Skip to main content

NVIDIA GeForceFX: Brute Force Attack Against the King

The Card

With the GeForceFX, the look of graphics cards has been re-defined. This reference card is a real monster! Through its large cooler, the card weighs in at 610 grams/1.32 lbs - that's about three times the weight of a GeForce4 Ti4800 or a Radeon 9700 PRO (approx. 200 grams/0.49 lbs). But more about the cooler later.

The GeForceFX (NV30) is being introduced in two formats. Apart from the card that we look at in this review, the GeForceFX 5800 Ultra (500 MHz core, 1000 MHz DDR-II), there will also be a "normal" FX 5800 that will run at slower clock speeds (400 MHz core, 800 MHz DDR-II). Some time later, NVIDIA will launch the N31 and NV34 variants, the details of which are not yet known.

The chip runs on an extravagant 12-layer board. Rumors have been going around that NVIDIA will only have complete cards available to card manufacturers and not, as is typical, the individual components - these rumors are incorrect. Although NVIDIA will be delivering a few complete cards in the beginning, so that the manufacturers can quickly introduce cards to the market, the usual kits (chips, memory, cooler) will also be made available. The manufacturers are also free to choose the cooler, as long as it meets the cooling requirements set down by NVIDIA.

ATI Radeon 9700 PRONVIDIA GeForce4 Ti4800NVIDIA GeForceFX 5800NVIDIA GeForceFX 5800 Ultra
Chip Technology256 bit256 bit256 bit256 bit
Process0.15 Micron0.15 Micron0.13 Micron0.13 Micron
Transistors~107 Million63 Million125 Million125 Million
Memory Bus256 bit DDR128 bit DDR128 bit DDR2128 bit DDR2
Memory Bandwidth19.8 GB/s10.4 GB/s12.8 GB/s16 GB/s
Pixel Fillrate2.6 Gigapixel/s1.24 Gigapixel/s~3.2 Gigapixel/s~4 Gigapixel/s
Anti Aliased Fillrate15.6 Billion AA Samples/s4.8 Billion AA Samples/s~12.8 Billion AA Samples/s~16 Billion AA Samples/s
Max FSAA Mode6x4x8x8x
Triangle Transform Rate325 M Triangles/s69 M Triangles/s280 M Triangles/s350 M Triangles/s
AGP Bus1x/2x/4x/8x1x/2x/4x/8x1x/2x/4x/8x1x/2x/4x/8x
Memory128/256 MB128 MB128/256 MB128/256 MB
GPU Clock325 MHz300 MHz~400 MHz~500 MHz
Memory Clock310 MHz (620 DDR)325 MHz (650 DDR)400 MHz (800 DDR2)500 MHz (1000 DDR2)
MemoryBGA 2.9 nsBGA 2.8ns?BGA 2.0ns
Vertex Shader42FP ArrayFP Array
Pixel Pipelines8488
Texture Units Per Pipe1211
Textures per Texture Unit841616
Vertex S. Version21.12.0+2.0+
Pixel S. Version21.32.0+2.0+
DirectX Generation989.0 (+)9.0 (+)
FSAA ModiMultiSamplingMultiSamplingMultiSamplingMultiSampling
Memory OptmizationsHyper Z IIILMA IILMA II OptimizedColor CompressionLMA II OptimizedColor Compression
Display Outputs2222
Chip Internal Ramdacs2 x 450 MHz2 x 350 MHz2 x 400 MHz2 x 400 MHz
Chip External Ramdacs----
Bits per Color Channel1081010
SpecialTV Encoder On-Chip; FullStreamAdaptive Filtering-TV Encoder On-ChipExtended ProgammabilityAdaptive FilteringTV Encoder On-ChipExtended ProgammabilityAdaptive Filtering
Estimated Price$399~ $200-300Not specified$399