Overclocking the Chaintech Apogee AA5700U
turned the dial to 11
has provided a utility on the driver CD called GOSU, short
for Graphics Overclocking System Utility. Seen in the
screenshots above, two dashboard-like gauges are used to
display the GPU and DRAM speeds, while the buttons below are
meant to call up specific driver settings. We were not
able to get these to work as we believe they were intended,
however, as clicking on any of the buttons simply brought up
the Display Properties window. We still had to
manually click on 'Advanced', go to the correct tab, and
make our modifications. The real beauty of the GOSU
software is the ability to simply click on the 'MAX' button
to achieve a tested, stable overclock of the AA5700U.
No fiddling with the GPU and DRAM speeds individually, and
supposedly no worrying about whether or not the card can
handle the new speeds. Just click the 'Max." button
and then click 'GO' and watch the frames scream by.
Using our Gun Metal results as a frame of
reference, we found we were able to add an additional 2.5
frames at GOSU's "Max." setting (546/1041), which came out
to roughly a 14% increase in performance. We weren't
satisfied with the "Max." setting, however, and tried our hand at overclocking the AA5700U even further, reaching as as high
as 580/1060. With our additional tweaking, we were able to surpass the 5900XT
by an additional 3%. Chaintech promised high overclocking results
with the AA5700U, and they definitely delivered.
We were really impressed
with the Apogee AA5700U. It's not often that we
find a mainstream card that has all of the looks of a
high-end card without the major hit in the wallet.
Fittingly, the package contents are also well thought
out, providing a full set of media, cables, and other
extras that other manufacturers often skimp on. If
anything, we may have to qualify the Apogee AA5700U as
an upper-end mainstream package - not quite as lacking
as some mainstream offerings, but nowhere near the
performance (and accompanying price) of a heavy hitter.
We can't find any fault with Chaintech for providing
such a package except for one major concern. One
can easily find a 5900XT from not only a competitor, but
from Chaintech themselves, that goes for less than the
price of the Apogee AA5700U. Couple that with the
steadily declining prices on ATi's 9800 Pro, and we
might find a relatively short life-span for the AA5700U,
and all other 5700 Ultras as well. One saving
grace, and it's enough to keep our rating towards the
higher end of the scale, was the great overclocking
potential, and the ease of putting it to use with the
GOSU utility. The Apogee AA5700U overclocked well
enough that we were able to overtake the 5900XT, at
least when testing Gun Metal. It might help make
up the difference in the long run. As it stands
now, we'll give the Chaintech Apogee AA5700U an
on the HotHardware Heat Meter.
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