Articles: Graphics

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As is known, the launch of ATI RADEON 9700 graphics processor and R300 architecture caught NVIDIA unawares. The company simply couldn’t offer any adequate response to ATI Technologies’ attack for 8 months. However, in fact, the NV30 chip, which gave birth to the today’s product family from the Santa Clara manufacturer appeared not very successful.

The cards based on GeForce FX 5800 used very expensive 12-layer PCB and were equipped with very expensive DDR II memory working at 1000MHz frequency but featuring very narrow 128bit bus. And the cooling solution of these graphics cards aka FlowFX, which was specifically developed for this graphics card family and was probably intended for deaf people became almost a legend. The worst thing for NVIDIA was the fact that their new GeForce FX 5800 Ultra solution was very often slower than RADEON 9700 PRO or demonstrated very low advantage over the competitor, which was an unbelievable situation for NVIDIA, really. All this resulted into inadequate reaction of the market to this product. In the long run, NVIDIA stopped the production of their new solution having manufactured only around 100 thousand pieces of this graphics processor. However, NVIDIA learned its lesson and took all mistakes of the failed NV30 into consideration. Very soon, in January 2003 a new NV35 chip came out. Compared with NV30, the new NV35 boasts higher performance, and uses 256bit memory bus for the regular DDR SDRAM. NV35 appeared a pretty successful product: having borrowed all the best from the predecessor, it was deprived of the predecessor’s drawbacks.

It is a paradoxical fact, but 3dfx engineers and developers used to say about the failure of GeForce256 as a product and its success as an implementation of the new architecture. Now that these people have actively participated in the development of the almost failed GeForce FX 5800, the same thing is true for NV30.

Here is what the new NVIDIA’s GPU can do (for more details on the NV35 performance and features, please, see our article called NVIDIA GeForce FX 5900 Ultra (NV35) Review):

NVIDIA GeForce FX 5900 Ultra

Manufacturing technology


Number of transistors


Chip frequency


Graphics memory controller


Graphics memory frequency

(425MHz DDR)

Peak memory bus bandwidth


Max graphics memory size


AGP interface

AGP 3.0 4x/8x

Pixel pipelines, pixel shaders

Pixel pipelines

4, 8

Texturing unites per pipeline

2, 0

Max number of textures during multi-texturing


Texture filtering types

tri-linear + anisotropic

Max anisotropy level


Pixel shaders version


Vertex pipelines, vertex shaders,

Vertex pipelines


Vertex shaders version


Full Screen Anti-Aliasing

FSAA methods

Ordered grid multi-sampling

Number of samples

4 (OGSS, OGMS, OGSS+OGMS – only in Direct3D ),
6 (OGSS+OGMS, only in Direct3D),

Technologies aimed at higher memory bandwidth efficiency

Hidden Surfaces Removal (HSR)


Frame-buffer compression


Z-buffer compression


As you see, the features list of the new NVIDIA solution deserves all our respect. By the way, even though the reference NVIDIA cards have got rid of the super-noisy FlowFX cooling system, they acquired an even larger solution instead, which still occupies two PCI slots inside the case and is still pretty noisy. Nevertheless, some graphics card makers took a different way: they developed and intruded their own cooling solutions for NV35 based graphics cards. Today we are going to take a closer look at a product like that from ASUSTeK Computer.

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