Aopen Aelous FX5600S

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The AOpen Aeolus FX5600S
AOpen Enters the Mainstream with Some Punch

By - Tom Laverriere
December 3, 2003

AOpen GeForce FX5600 Driver Control Panels
NVIDIA Detonator 52.13 Drivers

When DirectX 9 games originally hit the market, the performance of NVIDIA hardware was less than acceptable.  In fact it was downright frightening to think NVIDIA didn't have an answer.  Not only were their cards slower compared to its competitor ATi, but image quality left a lot to be desired as well.  Since then, NVIDIA promised fixes in its 5X.XX Forceware driver series and they have delivered.  To go along with the AOpen Aeolus graphics card we have NVIDIA's 52.13 Detonator drivers.  This driver set is quite robust, allowing the user to tweak just about everything any power user could ask for.

Adapter Info
 Color
 Refresh Rates
  Displays

 

The Adapter tab identifies the card and gives some low-level detail on the BIOS revision and other features of the card.  The Color tab allows the user to adjust many settings including Gamma, Contrast, Brightness, and Image Sharpening.  The best part of this driver series is the ability to save your profile when you are done tweaking.  This makes it very easy to toggle between settings when in gaming environments or desktop environments.  The Displays tab allows the user to change the desktop settings such as resolution and refresh rates.  Finally the Refresh Rates tab allows the user to set specific refresh rates at certain resolutions.  This is a nice feature to have, since most users out there play their games at different resolutions than their desktop setting but would still like to keep a high refresh rate with each resolution setting.

3D

Direct3D

OpenGL

The more exciting screens are shown here above.  The 3D settings of this card are located on the tab labeled "GeForce FX 5600".  This is where Antialiasing and Anisotropic Filtering are set for 3D environments.  The default settings of the card have Antialiasing and Anisotropic Filtering controlled by the application.  Most serious gamers will find this unacceptable and will want to bump up both settings here to get rid of the jaggies and sharpen textures when playing games.  There is also a separate screen for Direct3D and OpenGL settings.  These tabs allow the specific settings of each mode to be adjusted to your liking.  All in all, we have to say that NVIDIA delivers a robust driver set.  The big test of any driver set, however, is image quality.  Let's take a look at some in game screenshots from Halo and Call of Duty.

 

In-Game Screenshots
Much Improved Picture Quality from the Latest Detonators

The first two screens we have for you are from Halo and compare the AOpen Aeolus FX 5600S with an ATi Radeon 9600 XT.  The best way to compare these screenshots is to have both of them open and then quickly toggle back and forth between the two.  The differences are obvious of course, but the final decision ultimately lies with you.  While we have always liked ATi's image quality a little better here at HH but comes down to personal preference.  The good news is that both cards have excellent image quality and it's nice to see that NVIDIA has kept up their end of the bargain, with their latest drivers keeping the IQ competition neck and neck.

 

Halo Screenshots 1280x1024 - 32 bit Color

AOpen GeForce FX 5600 ATi Radeon 9600 XT

 

Below we don't have a comparison, but rather a series of screenshots depicting the performance of Antialiasing (AA) and Anisotropic Filtering (AF) of the AOpen FX 5600 graphics card with some in game screenshots from Call of Duty.  Again, a good way to see the differences in the way the images are rendered is to quickly toggle between a couple of different screenshots. 

Call Of Duty Screenshots 1024X768 - 32 bit Color


NO AA / NO AF


2X AA


2X AA / 4X AF


4X AA


4X AA / 4X AF


8X AA


 


8X AA / 8X AF

 

One specific part of the image to keep your eye on, when comparing AA image quality in these shots, is the talll silo structure and the barn behind the vehicle.  Notice how with each bump up of the AA setting there are less jagged edges in the images.  The feature to keep your eyes on when comparing the AF performance is the grass and the detail of the trees especially the trees located behind the halo off in the distance.  Notice the detail of the grass and in the trees increases as the AF setting increases.  Although the 8X AA plus 8X AF setting is the most visually attractive, game play was a bit too slow to be considered "playable".  We found the 2X AA with 4X AF to be the best quality to performance sweet spot this card has to offer, at this resolution.  It's safe to say that most gamers would be happy playing a game at this level of detail.  We definitely were.  Now, let's get some numbers from this card, shall we.

The Test System, AquaMark3 & Halo

Tags:  x5, fx, pen, 560, Open

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