Albatron FX5900 XTV

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Image Quality:

Halo

The below screen shot was taken through FRAPS from Halo at 1024×768 with NoAA/NoAF.

Call of Duty

The below screen shot was taken through FRAPS from Call of Duty at 1024×768 with 2xAA/8xAF.

As mentioned earlier, we did not notice any big problems with image quality except in 3dMark2001. In our screen shots above, you may notice that the explosion in the Call of Duty Stalingrad Intro is so bright, you start loosing the texture of the ball of fire.

Overclocking

Our overclocking experience with this card was a very confusing one. We used the Coolbits registry tweak, as well as RivaTuner and Powerstrip, but we got some very odd behavior with the performance results and the overclocking speeds. The strange behavior with Coolbits was the fact that we were able to get the core of the card up to 504 MHz… This is up from the default 390 MHz! No other reviews on the net were close to this. Another strange surprise that I got was that the driver “Test Settings” actually failed at this level, and refused the card to overclock any higher. We had this behavior on the memory as well, but we could only get it up to 733 MHz before the driver test would fail.

Now the next issue is with performance. At these strange overclocking levels, the performance numbers did not really move… in fact, some scores decreased! When overclocking both the core and the memory, the driver would allow me to run the card at 504/733. This allowed us to get a score of 14609 on 3dMark2001SE (13950 default), 82.51FPS on UT2003 (82.58 default), and 35.04FPS on Halo (37.5 default). These results do not yield consistent results for us.

So this is where I make a reader challenge! I challenge our readers to find out what is causing this. You can see our test rig setup earlier in the review. If you have any reasoning as to why we are getting these results, please post them in this forum post! Please post any other comments or questions in that post, as well. Thanks for your help!

Conclusion

Justin West’s Thoughts

The Albatron FX5900 XTV comes with a nice little package: everything you need to use the card to its fullest. However, the package and Albatron’s typical heatsink are the only things that are unique to this card when compared to the reference design from nVidia.

When we tested this card, the synthetic tests show that the Albatron FX5900 XTV has a small performance lead over the ATI 9600XT. This shows us that the FX5900XT definitely is in the “mid-range” category for a graphics solution. I must also remind you that the 9600XT outperformed the 5900XT with regards to PixelShader tests. The 5900XT did better at Texture tests. Lastly, the nature test in 3dMark2001 had a problem with rendering the sunlight on the 5900XT — it was very bright. This solidifies that there is a problem with GeForce FX hardware rendering lighting in 3D applications.

In our gaming tests, we did not really notice a big problem with light rendering. The image quality and performance of the 4 games in our test suite (UT2003, RTCW, Halo, and Call of Duty) was just fine. When comparing the numbers, the FX5900XT has a slight edge over the 9600XT, but does not blow it away by any means.

The overclocking on this card was very odd. In my opinion, we had an issue with Coolbits and the driver allowing us to overclock the card to its true max. We have a dedicated forum post for this issue and are looking for feedback.

Finally, let’s talk about the future… or the present, rather. Yesterday, nVidia announced the beginning of the GeForce 6 Series. This will only mean good things for the FX5900XT cards. I would say that the FX5900XT performs a little better than the 9600XT (assuming you can get past little lighting differences). Currently, the price tag of the FX5900XT is also a little higher than the 9600XT. Once the 6800 Ultra hits the street, I would expect the 5900 series cards to drop in price. This should put the 5900XT at or below the cost of the 9600XT. Now when the R420 is released by ATI, you should expect 9600 prices to drop as well, so you will have to re-evaluate the price-performance at that time.

Legit Bottom Line

The Albatron FX5900 XTV is a very worthy card and should be considered if you are looking for a gaming graphics solution with an upper-to-mid-range price point. As with most FX5900XT’s, the package is the determining factor for which brand you will go with, and Albatron knows this. They have put together a package that anyone looking for a VIVO solution should consider.

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