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.
In our final test, we saw a little more of the same, with
the 5700 Ultra in the lead in all but one test, followed
closely (at least at 1024x768) by the Radeon 9600 XT, and
then the 5600 Ultra. The only sore point once again
was the application of 6XAA, where the 5700 Ultra lost
nearly half of its framerate from 4XAA. In direct
comparison, the Radeon only lost about a third of its frames
when doing the same. However, at 1600x1200, the tables
are turned somewhat with the GeForce FX 5700 Ultra besting
the 9600 XT by a wide margin, even with anti-aliasing and
anisotropic filtering applied
Overclocking With The NVIDIA GeForce FX 5700 Ultra
Because we just couldn't leave well enough alone
Much like we saw with the
9600 XT, the .13 micron process used on both cards provided
some headroom for us to play with when overclocking either
card. The 5700 Ultra didn't get as high, however, as
we were only able to get as high as 537MHz for the core, and
1030MHz for the memory. That amounted to a 13%
increase in both the core clock and memory speeds. To
see how we would fare in gameplay, we ran another Gun Metal
test at 1280x1024, with the default 2XAA setting.
We managed to increase our
original score by a modest two and half frames, which, as
you may guess, came out to a 13% increase in the frame rate.
Not exactly something to write home about, but it was still
nice to see that there was some room to play with. It
should also be noted that the 5600 Ultra was clocked at
400MHz, so we have already gotten a 75MHz boost to begin
with. Add in the overclocking, and you're looking at
137MHz over the 5600 Ultra. A quick check of the
scores has the overclocked 5700 Ultra nearly doubling the
output of the 5600 Ultra.
Once again we
see the two biggest names in the graphics industry trading
blows. One week it's ATi taking the lead with the
impressive Radeon 9600 XT, then this week we find NVIDIA
reclaiming their position as a mainstream leader.
Although the mighty GeForce FX 5950 Ultra also emerges from
the shadows on this day, its price makes it a somewhat
prohibitive purchase, best left for those with large
budgets. The bulk of sales has and always will be in
the mainstream market, and NVIDIA has released a superb
entry into this burgeoning field. It's almost a shame
to label the 5700 Ultra as a mainstream unit, since its
performance was top notch in all of our benchmarks and it
comes with some solid features like a 475MHz 0.13 micron
process GPU and 128MB of DDR2 memory. The new
ForceWare drivers have taken a full step in correcting some
of the shader problems we have seen with GeForce FX cards
using Detonator drivers of the past. Until they make
the switch to PCI Express, expected in the first half of
2004, this just may be the card for current owners of
GeForce Ti 4200 or FX 5200/5600 cards to get in order to
play newer DX9 titles like HalfLife 2 or Doom3.
the GeForce FX 5700 Ultra just in time for Halloween, with
no tricks, just a lot of treats, and we're giving it a 9.5
on the HotHardware Heat Meter, and an Editor's Choice Award.
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