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Digital-Daily : Video : msi-fx5700ultra

MSI GeForce FX 5700 Ultra/NonUltra

Date: 07.05.2004

By: Aleksey Burdyko

Introduction

MSI FX5700U-TD128
GPU chip NVIDIA NV36
Memory 128 Mb; DDR2; 2.2 ns
Frequencies: 475/900 MHz
Category: Middle-End
Price: $230
MSI FX5700-VTD128
GPU chip NVIDIA NV36
Memory 128 Mb; DDR; 3.6 ns
Frequencies: 425/550 MHz
Category: Middle-End
Price: $175

There has passed quite a while since we tested the NVIDIA GeForce FX 5700 Ultra reference board. And now we are going into tests of NVIDIA GeForce FX 5700 Ultra cards which have been batch-released by now. In our lab, we have also got the non-Ultra version of the board built on the NVIDIA GeForce FX 5700 Ultra chip. As always, NVIDIA's Ultra and non-Ultra chips make no difference except the clock speeds. Russian users have long been notable for their eagerness to overclocking and whatever tricks allowing to squeeze out some extra fps "from the air". Buying a non-Ultra/non-Pro video card with an eye toward further overclocking if not to its "Ultra" big brother but at least up to that mark is a thing albeit risky but giving several advantages if you know the specifics of the chips manufacturing technology and the final prices for Ultra and non-Ultra solutions by graphic card manufacturers.

That's why were very keen to explore all the ins and outs of the MSI FX5700-VTD128 video card built on the NVIDIA GeForce FX 5700 chip and compare it to its Ultra modification (MSI FX5700U-TD128), as well as to direct competitor products by ATI. And at just that, many disputable points may come up. Which ATI solution is the NVIDIA GeForce FX 5700 positioned against? While things are clear and distinct with NVIDIA GeForce FX 5700 Ultra and ATI Radeon 9600 XT - they are direct competitors (although the price factor to date is not in favor of the ATI product in terms of the Russian market realities), the situation with NVIDIA GeForce FX 5700 is not that straightforward. At first glance, the product should be positioned against ATI Radeon 9600. However, we'll proceed first from the pricing factor. And at that, not all is so bright for NVIDIA. Comparing the average prices (at www.price.ru) for video boards based on varied chips by various manufacturers - ATI Radeon 9600, ATI Radeon 9600 Pro, ATI Radeon 9600XT, NVIDIA GeForce FX 5700 and NVIDIA GeForce FX 5700 Ultra, we get quite an amusing picture. The average prices for NVIDIA GeForce FX 5700 and ATI Radeon 9600 Pro are about the same. On the other hand, we can't set off NVIDIA GeForce FX 5700 against ATI Radeon 9600 proceeding from the pricing factor, because the product based on the NVIDIA chip is more expensive.

So we built our today's review just proceeding from the pricing factors (for details, see the tests section). We were also curious to look at the MSI product line around which there are so many rumors to deal with the manufacture of boards built on ATI chips. For now, we can only observe the boards built on NVIDIA chips only:


Chip Product name Memory type Memory capacity Memory bus Video-In TV-Out DVI Fan
GF FX5950 Ultra FX5950U-VTD256 DDR 256MB 256bit Y Y Y Y
GF FX5900Ultra n-Box FX5900Ultra-VTD256 DDR 256MB 256bit Y Y Y Y
GF FX5900XT FX5900XT-VTD128 DDR-2.8 128MB 256bit Y Y Y Y
GF FX5700Ultra FX5700Ultra-TD128 DDR II 128MB 256bit Y Y Y Y
GF FX5700 FX5700-VTD256 DDR-3.6 256MB 128bit Y Y Y Y
GF FX5700 FX5700-VTD128 DDR-3.6 128MB 128bit Y Y Y Y
GF FX5700 FX5700-TD128 DDR-5 128MB 128bit Y Y Y Y
GF FX5600XT FX5600XT-VTDR128 DDR-3.6 128MB 128bit Y Y Y Y
GF FX5600XT FX5600XT-TD256 DDR-3.6 256MB 256bit N Y Y Y
GF FX5600XT FX5600XT-TD128 minibulk DDR-3.6 128MB 128bit N Y Y Y
GF FX5200 FX5200-VTD128 DDR-4 128MB 128bit Y Y Y Y
GF FX5200 FX5200-TDR128 DDR-4 128MB 128bit N Y Y Y
GF FX5200 FX5200-TD128 DDR-6 128MB 128bit N Y Y N
GF FX5200 FX5200-TD128 DDR-6 128MB 64bit N Y Y N
GF FX5200 FX5200-T128 DDR-6 128MB 64bit N Y N N
GF FX5200 FX5200-T64 DDR-5 64MB 64bit N Y N N
GF MX4000 MX4000-T128 DDR-6 128MB 64bit N Y N N
GF 4 MX440 MX440-T8X DDR-5 64MB 64bit N Y N N

Today, we'll be dealing with tests of two video cards of the middle pricing range: FX5700Ultra-TD128 and FX5700-VTD128.

NVIDIA GeForce FX 5700 and NVIDIA GeForce FX 5700 Ultra Chips

In our roundup table, we gathered characteristics both for NVIDIA GeForce FX 5700 and NVIDIA GeForce FX 5700 Ultra chips, as well as for their predecessor - NVIDIA GeForce FX 5600 Ultra, and for their Middle-End competitor cards built on ATI chips - ATI Radeon 9600XT.


Video cards GeForce FX 5700 Radeon 9600 XT Radeon 9600 PRO GeForce FX 5700 Ultra
Code name NV36 RV360 RV350 NV36
Chip technology
256 bit
Process technology
0.13 mk
Q-ty of transistors ~82 mln ~75 mln ~75 mln ~82 mln
Memory bus 128 bit (DDR I) 128 bit (DDR I) 128 bit (DDR I) 128 bit (DDR II)
Memory bandwidth 8.8 GB/s 9.6 GB/s 9.6 GB/s 14.4 GB/s
Pixel fillrate - 2.0 Gpixel/s 1.6 Gpixel/s 1.9 Gpixel/s
AGP bus
1x/2x/4x/8x
Memory
128/256 MB
Chip clock speed 425 MHz 500 MHz 400 MHz 475 MHz
Memory speed 275 MHz
(550 DDR)
300 MHz
(600 DDR)
300 MHz
(600 DDR)
450 MHz
(900 DDR)
Q-ty of Vertex Pipelines 3 2 2 3
Pixel pipelines 4 (2) 4 4 4 (2)
Textures per pipeline 1 (2) 1 1 1 (2)
Textures per texture unit 16 16 16 16
Vertex shader version 2.0 + 2.0 2.0 2.0+
Pixel shader version 2.0+ 2.0 2.0 2.0+
Generation DirectX 9.0 DirectX 9.0 DirectX 9.0 DirectX 9.0
Antialiasing modes Multisampling
Maximum 4x
Mixed modes
Maximum 8x
Multisampling
Maximum 6x
Multisampling
Maximum 6x
Multisampling
Maximum 4x
Mixed modes
Maximum 8x
Anisotropic filtering 2/4/8x 2/4/8/16x 2/4/8/16x 2/4/8x
Memory optimization IntelliSample HCT Hyper Z III+ Hyper Z III+ IntelliSample HCT
Optimizations CineFX 2.0
IntelliSample HCT
SmartShader 2.0
SmoothVision 2.1
SmartShader 2.0
SmoothVision 2.1
CineFX 2.0
IntelliSample HCT
Q-ty of monitor outputs
2
Integrated RAMDAC
2 x 400 MHz
External RAMDACs
-
Bits per color channel
10
Special features Integrated TV-coder; adaptive filtering, DirectX 9+ Integrated TV-coder; FullStream
Adaptive filtering
Integrated TV-coder; FullStream
Adaptive filtering
Integrated TV-coder; adaptive filtering, DirectX 9+

As we can see, the NVIDIA GeForce FX 5700 chip differs from NVIDIA GeForce FX 5700 Ultra in only the frequencies (which in fact is the way that should be with Ultra and non-Ultra modifications of NVIDIA boards). The frequencies of NVIDIA GeForce FX 5700 make up 425 MHz / 275 MHz (550 DDR) versus 475 MHz / 450 MHz (900 DDR) in NVIDIA GeForce FX 5700 Ultra.

Note that the memory clocking in NVIDIA GeForce FX 5700 is much more understated rather than the core clocking. This is attributed mostly to the fact that boards built on the NVIDIA GeForce FX 5700 chip should have been made cheaper as opposed to quite costly to manufacture graphic boards built on the NVIDIA GeForce FX 5700 Ultra chips with the DDR-II memory, which can't be done without replacing the DDR-II memory and simpler wiring of the board, which results in appropriate installations of slower memory chips. In the part of our material dealing with the analysis of the PCB of the NVIDIA GeForce FX 5700, we'll give more focus to the point. As the memory clocking dropped, so did the memory bandwidth (128 bit / 8 * 2 * 275 MHz = 8,8 GB/s), which in view of the not so understated core clocking can't make up a problem of memory bandwidth lack. Nevertheless, let's see what synthetic benchmarks will show for that.

Content:

  • Introduction
  • MSI FX5700U-TD128 Video Card Features
  • MSI FX5700-VTD128 Video Card Features
  • Test configuration, overclocking
  • Benchmarks: Synthetic tests
  • Benchmarks: Gaming benchmarks




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