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NVIDIA Puts Its (New) Cards on the Table

A New Dish For The Mainstream: GeForce FX 5700 Ultra, Continued

Like the FX 5600 before it, the 5700 only has half as many pipelines as the top model. That means the chip has four pipes (Color + Z) running at 475 MHz. At 365Vertices/s, the vertex performance is on the same level as that of the bigger models. On paper, that makes the 5700 Ultra look like a real performer. In practice, however, the comparatively narrow 128Bit bus prevents the card from achieving its full potential, especially when FSAA and anisotropic filtering are involved.

NVIDIA has chosen to use DDR2 modules running at 450 MHz for the FX 5700 Ultra cards. Since the memory bus is only 128Bits wide, that means the memory bandwidth is only slightly higher than that of the FX 5600 Ultra (14.4 GB/s vs. 12.8 GB/s). Probably, the standard or non-ultra versions will use DDR1 modules.

Compared to ATi's Radeon 9600 XT, the FX 5700 Ultra is visibly larger and heavier (357 grams compared to 197 grams). It also requires an extra power connector, which isn't necessarily a handicap. The cooling solution also extends to the memory chips. It is quiet and inconspicuous in operation.