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NV31/34 Preview

by David Ross on 6 March 2003, 00:00


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Today NVIDIA have launched 2 new cards based on their "FX" technology. We all saw that around 2 months ago NVIDIA broke in to the market with their new leading card - the NV30. Some people were shocked by the noise which this created, but underneath this there was some attractive technology. This of course is something which we are not all seeing being taken advantage of at the moment.

The 2 new cards are called the NVIDIA Geforce FX 5600, and the 5200 models, these are targeted at the mainstream and the budget sectors of the market. NVIDIA has both of these under 2 code words - NV31, and NV34 - both of which are without doubt going to be familiar with a lot of you already.

The 5600 and 5200 GPUs

NV31 Product label

Starting at the top with the 5600 family - this card will be coming in two core flavors. They will be the Geforce FX 5600, and the FX 5600 Ultra. The 5600 family is based around similar technology to that of the 5800 FX Ultra (NV30). The core specs are, 8X AGP, DirectX9 support, UDA, 0.13 Micron manufacturing technology, it will carry 4 pipelines instead of the 8 which the NV30 carries. The card will have a 400 MHz RAMDAC and it will run DDR memory - not DDR-II. The card will also have the 128bit memory bus, which we know has hindered the performance of NV30 - I wonder what NVIDIA are going to do next? ;). The 5600 family also carries some other features which the NV30 had - these are copper vias and wiring as well as thermal monitoring and management (this is the way that the NV30 was silent in 2D operation).

Proof of the pudding!.

The 5200 family is seeded as a sub $99 graphics solution which is based around the FX family and DirectX9. Of course on a cheaper card you are going to have some slightly older technology, such as the manufacturing. The specifications for the 5200 model is Directx9, UDA, 0.15 micron manufacturing technology, 4 pipelines, and DDR memory. This card will have 350MHz RAMDAC.

The NV34 Top shot (NVIDIA GeForce FX 5200).

The NV34 back shot (NVIDIA GeForce FX 5200).

Both of the GPUs run in conjunction with BGA memory – this is something which we will not see changing – the Geforce 4 was the last family of cards not to all run BGA. Also all cards will have the normal VGA/DVI/TVout functionality which we are accustomed to. Both cards also take a power feed off from the PSU using a molex-style connector.

The NV34/1 Connectors

The NV34 Power interface (NVIDIA GeForce FX 5200). Both the 5200 and 5600 are the same in this deparment

Again, NVIDIA have both these parts aimed at the low / midrange segments of the market, and they carry all of the features of the DirectX9, and CineFX technology - there is no need for me to go in to huge depth about this since we all know what it does already. Both of our cards were off almost identical PCBs - similar to that of the 4400s, and 4600s

Final Notes

These cards do have some sacrifices - NVIDIA have moved away from pipelines and fill rate in to the CineFX shaders, this is the same way which a lot of people are moving - away from the "coloured house" in to a house which looks more realistic and shaded. We have these cards in at the moment, and we have run a large amount of numbers on them already - these will be realised in our formal review early next week. The performance we believe would follow the following pattern: The TI4200 card which is the segment that the 5600 family is targeting (NV31) will compete with the card and possibly beat it within DX7/8 applications - but the NV34 will shine through in more DX9 applications - and thus in the future this is a card which will run applications such as Doom 3 a lot better than the TI4200 will. The NV34 we believe will perform well for a sub $99 card - and will be an ideal budget solution, the card will score admirably within DX7/8/9 applications but of course will not have the same power as its bigger brothers. This is down to what you want to do with the card, some people do not care about the 3DMark score or the FPS in games – they just want a card which can run game X properly – this maybe a solution for you. With this announcement it brings all of NVIDIAs GPUs up to “date” and are all DirectX9 compliant.

Unlike the NV30 chipset these will be released to all of the usual partners for them to create there own implementations of the cards. It is an interesting time a head, and with this, and today’s earlier announcement the GPU/VPU wars are hotting up - I wonder what else NVIDIA and ATi have up their sleeves - I know for sure I am looking forward to seeing it.

HEXUS Forums :: 23 Comments

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Origin b2 gets my vote (along with lots of other people) about 300-350ish, I paid 320.

Often in second place is the RoadAngel.
PDA & Trafcam ?
good for the GPS ones
though you might want to combine it with some other toys
I've played around with Road angel a bit, and its brilliant! GPS is the way to go. Tho like Cocopops said, the Origin B2 is apparently better, as it has more features. (couldn't tell you anything about the features tho!)

B2 is the dogs. Not cheap though…
I want it to be a stand alone unit