With Tomb Raider: AOD
Lara is Back! As Crappy as Ever!
Tomb Raider: Angel of Darkness won't be winning any
"Game of the Year" awards, it is one of the more
advanced DirectX games currently available. We've
recorded a custom demo of Lara jogging through an indoor
garden area in the "Prague3" map. When using the Pixel
Shader 2.0 code path, this area of the game utilizes a
DOF (depth of field) blurring effect to enhance the
sense of depth and size. We ran our custom demo at a
resolution of 1024x768 and then again at 1600x1200,
using both the Pixel Shader 1.4 and 2.0 code paths (with
and without 4x anti-aliasing in the PS 2.0 tests).
With our custom Tomb Raider: AOD
timedemo, the MSI GeForce FX5900XT-VTD128 once again
outpaced the competition, in every test configuration.
In the PS 1.4 tests, it was about 33% faster then the second
place finisher, the Radeon 9600 XT, at 1024x768. At
1600x1200, the MSI card's lead over the 9600 XT ballooned to
59%. In the PS 2.0 tests, things get a little more
interesting because ATi's current crop of cards handle DX9
titles better than NVIDIA's, but the FX5900XT-VTD128 still
posted the highest frame-rates.
Overclocking With The MSI GeForce FX5900XT-VTD128
is Good. Faster is Better!
Before wrapping things up, we
installed CoolBits and overclocked the MSI GeForce
FX5900XT-VTD128 until we begun to see visual anomalies
on-screen. As we mentioned earlier, MSI includes a
custom set of drivers with dynamic overclocking built-it
with this card as well, but they were based on the v45.33
Detonators - we opted to use the latest v56.56 Forceware
release. When all was said and done, we were able to
take our card up to "only" 437MHz for the core and 776MHz
for the memory, up from the default clocks of 400MHz /
700MHz. An overclock over 10% isn't terrible, but
we've seen other 5900 XTs go quite a bit higher.
Overclocking potential varies from card to card, however, so
your mileage may vary. To illustrate the benefits of
our overclocking efforts, we re-ran the Gun Metal benchmark
at 1280x1024, and saw a 10.3% increase in performance.
Ask any savvy PC enthusiast what
they look for in a video card, and they'll likely answer you
by saying it's got to be fast, quiet, and cheap. Well,
the MSI GeForce FX5900XT-VTD128 is fast - We ran 33
different tests with 9 different games and it outperformed the
competition in 32 of them. It's also nearly silent
thanks to MSI's custom cooling solution and at $180 it's
relatively cheap. The ATi Radeon 9600 XT is much less
expensive at $150, and the GeForce FX 5700 Ultra at $160 is
cheaper as well, but the GeForce FX 5900XT's dominant
performance is definitely worth the extra investment in our opinion.
Couple the MSI GeForce FX5900XT-VTD128's affordable price
with its excellent bundle and feature set, and it's easy to
declare this card a winner. About the only thing that
would make us apprehensive about buying a 5900XT today, is
the impending release of new cards by both NVIDIA and ATi.
The significant price drops we've seen on the faster and more
DX9 friendly ATi Radeon 9800 Pro should factor into your
decision as well, but it is still roughly 25% more expensive
than the GeForce FX 5900XT. In the end though, MSI has
done a great job with their GeForce FX5900XT-VTD128.
We're giving it a solid 9 on the HotHardware Heat Meter...
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Tweaked, Overclocked & Ready to Rock!