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The today’s performance leaders in the cut-throat competition between ATI and NVIDIA among the gaming graphics chips are undoubtedly R350 and NV35, which were officially announced as ATI RADEON 9800 Pro and NVIDIA GeForce FX 5900 Ultra. Correspondingly, the graphics cards based on these two chips occupy the top of the High-End gaming graphics cards price range. Their pricing starts at $400 per unit. In the most “extreme” cases the prices of these graphics cards may reach the phenomenal sum of $1000, like in case of the graphics accelerator from Gainward, which is equipped with a water cooling system.

However, High-End implies not only GeForce FX 5900 Ultra or RADEON 9800 Pro based graphics solutions. A while after the high-performance NV35 and R350 versions had been announced, NVIDIA and ATI launched their slightly slower modifications of the top graphics solutions. I am talking about NVIDIA GeForce FX 5900 and ATI RADEON 9800. They are based on the same NVIDIA NV35 and ATI R350 chips, but differ from the faster modifications by slightly lower working frequencies and GeForce FX 5900 also features less graphics memory.

To be more exact, the differences look as follows:

  • NVIDIA GeForce FX 5900 based graphics cards work at 400MHz graphics chip frequency, while NVIDIA GeForce FX 5900 Ultra supports 450MHz chip frequency. The graphics memory of GeForce FX 5900 and GeForce FX 5900 Ultra works at the same frequency of 850MHz (425MHz DDR), however, GeForce FX 5900 is equipped with only 128MB of memory, while its elder Ultra brother boasts 256MB.
  • ATI RADEON 9800 differs from ATI RADEON 9800 Pro by lower chip and memory working frequencies: it supports 325MHz chip and 580MHz (290MHz) memory, while its faster fellow works at 380MHz chip and 680MHz (340MHz) memory.
    There are two versions of graphics cards on RADEON 9800 Pro: with 128MB of graphics memory onboard and with 256MB of DDR-II graphics memory. However, the latter type of graphics cards is not so widely spread and comes in limited quantities. They are selling at a much higher price, although their performance advantage over the 128MB versions is not that high at all.

Today we are going to take a closer look at a few graphics cards based on NVIDIA GeForce FX 5900 and will compare their performance with that of their No.1 competitor: ATI RADEON 9800 based solutions. Besides, we will try to figure out how big is their lag behind the faster solutions, which we have just mentioned, and will also evaluate their overclocking potential. To make this comparison an exiting read for you, I decided to use not only the traditional benchmarks, but also a few new unusual tests.

Today I will introduce to you three models on NVIDIA GeForce FX 5900 from the well-known graphics card makers – ASUS, Chaintech and Gainward. ATI RADEON 9800 will be represented in our article by a solution from Sapphire.

 
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