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Gigabyte GV-RX60X128V,
MSI RX600XT-TD128
based on ATI RADEON X600XT and
Gigabyte GV-NX57128D,
MSI PCX5750-TD128,
Leadtek WinFast PX360 TD
based on NVIDIA GeForce PCX5750

July 26, 2004



CONTENTS

  1. Introduction
  2. Video cards' features
  3. Testbed configurations, benchmarks
  4. Test results: Code Creatures DEMO
  5. Test results: TRAOD
  6. Test results: FarCry
  7. Test results: Call Of Duty
  8. Test results: HALO: Combat Evolved
  9. Test results: Half-Life2(beta)
  10. Test results: Splinter Cell
  11. Conclusions

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.



Video Cards



Gigabyte GV-RX60X128V
MSI RX600XT-TD128
Gigabyte GV-NX57128D
MSI PCX5750-TD128
Leadtek WinFast PX360 TD


MSI RX600XT-TD128; Gigabyte GV-RX60X128V
The card has a PCI-E x16 interface, 128 MB DDR SDRAM allocated in 8 chips on the front and the back sides of the PCB.

Hynix memory chips. 2.5ns memory access time, which corresponds to 400 (800) MHz, memory operates at 380 (760) MHz (note, that this frequency is higher than the previously announced 340 MHz). GPU frequency 500 MHz. 128bit memory bus. Pixel pipelines x shader pipelines - 4x1.

MSI PCX5750-TD128; Leadtek WinFast PX360 TD; Gigabyte GV-NX57128D
The card has a PCI-E x16 interface, 128 MB DDR SDRAM allocated in 8 chips on the front and the back sides of the PCB.

Samsung memory chips. 3.6ns memory access time, which corresponds to 275 (550) MHz, memory operates at 250 (500) MHz. GPU frequency 425 MHz. 128bit memory bus. Pixel pipelines x shader pipelines - 4x1.





Comparison with the reference design, front view
MSI RX600XT-TD128 Reference card ATI RADEON 9600 XT
Gigabyte GV-RX60X128V
MSI PCX5750-TD128 Reference card NVIDIA GeForce FX 5700
Gigabyte GV-NX57128D
Leadtek WinFast PX360 TD




Comparison with the reference design, back view
MSI RX600XT-TD128 Reference card ATI RADEON 9600 XT
Gigabyte GV-RX60X128V
MSI PCX5750-TD128 Reference card NVIDIA GeForce FX 5700
Gigabyte GV-NX57128D
Leadtek WinFast PX360 TD




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.

MSI PCX5750-TD128, MSI RX600XT-128VTD

A small copper heatsink with a fan in the center.

Exactly the same cooler unit is also installed on X600XT. The only difference in cooling systems is that PCX5750 ships with a heatsink for HSI, which is naturally not necessary for a video card based on the ATI processor.

Gigabyte GV-RX60X128V

Elementary cooling system: round heatsink with a fan in the center.

Leadtek WinFast PX360 TD

The cooling system is similar to the previous one, the same small cooler unit on GPU and an additional passive heatsink on HSI.



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.

MSI RX600XT-TD128
The box contains a user's guide, a pile (14 items) of CDs with software (see the photo to the right), TV extension cords, DVI-to-d-Sub and SVideo-to-RCA adapters.
MSI PCX5750-TD128
Similar bundle.
Gigabyte GV-NX57128D
The box contains a user's guide, several game CDs, DVI-to-d-Sub and SVideo-to-RCA adapters.
Gigabyte GV-RX60X128V
The box contains a user's guide, a decent number of CDs with software (see the photo to the right), TV extension cords, DVI-to-d-Sub and SVideo-to-RCA adapters.
Leadtek WinFast PX360 TD
The box contains a user's guide, a decent number of CDs with software (see the photo to the right), TV extension cords, DVI-to-d-Sub and SVideo-to-RCA adapters.




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.

MSI RX600XT-TD128

Colorful glossy jacket. Inside the jacket is a white millboard box. The package is designed in a traditional dark style with blazing labels.

MSI PCX5750-TD128

The same box, it differs only in the main image and labels.

Gigabyte GV-RX60X128V

Very good-looking glossy jacket. Inside the jacket is a white millboard box.

Leadtek WinFast PX360 TD

Colorful box made of millboard, everything is placed in appropriate departments in company traditions. The box features another fairy-tale hero.

Installation and Drivers

Testbed configurations:

  • Pentium4 3200 MHz (Prescott) based computer
    • Intel Pentium4 3200 MHz (L2=1024K, LGA775) CPU
    • ABIT AA8 DuraMAX mainboard based on the i925X chipset
    • 1 GB DDR2 SDRAM 266MHz
    • WD Caviar SE WD1600JD 160GB SATA HDD
  • Pentium 4 3200 MHz (Northwood) based computer:
    • Intel Pentium 4 3200 MHz (L2=512K, Socket478) CPU
    • ASUS P4C800 Delux mainboard on the i875P chipset
    • 1024 MB DDR SDRAM
    • WD Caviar SE WD1600JD 160GB SATA HDD
  • Operating system: Windows XP SP1; DirectX 9.0b;
  • Monitors: ViewSonic P810 (21") and Mitsubishi Diamond Pro 2070sb (21").
  • ATI drivers v6.458 (CATALYST 4.7); NVIDIA drivers v61.45.

VSync is disabled.

We have selected the following competitors for X600 XT:

  • Sapphire Atlantis RADEON 9600 XT (500/300 (600) MHz, 128MB DDR)
  • Albatron Gigi GeForce FX 5700 Ultra DDR3 (475/475 (950) MHz, 128MB GDDR3)
  • Leadtek WinFast A360 TD (GeForce FX 5700, 425/250 (500) MHz, 128MB DDR)
  • Sapphire Atlantis RADEON X600 PRO (400/300 (600) MHz, 128MB DDR)

Test results

We used the following test applications:

  • HALO: Combat Evolved (Microsoft) — Direct3D, Vertex/Pixel Shaders 1.1/2.0, Hardware T&L, maximum quality
  • Half-Life2 (Valve/Sierra) — DirectX 9.0, two different demos (ixbt07 and coast). Tested with anisotropic filtering enabled.
  • Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell v.1.2b (UbiSoft) - Direct3D, Vertex/Pixel Shaders 1.1/2.0, Hardware T&L, maximum quality (Very High); demo 1_1_2_Tbilisi. Note that antialiasing is not working in this game.
  • Call of Duty (MultiPlayer) (Infinity Ward/Activision) — OpenGL, multitexturing, ixbt0104demo, test settings — very high, S3TC ON
  • Tomb Raider: Angel of Darkness v.49 (Core Design/Eldos Software) - DirectX 9.0, Paris5_4 demo, the test settings can be downloaded from here.
  • Far Cry v.1.1 (Crytek/UbiSoft), DirectX 9.0, multitexturing, demo01 (the game is started with the key -DEVMODE), the test settings - Very High.
  • Code Creatures Benchmark Pro (CodeCult) — game test that demonstrates the video card performance in DirectX 8.1, Shaders, HW T&L.

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.

Code Creatures









TR:AoD, Paris5_4 DEMO









FarCry, demo01









Call of Duty, ixbt04









HALO: Combat Evolved









Half-Life2 (beta): ixbt07 demo







Splinter Cell









Conclusions

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 - 16001200 at 85Hz, MSI and Gigabyte cards are approximately on the same level (16001200, 75-80Hz, 12801024, 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 (anvakams@ixbt.com)


July 21, 2004

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