NVIDIA GeForceFX 5600 Ultra & FX 5200 Ultra: Performance

3D Mark 2003

The newest version of 3D Mark, version 2003, is very controversial (see 3D Mark 2003: The Gamers' Benchmark and 3D Mark 2003: Talking Back to NVIDIA ). We are still undecided as to our stance on these tests.

Add to that the driver confusion at NVIDIA - currently, NVIDIA is implying to the press that the FX cards should be testeed with driver version 42.72 (from 24.02.03). However, the "newer" driver is already available, namely, in version 43.00 from 13.02.

The fact is, with version 42.72, the GeForceFX 5800 Ultra attains about 2000 overall points more than with version 43.00. An assumption that hasn't been proven yet is that version 42.72 works with 16 bit floating point precision, while other versions work with 32 bit and are therefore slower. Microsoft's WHQL policies specify a minimum precision of 24 bit, which ATi's R300/ 350 can calculate.

The interesting question is which driver will accompany the final card to the market. The manufacturer PNY gives us a first answer (http://www.pny.com/support/drivers/drivers_verto.cfm) as to where a first FX 5800 driver can be found, and the answer is v43.00 from 13.02.2003! Put in this light, v42.72 gives the impression of being purely a "benchmark driver." However, we can only get a final answer with the final WHQL driver release, and that does not exist yet.

For this reason, we test the FX 5800/ 5800 Ultra in 3D Mark 2003 with both driver versions. Unfortunately, the driver does not recognize the FX 5600/ 5200. Therefore, we had to do away with testing cards with this driver, unfortunately.

To give you a complete picture, here's the overall score: