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    XFX GeForce FX 5900 Ultra 256-MB Review
    By Vince Freeman :  November 4, 2003


    The XFX GeForce FX 5900 Ultra 256-MB is squaring off against the powerful Radeon 9800 Pro, so we're sticking with our high-end test configuration. Our reference system consists of a Pentium 4-3.2 GHz processor, an i875P AGP 8X motherboard, and 2x256-MB of DDR400. This supplies the horsepower we need to rigorous game testing, and gives the needed headroom to truly separate the high-end video cards for comparison.

    For this review, we're taking the XFX GeForce FX 5900 Ultra up against the gamut of high-end ATI cards. These include the Radeon 9800 XT (with and without OverDrive enabled), the Radeon 9800 Pro, and the Radeon 9700 Pro. This is more than a standard video card comparison, as it also gives us a great opportunity to test the performance and image quality of NVIDIA Forceware 52.16 drivers against the ATI Catalyst 3.8 revision. Our operating system is Windows XP Pro SP1 with DirectX 9b, and all video cards have been tested with AGP 8X and Fast Writes enabled.

    Our game benchmark selection includes the standard tests such as Quake 3: Arena, 3DMark 2001SE Pro, UT 2003, and Return to Castle Wolfenstein, some newer DirectX 9 benchmarks like 3DMark 2003, GunMetal and AquaMark 3, along with Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory for a bit higher-end Quake engine-based benchmarking. All testing has been performed using standard 32-bit settings, along with several anti-aliasing and anisotropic filtering charts alongside the standard tests. For these tests, 4X AA and 8X AF settings have been used, which are representative of the detail settings for high-end gamers.

    * Please note that unless otherwise stated, all performance graph results equate to the standard "higher is better" format.

    Test System

    General Settings:
    Desktop Resolution: 1024x768
    Color Depth: 32-bit
    V-Sync: Disabled

    Intel 875PE Test Platform
    Processors: Pentium 4-3.2 GHz
    Memory: 2 x 256-MB DDR400
    Motherboard: AOpen AX4C Max
    Motherboard chip set: Intel 875P
    NVIDIA reference drivers: Forceware 52.16
    ATI reference drivers: Catalyst 3.8
    Hard-Drive: Maxtor 80-GB 7200 RPM
    Power Supply: Sparkle 400 Watt
    Operating System: Windows XP Pro SP1
    DirectX 9b

    Video Cards:
    XFX GeForce FX 5900 Ultra
    Radeon 9800 XT with OD enabled
    Radeon 9800 XT standard
    ATI Radeon 9800 Pro
    ATI Radeon 9700 Pro

    Quake III Arena Test Specifics
    Version: 1.30 (retail)
    V-Sync: Disabled
    Sound Disabled
    High Quality Defaults

    Return to Castle Wolfenstein Specifics:
    Version 1.0
    High Quality Defaults
    Checkpoint MP demo

    3DMark 2001SE Pro Specifics:
    Version 1.0 patched

    3DMark 2003 Specifics:
    Version 1.0 patched

    AquaMark Specifics:
    Version 3

    GunMetal Specifics:
    Version 1.20S

    Page 1 The XFX GeForce FX 5900 Ultra 256-MB Card
  • Page 2 Performance and Test System
    Page 3 Quake 3 & Return to Castle Wolfenstein Performance
    Page 4 Wolfenstein: ET & Comanche 4 Performance
    Page 5 3DMark 2001SE Pro & Code Creatures Performance
    Page 6 Unreal Tournament 2003 Performance
    Page 7 3DMark 2003 & GunMetal Performance
    Page 8 AquaMark 3 Performance & Benchmark Analysis
    Page 9 Image Quality, Value and Conclusion

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