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Albatron FX5900XTV - nVidia's 5900 XT Value Graphics Monster

Albatron's FX5900XTV AGP8x graphics card is on the test bench today. It is based on nVidia's GeForce FX 5900 XT GPU. It offers high-end performance (5900 Ultra) at the price of a mainstream part (5700 Ultra).
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Published Sun, Mar 21 2004 11:00 PM CST   |   Updated Tue, Apr 7 2020 12:26 PM CDT
Rating: 90%Manufacturer: Albatron

Albatron FX5900XTV - Introduction

IntroductionThe battle for 3D supremacy has become something of a hot issue. There are two sides to the preverbal coin. On one side we have ATI with its R3xx core design. In our opinion it is designed like AMD Athlon CPU's - Speed isn't the issue but how much it can push along its short, fat pipeline. While this shorter pipeline might be seen as a bad thing, remember, AMD Athlon XP managed to kick some Intel Pentium 4 behind from time to time. On the other side of the coin we have nVidia with its NV3x cores. These are designed like the Pentium 4 with longer pipelines and faster core speeds. While this may also seem to be a winner, it is still matched by its ATI competition.While the top of the line battle has been in the spotlight for some time, it is the more value orientated market that is starting to heat up. While there are the individuals out there who will put out serious dollars for a graphics card, you will find more people going for cheaper mid-range cards and this is where several new value cores have made it into the market.The 5700 series core was designed to be the ultimate mid-range for nVidia, but with performance not reaching the barriers that nVidia had hoped, a new strategy had to be formed.With little use now for the 5900 series, nVidia had an idea - lower the core clock to allow for a smaller, quieter cooling solution and reduce the memory size. This new version has been named the GeForce FX 5900 XT. Today we check out the new GPU in the form of the FX5900XTV graphics card from Albatron.

Albatron FX5900XTV - Features - The Package

Features of the FX5900XTV- The Package
Before we jump into the card itself, let's take a quick look at what you get for your money. Designed as a mainstream product, Albatron has packed in some rather interesting additions.- SoftwareOn the software side, you have more than enough to get you started. First off you get your standard driver disk. As you would expect, the drivers are not the latest, but support your card straight off the bat. The best bet it to download the latest Forceware drivers, as they have been optimised for maximum performance. For the overclocking side, Albatron includes the "Coolbits" registry tweak. Why build your own program that does the exact same as what nVidia designed many moons ago? Cyberlink PowerDVD XP has been included for all the DVD lovers out there. Simply install and you can watch your own DVD's on your PC providing you have a DVD-ROM, of course. Along with this you get a full working copy of Cyberlink PowerDirector Pro 2.5 for capturing video.Game wise you get two CD's one with Duke Nukem Manhattan Project and one "Game Bundle" CD. This CD contains five demo games including AOW2, Beam Breakers, Max Payne, Rally Trophy and Zax. In all not the most fulfilling game bundle but it will do to start most of us off.- HardwareOn the hardware extras, the bundle is pretty standard. A 4-in-1 splitter unit is used for S-Video and RCA Video in and out along with a RCA and S-Video cable.

Albatron FX5900XTV - Features - The Card

Features of the FX5900XTV Continued- The CardThe card itself is remarkably small for a GeForce FX 5900 part. In fact, it measures the exact same as a lot of 5700 cards which is quite good as it reduces the size of the PCB and reduces the costs to the consumer.
The layout is somewhat different from other 5900 series cards. For one, no memory chips are placed on the back of the card. That's right; the whole 128MB of onboard memory is located on the front of the card. This allows for a reduced cost to the consumer once again as there are less chips and trace wire run outs for the second bank of memory. Cooling is also more effective as the passive cooling on the RAM can receive air flow from the GPU heatsink and fan.- The GPUWithout any surprise, the GPU is identical to the FX 5900 and 5900 Ultra since there are only clock differences between each.
When we first heard of the XT series of nVidia cards, we were thinking of a fully cut down version, we were wrong. nVidia has kept all the additional features of the NV35 series including 256-bit memory, 4x2 engine as well as the 256-bit GPU power. The clock rate of the XT has been lowered to 400MHz (390MHz for some other brands, depending on the maker). This is the only difference; HTC and the CinFX 2.0 engine are all present, making this a cheap 5900 for what you get.- Memory and TV functionsFor the memory, Albatron has used 128MB of Samsung 2.8ns DDR SDRAM. This memory is passively cooled with ramsinks. As mentioned before, there are no modules on the back of the card to allow for reduced costs and improved cooling.Albatron has decked out the FX5900XTV with VIVO functions. For Encoding for TV out the Silicon Image PHY is used in conjunction with the FX 5900's built in TV encoders. For decoding for TV in function the Phillips SA7114M media processor is used. This allows for streaming media input from AV and S-Video sources which is good for capturing analogue video.OverclockingOverclocking couldn't be any better.Since the FX5900XTV is an underclocked 5900 Ultra series GPU, it stands to reason that 5900 Ultra speeds are possible - this is a yes and no affair. Yes, in that you can hit them, but you will need to have a better cooling solution on the GPU.We managed with our stock cooling to push the memory to just on 950MHz DDR and the GPU to 436MHz which was a very good overclock in our opinion.

Albatron FX5900XTV - Benchmarks - Test System Setup and FutureMark

Test System SetupProcessor: Intel Pentium 4 3.2GHz Northwood (800MHz FSB with HT enabled) (Supplied by Spectrum Communications)Memory: 2x 256MB OCZ DDR-533 (Supplied by OCZ)Hard Disk: Western Digital WD80 7200RPM (Supplied by Techbuy)Motherboard: ABIT IC7 MAX3 (Supplied by ABIT)Operating System: Microsoft Windows XP Professional SP1Drivers: Forceware 56.643DMark033DMark03 is the latest instalment in the popular 3DMark series. By combining DirectX 9 support with completely new graphics (including the GeForce FX and ATI Radeon 9800), it continues to provide benchmark results that empower you to make informed hardware assessments.Please Note: Due to recent events with the 3DMark03 series, we are adding results purely for those who are still in favor of 3DMark03. These results should not be taken too seriously and are only added for interest sakes.
Here we can see Albatron's 5900XT beating out the 5700 and just about on target with the 5900 Ultra.PCMark04PCMark04 is a new multipurpose benchmark, suited for benchmarking all kinds of PCs, from laptops to workstations, as well as across multiple Windows operating systems. This easy-to-use benchmark makes professional strength benchmarking software available even to novice users. PCMark04 consists of a series of tests that represent common tasks in home and office programs.
Again the Albatron 5900XT takes out the 5700.

Albatron FX5900XTV - Benchmarks - Aquamark3

Aquamark3Aquamark3 is the latest instalment of the Aquamark benchmark suite. This new benchmark is much more powerful and demands much more from both the system and the graphics card. If there is any weakness in the system or 3D components, Aquamark3 will find them.
As expected the 5900XT takes over the 5700.

Albatron FX5900XTV - Benchmarks - X2 Rolling Demo

X2 Rolling DemoX2 Rolling Demo is the newest benchmark we have started to use here on TweakTown. X2 makes heavy use of Stencil Shaders and is very memory bandwidth hungry which will help determine if the GPU and memory systems have any weaknesses.
Here the 5900XT shows its real power over the 5700 series.

Albatron FX5900XTV - Benchmarks - Halo PC

Halo PC - Combat EvolvedHalo PC is new to us at TweakTown. Though we have used it in a couple of benchmarks in the past, it has now found a permanent place in our Benchmark Suite. This is simply due to its support for the latest DirectX 9 API's to put some more stress on the system to determine the best of the best.
Halo also gets the 5900XT's funk on.

Albatron FX5900XTV - Benchmarks - Jedi Knight II

Jedi Knight IIJedi Knight II, Jedi Outcast is an OpenGL game that many have been waiting for. It has much improved graphics over its predecessor. It fully supports advanced shaders, as well as very high texture resolutions and effects. There is one demo included in the multi-player section that is good for benchmarking use.
Jedi Knight II again gives the 5900XT the win.

Albatron FX5900XTV - Benchmarks - Unreal Tournament 2003

Unreal Tournament 2003Unreal Tournament 2003 continues the success that Unreal Tournament generated as an online game and benchmark. UT2003 pulls all of its weight on to the 3D and Memory subsystems, pushing graphics reality to the maximum is its game, and you need some serious power to gain playable scores with this game.
Finally the 5900XT is a clear winner over the 5700.

Albatron FX5900XTV - Benchmarks - High Quality AA and AF

High Quality AA and AFAll tests were run with 4 times FSAA and 8 times Antistrophic Filtering enabled with the screen resolution set to 1024 X 768.When running these aggressive detail settings in 1600 x 1200, games really do become unplayable and if people are after image quality they will have to drop the resolution back down to reach playable levels. 1024x768 was chosen as it is still the preferred playable resolution with these settings enabled.
Here we can see the higher quality settings agree even more with the 5900XT then the 5700.

Albatron FX5900XTV - Conclusion

ConclusionAlbatron is by far no longer a new comer to the market. We have seen some very impressive beginner products, as well as some excellent late model motherboards. Today they have done it once again with a great mid range value graphics card.nVidia's GeForce FX 5900XT GPU is by far one of the most interesting cores I have seen so far. Not because it's new, but because it improves on and reduces the price of a popular product already in the market, the 5900 Ultra.On the overclocking side of things what more can be said than "masterpiece". Being an underclocked 5900 Ultra GPU's, and with the right cooling, we have a 5900 Ultra at a 5700 price tag which we think makes it a must have GPU.Overall Albatron have done a fantastic job with putting nVidia's 5900XT onto a graphics card which just about everyone after a mainstream graphics card can afford.- ProsFastBrilliant valueQuiet CoolingFantastic OverclockingVIVO- ConsSmall games bundleRating - 9 out of 10 and TweakTown's "MUST HAVE" Best Value and Overclocking Awards

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