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Review: ASUS V9950 GeForceFX 5900 Ultra 256MB

by Ryszard Sommefeldt on 27 September 2003, 00:00


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Apparently Arizona in the United States, and Chile in South America, fight for the title of having the worlds largest copper reserves on Earth. If ASUS keep making graphics cards, I think that could be under threat, for it wont be Arizona or Chile that have all the worlds copper, it'll be you, the graphics card consumer.

If you recall, back on the 12th July, I took a look at ASUS' non Ultra FX5900 board. The V9950 was a heavy beast, with copper caressing the GPU and 128MB of DDR memory on one side. Not content with that, ASUS' also forged ahead with an Ultra version of the same board. It's that board that I have the pleasure of looking at today.

With 256MB of memory, meaning chips on the back side of the PCB, ASUS have created the worlds first AGP8X copper sandwich. Not very tasty (I did try to eat it, the dentist appointment is next week) in the traditional sense, but in the world of consumer graphics and all that entails, very tasty indeed.

But without giving the game away on page 1, let's have a quick chat about NV35 before we delve into the realm of benchmarks, graphs and conclusions.

As we've said on quite a few occasions before at HEXUS, NV35 is all about the render setup. To get optimal performance out of our schizophrenic GPU, it needs to be taken advantage of in the right way. To fully exploit the power of NV35's ability to pass 8 textured pixels per clock through its pipeline, the calling application that's running on the hardware has to be setup correctly.

In a number of situations, NV35 will fall back to 4 pixel per clock rendering instead. While that doesn't mean texel (textured pixel) fillrate drops, it still uses all available texture units at all times, it does mean that theoretical pixel fillrate gets cut in half.

Shader performance is another kettle of fish. With pixel shader performance in particular, enjoying a rollercoaster ride in terms of performance from one driver to the next, it's hard to pin down exactly where an NV35 equipped card stands in the grand scheme of things. ATI like to put their 9800 Pro boards as the grand daddy's of the grand scheme and I'm not sure we can disagree. One minute PS performance is there, one minute it's not. The much whispered about Detonator XP 50 drivers can't come soon enough, in terms of helping us place NVIDIA's powerful beasts once and for all.

I wont bore you with another specification table full of numbers you'll have seen already, I'll just link you to here instead, which covers the figures pretty well.

So unless you've been living under a stone for the past few months, you'll know all about FX5900 Ultra, its main competitors and how it performs (for the most part), I don't need to cover that in too much depth here. Onwards, to the card itself.