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NVIDIA GeForceFX 5900 Ultra: The Way FX is Meant to be Played!!

Test Setup

We tested NVIDIA's GeForceFX 5800 Ultra and 5900 Ultra with the new Detonator FX driver in the most recent version available to us, v44.03. All results from ATi's Radeon 9700 PRO and 9800 PRO (128) were obtained using Catalyst 3.2.

Why, do you ask, aren't we testing the ATi cards with the newest driver as well? Let me tell you. You see, originally, the launch of the Radeon 9800 PRO 256 MB and the new Catalyst 3.4 were slated for Wednesday, May 14. Obviously, working from this assumption it would have been impossible for us to use the new Catalyst 3.4 without breaking the NDA. Last Friday, however, ATi suddenly rescheduled the launch for Monday, May 12, so it would coincide with the NV35 launch, obviously hoping to steal some of NVIDIA's thunder. At that point, though, I had already concluded my testing. Since time was already at a premium with the upcoming NV35 launch and the imminent E3, I found myself unable to rerun all benchmarks with the new ATi drivers. So again, all I can say at this point is that we promise to follow up this article with a look at the Radeon cards using the new Catalyst 3.4.

In the case of the Radeon 9800 PRO 256 MB, we ran the most important benchmarks with both drivers. However, I ran out of time and couldn't repeat the very time-consuming tests with Serious Sam: The Second Encounter.

Hardware System 1
Test SystemAMD Athlon XP 2700+ASUS A7N8X Deluxe (nForce 2)
Memory2 x 256 MB, PC 333 (2/2/2/5)
Hardware System 2
Test SystemIntel Pentium 4 3.06 GHzIntel I850E Desktop Motherboard
Memory2 x 256 MB, PC 1066 RAMBUS
Drivers & Software
Graphics DriverNVIDIA v43.00NVIDIA Detonator FX v44.03ATI Catalyst v3.2 (6.14.01.6307)ATI Catalyst v3.4 (6.14.10.6343)
DirectX Version on System9
OSWindows XP Professional SP1
Benchmarks & Settings
Doom IIIExclusive Preview version
UT 2003 FullRetail Version v2166
Splinter CellUS Retail - v1.2
Serious Sam 2Retail Version v1.07(Demo: Valley of the Jaguar)
3D Mark 2001 SEPro Version, Build 330
3D Mark 2003Pro Version
CodecreaturesPRO Benchmark v1.0.0
Driver Configurations
ATi CardsD3D: Default Settings, V-Sync offOpenGL: Default Settings, Texture Preference High, V-Sync off
NVIDIA CardsD3D: Default Settings, V-Sync offOpenGL: Default Settings, V-Sync off

All tests using FSAA and anisotropic filtering were run with all available quality enhancements, with the exception of NVIDIA's "texture sharpening."