We continue to review new videocards appearing in the market with a PCI-Express (PCX) interface. As it was already clear from press releases, nothing new in chip features is to be expected. It concerns both GeForce FX 5700 (in the new reincarnation - PCX5750) and RADEON 9600XT (which has been named X600XT in its PCX version).
That's why there is little sense in retelling the chip architecture, readers will easily guess it having studied our reviews in the 3D-Video section of the iXBT.com web site.
I'll just remind you that all the three products under review have four pixel pipelines, X600XT - 2, and PCX5750 - 3 vertex shader pipelines. Frequencies will be provided below in cards' descriptions.
The characteristics themselves make it clear that these cards are of the middle level in the price range within 110-160 USD. Of course even this range is rather wide, and thus it would be wrong to compare PCX5750 to X600XT, because by the price criterion the former competes with X600PRO (idem X600XT, but with frequencies reduced to 400/300 (600) MHz). X600XT does not have a competitor from NVIDIA yet, perhaps PCX5900 will go down in price to its level, so for now we shall compare it with GeForce FX 5700 Ultra. Of course it's quite reasonable to compare PCX5750 with its AGP-version - GeForce FX 5700.
I will not dilate if it pays to upgrade to PCX or not. It's obvious that for now there is no reason in this upgrade because of its high price, and you will have to replace almost all innards of your PC: mobo, memory, CPU, video card. But don't rush it, the market is flexible and changeable. God only knows what will happen in autumn. It's quite possible that there will appear very attractive PCX features, and by the New Year's Eve this sector will boom. We'll wait and see.
And for now, while our readers get accustomed to the novelties, we would like to report their pros and cons.
So, our lab got hold of three video cards: on PCX5750 from Gigabyte, MSI and Leadtek, and X600XT also from Gigabyte and MSI. I suppose all our readers know well the three famous brands and there is no point in writing about their history. Quality and stability, interesting designs, excellent package content: these features usually pertain to devices from these companies. Note an interesting fact, it's the first MSI video card based on the ATI processor turned out in our lab.
Design of all PCX5750 cards is obviously styled after FX5700, the only difference is the HSI bridge between the chip and PCX (the card has become a little higher, GPU is also raised with memory chips to make room for the bridge chip in the bottom (on the right photo).
Interestingly, a new sign appeared in the GPU marking (after "5700"). It probably denotes a CPU for PCX-solutions, though it does not essentially differ from a common 5700.
Everything is far simpler with X600XT, because the CPU itself already contains a PCX interface and there is no need in a bridge.
In the previous review I have already proved that all those insinuations about AGP-to-PCX bridges within X600 are nothing but lies.
Let's have a look at the cooling systems, though they have nothing remarkable about them.
Pay attention to the dynamic overclocking technology (DOT) advertised by MSI.
Frankly speaking, this thing is just implemented in the latest NVIDIA drivers and then decorated by MSI.
This feature is available in the special utility Turbo3D from MSI, which uses Flash-technology and operates in a browser.
It goes without saying that Leadtek retained its WinFox II - powerful utility for fine-tuning the video card.
Gigabyte bundles its video cards with the overclocker program VTuner:
By the way, Gigabyte GV-RX60X128V supports VIVO implemented via RAGE Theater.
Let's see what's inside the packages.
It should be noted that the MSI bundle is to the heart's content. The company bundles a complete software set even to middle-solutions.
Have a look at the boxes.
Installation and Drivers
VSync is disabled.
We have selected the following competitors for X600 XT:
We used the following test applications:
If you want to get the demo-benchmarks, which we use, contact me at my e-mail.
Pay attention that the diagrams are divided into segments: green colors denote a high price sector (X600 XT), lilac colors - middle end sector (PCX5750). There is no point in commenting on individual tests, the tables include percentage, so it's all clear.
TR:AoD, Paris5_4 DEMO
Call of Duty, ixbt04
HALO: Combat Evolved
Half-Life2 (beta): ixbt07 demo
Thus, we can see that PCX5750 loses to its elder brother FX5700 almost in all tests. I will not jump at conclusions and blame HSI, the reason may lie in driver glitches (including system drivers, not only video). But still, the results are less than comforting for such video cards. In all the latest games with shaders it is again heavily outscored by X600 PRO. So the pricing policy must reflect it all.
What concerns MSI RX600XT-TD128 and Gigabyte GV-RX60X128V, I have already written that it's too early to draw a final conclusion. If put aside some deviations from 9600XT (which can be later disavowed or smoothed with drivers), it's just a 9600XT with a new interface. So, it's all up to the price... And we shouldn't forget about the VIVO support in the Gigabyte video card, it's quite an important feature for the middle end.
However! I'll emphasize the bundles once again. Especially the one from MSI! It's a miracle, middle end cards bundled with so many latest games, plus a variety of third-party software. MSI is evidently beyond comparison in this respect! Leadtek also provided a good bundle and included the latest games into the package despite the middle end (even approaching the low end) sector.
And of course we should note the excellent quality of the cards. A video card from Leadtek demonstrated phenomenal for its level 2D quality - 1600õ1200 at 85Hz, MSI and Gigabyte cards are approximately on the same level (1600õ1200, 75-80Hz, 1280õ1024, 120 Hz). I repeat that 2D quality VARIES in different specimens of the card, and it cannot be the same for all cards of the brand, series, lot, etc.
In our 3DiGest you can find more detailed comparisons of various video cards.
According to the test results MSI RX600XT-TD128 and MSI PCX5750-TD128 merit the Excellent Package award (July).
Andrey Vorobiev (firstname.lastname@example.org)
July 21, 2004
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