Graphics Accelerators Based on Chips from NVIDIA Corporation
I should say that NVIDIA Company has finally managed to animate the NV3x family, which has definitely been supported by the ForceWare drivers release a lot. Now the graphics accelerators based on these chips perform not so drastically slow in the new games using pixel shaders. Of course, this is true for far not all cases. Moreover, there is a certain tendency here: the more up-to-date is the game and the more complex is its engine, the worse is the performance of NVIDIA’s offsprings in this application. However, in a number of cases, they still run really fast, especially in the modes with full-screen anti-aliasing and/or anisotropic filtering.
The new GeForce FX 5950 Ultra is really not bad at all, however, it has a few drawbacks worth paying attention to, such as huge cooling solution and long PCB, which blocked IDE connectors in our case and touched the DIMM slot clips. The same is true for GeForce FX 5700 Ultra, the new mainstream graphics adapter hardly yields to its elder brother in size and weight. Moreover, DDR-II memory can never be called “cool”, as it dissipates a lot of heat during work. Those who cannot afford a GeForce FX 5950 Ultra, but do not want to put up with only four rendering pipelines and 128bit memory bus, could probably go for a nice GeForce FX 5900 model. We consider the following solutions to be the most successful among those based on GeForce FX 5900 chip: ALbatron GiGi GeForce FX 5900 and ASUS V9950, as they boast quiet and compact cooling systems onboard, which is a definite advantage.
Unfortunately, many graphics card makers believe that the noise level is the last thing the gamers care about, that is why they very often provide their products with real turbines, which are so noisy that you can hardly enjoy sitting in front of your PC for long. If you really don’t care about the noise, then you will like the cards from Leadtek, which boast excellent PCB and mounting quality. Their only drawback from our point of view is the noise produced by the cooling system.
All in all, we would recommend GeForce FX graphics accelerators family to those of you who need the maximum fps rates and do not use the high quality modes at all. Moreover, it is quite possible that NVIDIA’s software developers will fail to eliminate all bugs from the NV3x architecture with the help of the shader code compiler built into the ForceWare driver. As a result, the performance of GeForce FX based solutions in the next generation games such as Doom III, Half-Life 2 and some others will turn out absolutely unacceptable. The indirect proof to the point is the section of our article devoted to the benchmarks results in a beta version of a game like that: despite all tricks, huge and non-optimized NV3x architecture appeared a real stopper for all NVIDIA graphics solutions participating in the test session. Of course, some game developers may optimize their software specifically for this architecture, but there is hardly any hope that all of them will do it one day. Especially, since ATI has been successfully selling an absolute majority of performance-mainstream and high-end DirectX 9 products so far.