MSI is yet another Taiwanese company that, through a proven track record of quality and inexpensive products, has been met with much success outside of the Asian market. Originally MSI limited its electronics production to motherboards, but as other Taiwanese motherboard manufacturers began expanding into various markets, so did MSI. Now, a few product cycles after the company's first video card implementation to make it big outside of Asia, MSI has gained a reputation for providing stable, low cost video products.
One problem that does arise from being a smaller video card supplier is that getting chips is just that much harder. Typically getting chips that have been on the market for some time is not a problem, but there are issues with getting recently announced or new generation products. Case in point: NVIDIA's GeForce3.
You may notice that although many video card companies sport a GeForce3 product, few are readily available to the consumer. A quick search shows that of the many companies that have announced GeForce3 cards, only a handful (5 or 6) different cards can be found readily on the market.
Sources close to AnandTech tell us the reason for this is that NVIDIA is being very tight on GeForce3 chips, only sending a limited number to the vast majority of card producers. This produces a problem for the smaller board manufacturers trying to make it big: they can not produce an adequate supply of products from which their sales may increase. This also brings the price of GeForce3 cards from these manufacturers up, since less sales equates to less profit on the whole. Supposedly NVIDIA is telling manufacturers that July should bring a better supply of GeForce3 chips to the market, but many remains skeptical considering the time required to produce the chips and NVIDIA's focus on their X-box products.
MSI's StarForce 822 GeForce3 product is one of the cards hurt by NVIDIA's lack of supply. Even if MSI could sell thousands of these cards at a very reasonable price, odds are that they could not get enough chips to keep up with demand. As a result of this, the number of e-tailers selling the StarForce 822 is low and the price is slightly higher (for the most part) than competing products. How does the StarForce 822 GeForce3 do in comparison to the other GeForce3 cards on the market? Is it worth waiting for one of these to pop up at your favorite e-tailer? Let's find out.