Gainward Ultra/1100XT TV-DVI Video Card

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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.

Unreal Tournament 2004

The below screen shot was taken through FRAPS from UT2004 at 1024×768 with NoAA/NoAF.

As you may have noticed, I have expanded the image quality section to include UT2004 and I have also included two screen shots from each game. These additions will give a better sample of the IQ associated with the cards we test.

I’ll start with the Halo screenshots. I did not notice any IQ problems with halo during the timedemo or actual game play. Most of the game is dark, so lighting issues are really not a problem for Halo.

In Call of Duty, we can see a lighting issue when examining the ball of fire in the screen shots. The ball of fire is so bright that it takes away from the actual texture of the flames.

Unreal Tournament 2004 is a new game that really puts some stress on the video cards — similar to Halo. I did not see the lighting issue as a problem in UT2004. However, notice at the bottom of the second screenshot how there seems to be a blue artifact where the weapon blast hit the ground. I didn’t notice this during actual game-play, but if there were more artifacts than just this one, it would take away from the overall gaming experience.

Overclocking

As you may remember, we had some difficulties manually overclocking the Albatron 5900XT because of the internal thermal probe resetting our clock speeds as the temperature rose. However, the overclocking experience for our Gainward 1100XT was much better due to the lack of thermal probe. To overclock the Gainward 1100XT, we used the bundled EXPERTool which we already had installed on the system to run the card in ‘Enhanced Mode’ to achieve the advertised default 3D clock speeds of 450/780 (core/memory).

I started by finding the max of the core with the memory still at 780 MHz. In this situation, I found the max of the core to be 480MHz. Going to 490MHz caused minor artifacts (glitches on the screen) during game play.

**UPDATE** – Also remember that we discovered our sample has 2.5ns memory. Most retail cards will only feature 2.8ns memory.

After resetting the core to 450MHz, I then found the max of the memory by itself. I found the memory able to achieve 825MHz before it would begin locking up the test and resetting the clock speeds to 390/700, which is default for a 5900XT card.

When overclocking the core and memory together, I found the max for the card to be 475/825! This is a great overclock given that 475 is the default core clock speed of a 5950 Ultra! With this overclock I was able to obtain a 3DMark2001 Score of 14,625 (13,439 at default), a Halo result of 41.69 fps (38.5 fps at default), and a UT2004 result of 38.24 fps (38.13 fps at default). So I noticed a significant performance increase in 3dMark2001 and Halo, but not in UT2004.

Conclusion

Justin West’s Thoughts

First off, I will say that the overall experience of using the Gainward Ultra/1100XT TV-DVI “Golden Sample” was a very good one! The single-slot design associated with the 5900XT’s are very convenient for users where space is a concern — like in SFF systems. However, this is a characteristic of all 5900XT-based graphics cards. The one place where I was quickly disappointed was with the bundle — No games and no TV cable.

During testing, I noticed the enhanced clock speeds for this Gainward card (450/780) offered a slight performance boost in about half of our tests. In the other half, the performance was almost identical to the results obtained by 5900XTs which runs at default speeds of 390/700.

As is noticed by our test results, the 5900XT cards definitely belong in the “mid-range” category. The performance numbers were not all that much higher than the numbers obtained by our 9600XT. There were the occasional tests, like FableMark, where the gap between the 5900XT and the 9600XT was larger than average.

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, UT2004, Halo, and Call of Duty) was overall OK. I did point out an artifact in UT2004 and the lighting issue in Call of Duty’s fireball, but overall, I would say the gaming experience was just fine. When comparing the numbers, the Gainward 1100XT and Albatron 5900XT have a slight edge over the 9600XT, but does not blow it away by any means.

Overclocking the Gainward 1100XT was a good experience and one of the best overclocks on NVidia hardware that Legit Reviews has seen on the bench! Since Gainward uses “hand picked 3D graphics processors and carefully qualified memory chips” overclocking this card is great. We were able to successfully use Gainward’s bundled EXPERTool to overclock the 1100XT past the already overclocked advertised defaults of 450/780 to obtain a stable overclock of 475/825. Now every card is different, so the overclock you get with Gainward’s 1100XT may be different than our results.

**UPDATE** – Also remember that we discovered our sample has 2.5ns memory. Most retail cards will only feature 2.8ns memory.

With the release of the GF 6 Series, NVidia’s previous graphics cards will eventually lower in price — which will make the 5900XT that much more affordable. However, the GF 6 cards will have to be readily available before a price drop will happen. I will also point out that the Gainward 1100XT was found to be a little higher in price when compared to other 5900XT solutions, which is probably due to the higher default clock speeds of this card. All in all, I would say that the future of the Gainward Ultra/1100XT TV-DVI “Golden Sample” is very bright for the mid-ranged enthusiast.

Legit Bottom Line

The Gainward Ultra/1100XT TV-DVI “Golden Sample” is a great card that comes with the highest clock speeds associated with a 5900XT solution I have seen to date. If you can survive the slight lighting issues associated with GeForce FX graphics cards, and have an urge to tweak the clock speeds of your video card, this Gainward 5900XT solution should be one you consider!

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