Aopen Aelous FX5600S

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Aopen Aelous FX5600S - Page 6

The AOpen Aeolus FX5600S
AOpen Enters the Mainstream with Some Punch

By - Tom Laverriere
December 3, 2003

Head-to-Head Performance 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
Done 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. 



After reading 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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Tags:  x5, fx, pen, 560, Open

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