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AOpen Aeolus GeForce FX 5700 Ultra
Inno3D Tornado GeForce FX 5700 Ultra
Sparkle GeForce FX 5700 Ultra
Video Cards Review 

January 6, 2004








CONTENTS

  1. Video cards features
  2. Testbed, test tools, 2D quality
  3. Test results: Performance Comparison
  4. Conclusion

In spite of the ongoing holidays we keep on testing new video cards from NVIDIA. The company is going to release a new High-End product in several months already, but there's no news from the Middle-End sector, and it's quite possible that the current middling cards will have a long market life.

It's not easy to write positively about a product the price of which doesn't match its capabilities, even the low-end model of the FX 5900 series. No secret that the market is being flooded with the FX 5900 XT earlier named FX 5900SE/LX/CP, and their prices are rapidly falling down. Who might need the FX 5700 Ultra if the prices are almost equal? Our reviews listed below clearly show the difference between the 5700 and 5900.
 

Theoretical materials and reviews of video cards which concern functional properties of the GPU NVIDIA GeForce FX  

The FX 5700 Ultra halves some parameters of the FX 5950 Ultra (except the vertex shader). It means that the FX 5900 clocked at 400 MHz against 475 MHz will be stronger than the 5700 Ultra. Plus the 256-bit bus. The 5900 XT coupled with 700 MHz memory and such bus will beat the the FX 5700U with its 900 MHz memory and 128-bit bus. Also remember that almost all FX 5900XT/LX/SE are able to raise their clock speed up to the level of the FX 5900 Ultra.

The 5700 Ultra GPUs have a good overclocking potential as well. But it doesn't help them much with only one megapipeline with 4 pixels per clock in cooperation with 4 texture processors. Plus, there's a problem with the clock speeds on the driver 53.03 which doesn't let lifting it up over 300 MHz. You can restore the performance by uninstalling the driver, cleaning the register and installing it again. This bug in the driver is very annoying for overclockers.

Nevertheless, the cards are selling, and users have the right to know what they are able of and which card is better. Besides, the prices drop down bit by bit, and it's possible that a user reading this review after a time can find such cards quite tasty if the price is matching.

Cards

 

AOpen Aeolus GeForce FX 5700 Ultra


Inno3D Tornado GeForce FX 5700 Ultra


Sparkle GeForce FX 5700 Ultra



 
AGP x8/x4/x2 interface, 128 MB DDR-II SDRAM memory in 8 chips on both PCB sides.

AOpen Aeolus GeForce FX 5700 Ultra; Inno3D Tornado GeForce FX 5700 Ultra; Sparkle GeForce FX 5700 Ultra
Samsung (GDDR2) 2.2ns memory chips (corresponds to 450 (900) MHz), memory clocked at 450 (900)  MHz, GPU at 475 MHz. 128 bit memory bus.



 
Comparison with the reference design, front view
AOpen Aeolus GeForce FX 5700 Ultra Reference card NVIDIA GeForce FX 5700 Ultra






Inno3D Tornado GeForce FX 5700 Ultra



Sparkle GeForce FX 5700 Ultra




 
Comparison with the reference design, back view
AOpen Aeolus GeForce FX 5700 Ultra Reference card NVIDIA GeForce FX 5700 Ultra






Inno3D Tornado GeForce FX 5700 Ultra



Sparkle GeForce FX 5700 Ultra



All the cards are based on the reference design. AOpen put in the box the very reference card. Only InnoVision changed the design a little bit.

Have a look at the coolers.
 
 
 

AOpen Aeolus GeForce FX 5700 Ultra; Sparkle GeForce FX 5700 Ultra
This is a standard reference cooler which was earlier described here: the heatsink is narrow and doesn't prevent installation of cards into the first PCI slot. It's equipped with an efficient low-noise fan. The cooler sitting above cools both the chip and the memory modules. There's also a big sink underneath for the second half of the memory chips.

Note that the DDR-II memory heats a lot and be careful when installing it into a tight small PC case.







Inno3D Tornado GeForce FX 5700 Ultra
Inno3D offers a bit more interesting solution. The conception is similar, but the fan has blades shining in the UV rays. Also, there's an effective bright red LED that illuminates the cooler.









 

Here's how it looks with the backlight.




Sparkle's card is equipped with the external Philips 7114 TV codec which works with Video-In, and the card supports VIVO, though the TV-out is realized in the GeForce FX5700 Ultra. The other cards are outfitted only with a TV-out.

Package contents.
 

AOpen Aeolus GeForce FX 5700 Ultra
User manual, TV extension cords, DVI-to-d-Sub and S-Video-to-RCA adapters, and a software suite shown on the right picture.





Inno3D Tornado GeForce FX 5700 Ultra
User manual, TV extension cords, DVI-to-d-Sub and S-Video-to-RCA adapters, and a software suite shown on the right picture.





Sparkle GeForce FX 5700 Ultra
User manual, software CD, VIVO adapter, TV extension cord, external power supply splitter, CD box (bonus!).



 

Have a look at the packages:
 

AOpen Aeolus GeForce FX 5700 Ultra 
A beautiful box made of thick cardboard with a holographic cover. 


Inno3D Tornado GeForce FX 5700 Ultra
A traditional box with the traditional decoration. The box has a glossy jacket on it.


Sparkle GeForce FX 5700 Ultra
This is a very original approach! Have a look how big the box is (there's a 1,000-rubles note to compare). Inside is a canister, and the package contents is divided into two smaller packages. The card is fixed with holders. A similar approach was used for the Ti 4600 card from this company, though the canister was just wrapped into a plastic sack.









 

Testbed and drivers

Testbed: 

  • Pentium 4 3200 MHz based computer:
    • Intel Pentium 4 3200 MHz CPU;
    • DFI LANParty Pro875 (i875P) mainboard; 
    • 1024 MB DDR SDRAM; 
    • Seagate Barracuda IV 40GB HDD; 
    • Windows XP SP1; DirectX 9.0b;
    • ViewSonic P810 (21") and ViewSonic P817 (21") monitors.
    • NVIDIA drivers v52.16 & 53.03.

VSync off, S3TC off in applications. 

Test results

Before we start examining 2D quality, I should say there are no complete techniques for objective 2D quality estimation because:

  1. 2D quality much depends on certain samples for almost all modern 3D accelerators; 
  2. Besides videocards, 2D quality depends on monitors and cables; 
  3. Moreover, certain monitors might not work properly with certain video cards. 

With the ViewSonic P817 monitor and BNC Bargo cable the cards showed excellent quality at the following resolutions and clock speeds: 

AOpen Aeolus GeForce FX 5700 Ultra  1600x1200x85Hz, 1280x1024x120Hz, 1024x768x120Hz
Inno3D Tornado GeForce FX 5700 Ultra 1600x1200x85Hz, 1280x1024x100Hz, 1024x768x120Hz
Sparkle GeForce FX 5700 Ultra 1600x1200x85Hz, 1280x1024x100Hz, 1024x768x100Hz

Test results: performance

Test application:

  • Return to Castle Wolfenstein (MultiPlayer) (id Software/Activision) - OpenGL, multitexturing, ixbt0703-demo, test settings - maximum, S3TC OFF, the configurations can be downloaded from here

  •  

     
     
     

    Test order: press '~' and type in the console the following: 

    timedemo 1 (press Enter)
    demo [file name] (press Enter)


  • Unreal 2: The Awakening (Infogrames), DirectX 8.1, multitexturing, tested with Bench'emAll! 2.5beta.

  •  

     
     
     

    Serious Sam: The Second Encounter v.1.05 (Croteam/GodGames) - OpenGL, multitexturing, ixbt0703 demo, test settings: quality

    Test order: press '~' and type in the console the following: 

    dem_bProfile=1 (press Enter)
    run demo from the menu


  • Codecreatures Benchmark Pro (Codecult) - Direct3D, Shaders, Hardware T&L, Dot3, cube texturing, high quality

  •  

     
     
     

    Run the test the following way: 

    Codecreatures Benchmark Pro.exe (press Enter) Select a required test or run the tests (from the Official Benchmark) starting from 1600x1200 to 1024x768.


  • Unreal Tournament 2003 v.2225 (Digital Extreme/Epic Games) - Direct3D, Vertex Shaders, Hardware T&L, Dot3, cube texturing, default quality

  •  

     
     
     

    ixbt0703demo test scene.
     

  • RightMark 3D (one of the game scenes) - DirectX 8.1, Dot3, cube texturing, shadow buffers, vertex and pixel shaders (1.1, 1.4).

  •  

     
     
     

    test settings: pixel shaders 1.1, shadow buffers OFF. 
     

  • Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell v.1.2b (UbiSoft) - Direct3D, Vertex/Pixel Shaders 1.1/2.0, Hardware T&L, Very High quality; demo 1_1_2_Tbilisi. AA is not supported.

  •  
  • Call of Duty (MultiPlayer) (Infinity Ward/Activision) - OpenGL, multitexturing, ixbt1203demo, test settings - maximum, S3TC ON 

Performance

Overclocked cards are marked red, clock speeds follow 'o/c' sign.

Conclusion

All the cards look equal, though it's difficult to give a palm of supremacy to the 5700 Ultra based cards as the FX 5900XT have nearly the same price. I just want to say that Sparkle's card is equipped with VIVO and ships in a beautiful box.

Inno3D's card will be cheaper than the rest, but it has a good software suite and boasts of the effective backlight. 

Compared to the earlier tested cards from AOpen, this one has no distinguishing features. This is just a copy of the reference solution in AOpen's box. Even the proprietary tweaker doesn't work with it saying that there's no OpenBIOS technology. The price will clear up the things.

In our 3Digest you can find full comparison characteristics for video cards of this and other classes. 
 
 

Andrey Vorobiev  (anvakams@ixbt.com)
 

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