 is available exclusively at Best Buy for a price of $116.99.

Compared to other GT 520 cards you’ll see on the market today online, that is definitely an increase though no other card offers four display outputs through a single PCI Express slot.  Even Best Buy sells other models that start as low as $60 though you have to gauge the value of the quad-display support for yourself.  To me, having this flexibility definitely edges out other cards in this performance level.

AMD presents another problem though including some options that can handle 4 or more displays on a single card like this model from XFX.  Based on the HD 6770 GPU it has much more graphics performance and will support up to 5 displays though you will have to invest in DisplayPort monitors or DVI to DisplayPort adapters that can cost as much as $20-30 each.  At nearly $120 the Galaxy MDT GeForce GT 520 does not seem like a bargain at all but it is by far the simplest quad-display solution and is at least reasonably priced.

Final Thoughts

Galaxy continues its climb upward in the graphics card market by developing unique and innovative solutions around NVIDIA GPUs.  The MDT series (multiple display technology) not only helps NVIDIA compete with AMD’s feature set in the high-end market but also allows Galaxy to sell a card like the MDT GeForce GT 520 for a reasonable price, offering support for up to four monitors for multi-tasking consumers and businesses.  The only thing that would have us recommend this product any higher would be a lower price, getting closer to the rest of the field in terms of graphical capability.  For anyone that is looking to expand to an extreme level of screen real estate with a moderate level of gaming horsepower, the Galaxy MDT GeForce GT 520 is a great solution. 

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