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

    AquaMark 3 Performance

    AquaMark is a relatively new DirectX 9 benchmark, and although it does not represent an actual game, it does use the same Krass engine as found in products such as Aquanox 2 and Spellforce. AquaMark 3 also supports new features such as HyperThreading, Pixel Shader and VertexShader 2.0, and uses a wide range of DirectX 9 effects and features. For this review, we've tested in standard 1024x768 32-bit (GFX and Overall) and licensed 1280x1024 and 1600x1200 Advanced (FPS) modes.

    AquaMark 3 is a very demanding benchmark, potentially the most detailed DirectX 9 test available, and our initial Standard GFX scores show the XFX GeForce FX 5900 Ultra falling behind not only the Radeon 9800 XT, but the Radeon 9800 Pro as well. These are some pretty hefty performance differences, and outside of some potential ATI driver optimization, the jury is still out on the NVIDIA side of DirectX 9 performance.

    The following chart outlines the Overall AquaMark score, and is more a picture of overall system performance. There is really no difference between it and the GFX scores, and the XFX GeForce FX 5900 Ultra once again slides in between the scores of the Radeon 9800 Pro and Radeon 9700 Pro.

    The last chart details the licensed AquaMark 3 Advanced benchmark, where the detail levels and resolutions are raised even higher. We see a slight change in the overall scores, as at 1280x1024, the previous trend holds true, but at 1600x1200, the XFX GeForce FX 5900 Ultra hits virtually the same mark as the Radeon 9800 Pro.

    Benchmark Analysis

    The benchmark testing placed the XFX GeForce FX 5900 Ultra about where we expected, though there were a few surprises. For the most part the XFX card kept pace with the Radeon 9800 Pro, and overall results were very competitive with the market the GeForce FX 5900 Ultra is intended to fill. There are still some potential issues regarding DirectX 9 performance, and tossing the questionable 3DMark 2003 out for the moment, it still leaves us with quite different performance levels in GunMetal and AquaMark 3.

    * Please note that there have been DX9/GeForce FX performance issues brought up by Valve concerning their upcoming game, Half-Life 2. We will be waiting for the final Half-Life 2 release to determine overall framerates, but for the time being, ATI Radeon 9600 and 9800-based products look to provide the highest performance in this game.

    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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