NVIDIA'S GeForce FX 5950 Ultra

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NVIDIA'S GeForce FX 5950 Ultra - Page 2

NVIDIA'S GeForce FX 5950 Ultra
NV38 takes flight propelled with a new driver set

By David Altavilla
October 23,  2003

 

NVIDIA Detonator FX 52.16 Driver Control Panels
Full of features, looking good

NVIDIA's driver software has always been their strong suit, from an ease of use, configurability and stability perspective.  In addition, we're sure we don't have to go on again for you here, about their recent in-game image quality issues, at the expense of performance optimization.  So, let's look at the new 52.16 Detonator FX driver suite, from a functionality and features standpoint and then we'll let the image quality comparisons and benchmarks that follow, with these drivers, speak for themselves.

Driver Info
Image Quality
Direct 3D
OpenGL
  
Overlay
 
Screen Resolution

 
 
Temperature
 
nView 3.0

Subjectively, NVIDIA's driver control panels just feel a little less cumbersome to work with, versus ATi's recent Catalyst 3.8 drivers.  The experience is pretty comparable however, with only a slight advantage on NVIDIA's side, with their easy to navigate left side menu panel, that automatically pops out when you need access to a feature.  However again, this is our subjective opinion and some folks might prefer the ATi flow.  Not much has changed in the 52.16 release of the Detonator 50 series drivers, since the introduction of the 51.75s.  There are all the usual settings for AA and Aniso Filtering, Gamma Correction, DVC (Digital Vibrance Control, an NVIDIA only feature), Screen Positioning, Health Monitoring, etc. 

We should also note, that the Detonator FX 52.16s have passed Microsoft WHQL certification and should be up as an "official" release on NVIDIA's site, shortly.

Additionally, the 50 series releases do have new features added within "nView", their Desktop Management utility.  "Mouse Kinematics" for example, add some useful new tweaks to cursor and mouse control.  If you've ever lost location of your mouse pointer on your desktop, due to color contrasts, window pop-over or what have you,  "Mouse Gestures" allows you to shake the mouse back and forth or side-ways, which will then activate a "locate cursor" function, changing the shape to a large circle, easily seen on most any desktop.  These are just a few of the added niceties with nView 3.0. 

In our opinion however, all the bells and whistles you could add to a driver suite, are no substitution for stability, rendered image quality and performance.  We've already acknowledge that the Detonator FX 52.16s seemed very stable in our labs. Now let's look at the images they render and then we'll move on to the frame rates they produce.

Image Quality Screen Captures - Halo And Tomb Raider Angel Of Darkness
Easily NVIDIA's best looking GeForce FX image quality yet.

Halo for the PC, is a game that many of us here at HotHardware are going to burn up valuable work hours with and surely it will have its affect on general productivity here in the HH Labs.  We may have to initiate a gaming limitation rule, to only graphics articles and even then cap "test times" because of its immense fun factor.  However, at this point in time, Halo - Combat Evolved for the PC does not support Anti-Aliasing with either NVIDIA or ATi cards.  As a result, we had to limit our testing to strictly Anisotropic Filtering tests, with Halo.


Halo - Combat Evolved
In Game Screenshots - 1024X768
Detonator 52.16 Vs. Catalyst 3.8
 

ATi Radeon 9800 XT
No Aniso Filtering

NVIDIA GeForce FX 5950
No Aniso Filtering


ATi Radeon 9800 XT
8X Aniso Filtering


NVIDIA GeForce FX 5950
8X Aniso Filtering

Judge for yourself as always, but we feel both cards are rendering excellent image quality here, with good Aniso Filtering applied that is of the same relative quality for both the Detonator 52.16 drivers and the Catalyst 3.8s, which were used to produce these shots.  Notice how much better the ground textures look with 8X AF on, for both cards.  AF definitely enhances Halo's already impressive game engine.

 

Tomb Raider - Angle Of Darkness
In Game Screenshots - 1024X768
Detonator 52.16 Vs. Catalyst 3.8


ATi Radeon 9800 XT
4X AA, 8X Aniso Filtering

NVIDIA GeForce FX 5950
4X AA, 8X Aniso Filtering

As you might recall from our Radeon 9800XT article in September, NVIDIA's Detonator 51.75 drivers with the GFFX 5900U card we were using for reference then, were simply broken with some of Tomb Raiders Pixel Shader 2.0 effects, like depth of field blur for example.   Well it seems as though DOF blur has been fixed and Anisotropic Filtering of the Detonator 52.16s is right on par with ATi's Cat 3.8s.  So for our first round of IQ testing, NVIDIA has executed nicely in terms of the catch-up work in image quality, they had cut out for them with some of the newer game engines.  We'll have a look next at some older game engines and upcoming unreleased titles as well, next.

More Image Quality Comparisons And Test Setup

Tags:  Nvidia, GeForce, Ultra, force, fx, ULT, id

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