NVIDIA vs ATi Grahics Card Shoot-out

NVIDIA vs ATi - Page 2

Graphic Card Roundup
A comparative look at what's out there now

By Robert Maloney
March 29th, 2004

The GeForce FX lineup
NVIDIA's jolly green giants

Chaintech's Apogee AA5700U


We have historically been impressed with Chaintech's attention to detail, and the AA5700U was no exception. The AA5700U was quite hefty, weighed down by the large copper heatsinks placed on both sides of the card. These heatsinks help cool not only the GPU, but are sandwiched firmly around the RAM as well. Normally, DDR-II RAM runs a bit hotter than standard DDR, so the solid copper should help keep it cool.  The AA5700U is also one of the longest cards we have had in the labs in quite a while. While this doesn't necessarily pose a problem in most setups, Small Form Factor (SFF) owners may have some difficulty trying to install this card into their cramped confines.  The main difference between the newer AA5700U and Chaintech's earlier entry, the SA5700U, was the addition of twin fans that are lit up with blue LEDs. These provide a steady blue glow, but, unfortunately are pointed downwards so the full effect may be lost in most scenarios (obviously, they wouldn't even be seen at all in non-windowed cases.) Other than the upgraded cooling, the core and memory speeds of the two cards, and thus the performance, should remain the same.

e-VGA's e-GeForce 5900XT


The eVGA e-GeForce 5900XT is a slightly modified version of the 5900SE that we reviewed a few months back.  The most noticeable difference was the removal of the heatsinks over the RAM chips, but a keen eye will also catch the fact that the PCB is more of an aqua than the previous green.  As before, the 5900XT uses a slim, single-slot heatsink placed over the GPU, with a fan rated at around 6000rpm. The fan runs very quiet in spite of its high speed, so you won't have to worry about any excessive noise.   In comparison to the 5700 Ultra models we've seen, the lower clock speed of the memory and the inclusion of DDR over DDR2 resulted in less heat being output, which explains the comparatively smaller amount of cooling needed.  A 4-pin MOLEX connection will be necessary to power the card, so make sure that your power supply has at least one available.

e-VGA's e-GeForce 5950 Ultra


Our last entry also comes to us by the way of e-VGA, one of NVIDIA's release partners.  Strictly abiding by NVIDIA's reference design, the e-GeForce FX 5950 Ultra is one of the meanest-looking contraptions to ever find its way into the innards of a PC.  The GPU cooler is a shrouded mini version of what looks like an copper finned CPU cooler, although the black turbine fan is larger now, nearly 2.5 inches across in diameter, versus the 1.5" fan that is on the GFFX5900 reference design. This larger fan spins much slower, but also pushes more air volume per RPM, over the heat-sink areas of both the GPU and memory. The good news is, while this is the fastest GeForce FX 59xx series product yet, it is also the quietest high-end board from NVIDIA we've had in the lab. It is nice and quiet, on par with a Radeon 9800XT, while ramped up to its higher 3D gaming speed settings, but just a tad louder than the 9800XT when in 2D mode.

ATi's Radeon triumvirate  

Tags:  Nvidia, ATI, Car, shoot, card, SHO, ICS, RAH, id, AR

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