With X2 - The Threat
A Hot New Space-Sim
X2 - The
Threat is a game that is due out in November, that
probably hasn't received too much press...that is, until
now. A demo version can be downloaded from
and it is simply a gorgeous space simulation. The
benchmark is enabled by a checkbox within the demo,
albeit a long one to complete. Egosoft promises
that X2 will provide gamers with the best gaming
experience with sound and graphics to match, and based
on what we saw in the demo, we would have to agree.
The same resolutions and optimizations were used with
this benchmark as well.
Our final leg of
benchmarking completes the picture we have seen painted
throughout this review. The FX 5600 card trails the
two 9600 cards, albeit by a smaller margin. The second
theme we saw is evident again here, as the 4X AA plus AF
setting is the best image quality to performance ratio for
all three cards.
Since we are never
satisfied with just factory settings, we also set out to
overclocking the AOpen Aeolus FX 5600 card. Read on to
see the results.
Overclocking With The 256MB AOpen FX 5600S
Right From the Comfort of Windows
To overclock the card we
used the utility that shipped with the card dubbed "OpenGPU".
OpenGPU is an overclocking utility designed by AOpen, that
makes overclocking your FX 5600 extremely easy. As you
can see in the screenshot, just about every setting on the
card is adjustable and can be done without restarting
Windows. We did notice one problem with the utility
and that is shown in the above screenshot. The core
clock speed is set to 270MHz, which is the card's 2D core
clock speed. This AOpen FX 5600 has a core clock speed
of 325MHz in 3D environments. This utility would only
max out at 315MHz core clock speed which did not allow us to
push this card above its factory settings. We are
currently working with AOpen to resolve the problem.
Besides this flaw, the
OpenGPU utility is quite impressive. Both ambient and
GPU temperatures are reported here as well as fan speed.
The voltages on the card can be adjusted as well as the core
clock and memory timings without restarting the PC.
This makes overclocking the card an extremely simple task.
Kudos to AOpen for an exciting utility.
through this article and seeing the numbers, its obvious
that the two ATi 9600 cards outperformed AOpen's FX 5600
offering. We are not here to debate that, but will
also note that the AOpen Aeolus FX 5600S is a decent
mainstream card. We don't feel totally comfortable
saying the words "great mainstream card", mainly due to the
current competitive offerings on the market. To see
the FX 5600 in its proper light, let's take a look at the
facts. When this card was originally introduced, it's
MSRP was $199. To us that's not so budget, but with
the release of the FX 5700 line of cards, the AOpen FX 5600
can now be had for around $125 on various search engines.
We're talking about a 256MB graphics card that pushes some
respectable frame rates for only $125. That's what we
consider to be more "mainstream", at least with respect to
price point. While the performance gains from the
extra 128MB of memory on this card were not exactly
noticeable in these tests, this could simply be because many
games don't take advantage of the extra memory, with higher
resolution textures. When, and if, they do, this card
may become slightly more competitive. On the other
hand, if you are willing to step up to the new GeForce FX
5700's price point, as we've shown you here, its performance
level is on par with and even bests ATi's 9600XT in many
gaming scenarios. We're eager to see what AOpen has to
offer for a 5700 GPU driven solution, so stay tuned for our
analysis on that.
While we won't
rate this particular card as the best bang for your buck, we
will say that the AOpen Aeolus FX 5600S is a strong "budget"
video card performer and we're giving it a HotHardware Heat
Meter rating of 7.5...
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