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PCI Express Graphics Arrive - nVidia PCX hits the market

By: Cameron Johnson | Editorials in Video Cards | Posted: Jul 25, 2004 4:00 am



For this article, we are looking more at the features of the GPU's rather than that of the cards themselves and their manufacturer specific differences.


- The Cards



The two cards are quite difference in appearance but layout-wise they are pretty well similar. Starting with the PCX5900 from Gigabyte, the card is big. In fact, it is as long as our GeForce 5950 reference card, while not as high, thankfully, it does require a full sized slot, so any DIMM slot tabs had better be out of the way of this monster. Normally we see the placement of the GPU mid board, however, due to the location of the HSI and the power circuitry, the GPU has been relocated a little to the right side. The memory modules are behind and below the GPU. Running at 400MHz (the default for all PCX5900) they require no heatsinks and are recommended to be BGA modules to reduce the amount of heat generated. A single and rather small heatsink is called for on the GPU itself, as it only runs at 350MHz.


The PCX5750 from Albatron is somewhat smaller in size. In fact, it is as small as a Radeon 9600XT or 9550. The 5750 requires less PCB space to dissipate heat and far less for the power circuitry (as the PCI Express bus allows the 5750 to run without an additional power connector). Like the PCX5900, the GPU of the 5750 is located a little toward the right hand side, and the memory also surrounds it, however, the modules on the 5750 are TSOP and cover both the front and back of the card.


- GPU's, AGP lives



Underneath the heatsinks, we get to the very heart of the matter - the GPU's. nVidia has taken a rather different approach thus far in producing PCI Express compatible graphics cards. nVidia, unlike ATI, have elected to use their current AGP GPU's with a bridge device which allows current GPU's to be selected for PCI Express use.


The PCX5900 uses the tried and true GeForce FX 5900XT core. However, unlike most XT's running at 400MHz, this one only pushes 350MHz. This was rather strange as Gigabyte's own 5900XT for the AGP runs at 400MHz. Since they are the same core, we would have expected to at least see 400MHz default. While this is rather dim for default, overclockers should be happy, as 5900XT's have been known to pass 5900 Ultra specs, allowing for a hefty overclock and a good injection of free performance.


The PCX5750 actually uses the 5700 core. There are no enhancements added, so we aren't sure why it has the 50 added to its name. The core speed runs at 425MHz which is almost 100MHz faster than the PCX5900, but with only the 5700 core and less pipes to work with, it will be hard pressed (even at overclocked speeds) for the PCX5750 to outpace the PCX5900.


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