GeForceFX for the Masses: The GeForceFX 5600 and 5200 Series


Just a few hours after ATi, NVIDIA is now introducing its new mainstream series, as well. The GeForce4 MX (NV7), which was, up til now, the entry-level product with DirectX 7 technology, is now being replaced by the GeForceFX 5200 (NV34) series. The chip supports DirectX 9. Initially, two products with different clock speeds are planned: the FX 5200 and FX 5200 Ultra.

In the mid-market segment, the GeForceFX 5600 (NV31) series will take the place of the GeForce4 Ti4200 cards. NV31 is also a DirectX 9 chip.

GeForceFX 5600 (NV31)

The NV31 chip is based on the already launched NV30 (FX5800, 125 million transistors). However, this chip (0.13 micron process, 45 million transistors) and the memory both run with a slower clock. Instead of DDR2 memory, NVIDIA uses the usual DDR memory. They skimped on the pixel pipelines as well - this chip only has four instead of eight. Because NVIDIA does not use the traditional eight-pipe architecture with its NV3x design, the talk is of a 4x2 design with the NV30 (four pipes with two texture units each) and a 2x2 design with the NV31.

GeForceFX 5600 Ultra: the cooling solution on the reference card has a pleasant noise level. The speed is adjusted automatically.

The cards in the 5600 series all support features of the big 5800 series. This is true for the extended DirectX 9 capabilities as well as all the optimizations covered by the term "IntelliSample", such as color compression for example. For more on this, refer to our previous article . The chip has an integrated TV-out encoder and two 400 MHz RAMDACs.

An overview of the models:

  • GeForceFX 5600 Ultra - (350/350 MHz); Estimated price: $199.
  • GeForceFX 5600 - (?/?); Estimated price: $179.

ATI's direct rivals of the FX 5600 series are the Radeon 9500 and 9500 PRO, which are soon to be replaced by the Radeon 9600 and 9600 PRO. Read more about them here .