Chaintech Apogee AA5700U

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Chaintech Apogee AA5700U
Redefining the meaning of mainstream

By Robert Maloney
March 15th, 2004

Overclocking the Chaintech Apogee AA5700U
We turned the dial to 11


Chaintech 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 8.5 on the HotHardware Heat Meter. 

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