For video card manufacturers, the drums of technology beat forever. Today's hot new release is tomorrow's eBay listing, because the hardcore enthusiasts are always looking for the next "big thing". It's a hard to stay on top of the list for very long, so we were interested in the recent arrival of two new GeForce FX 5900XT's in our labs. Originally, our plans were to pit these two together XTs, mano a mano, to see which of the two cards would come out on top. After our initial peek into the boxes and specs for each card, however, we decided to give each card its own day in the sun.
Our first article in this series will cover the Prolink Pixelview GeForce FX 5900XT Golden Limited. That's definitely a mouthful, but it attempts to explain what makes this card different from the rest. Prolink has already had a 5900XT on the market for sometime, albeit a bit on the plain vanilla side. With the "Golden Limited" version, you not only get the vanilla ice cream, but the for fudge and sprinkles as well. Whereas their original model was a plain looking card using a standard heatsink and fan, the Golden Limited is completely rethought, using an all new cooling method, a digital readout screen, and a mix of blue LEDs here and there. On the flip side, nothing in the architecture has changed, so we'll have to see if these upgrades alone merit your attention.
Pixelview GeForceFX 5900XT Golden Limited
As you may have noticed, nothing has really changed in the specifications listed above. What we're looking at here is essentially the same 5900XT that has more or less dominated the mid-range video card market for the last few months. Prolink did have a few tricks up their sleeve, however. Prolink provides a readout device that they call the Plasma Display Fan II (PDF II). It gives real-time feedback on the current temperature of the GPU, as well as fan speed. Although it comes mounted on the heatsink bracket, the display unit can be quickly detached and installed in the front of a case using a 5 1/4" bracket, which is also included. Extra cables are bundled with the PDF II to span the distance from the card to the front of the chassis.
Speaking of cables, we also found a full assortment to choose from, including an RCA cable, an S-Video to RCA cable, a standard S-Video cable, and lastly a DVI-to-VGA adapter. Unfortunately, we didn't find the same attention to detail paid on the media side. The only discs we found in the package were a driver CD with Prolink's proprietary Patrolman software, and a licensed copy of PowerDVD 3.0. There's nothing wrong with including a driver CD of course, but we question why Prolink included such a dated version of PowerDVD with a brand new video card like this one. PowerDVD is already up to version 5.0. Perhaps this was a cost consideration, but including a more up to date version of the software would definitely add more value to the bundle.