Overclocking and the Conclusion
One of the main reasons behind the aluminum housing on the Pixelview 5900XT Golden Limited was to provide better and more even cooling of the GPU and memory. Thus, it should allow for higher overclocks than other cards that us more standard cooling methods. Prolink has also provided their own monitoring and overclocking utility called Patrolman. It clearly lists the current GPU and DRAM speeds, as well as the GPU temperature, Fan speed, and voltages. Overclocking the card is similar to using the Coolbits registry hack for Nvidia's driver control panels. Choose the desired new speeds, test them for stability, and then click on 'Run' to apply the changes.
We had some success using the Patrolman software, at least at lower speeds. However, we found increased instability when we reached higher speeds, that would manifest as corrupted graphics, the inability to minimize the application, and interminable refreshing of Windows. After a few sessions in which Windows became almost completely unusable, we decided to stick with changing the speeds from the control panel. In this manner, we were able to get the GPU up as high as 480MHz and the memory all the way to 882MHz. That amounted to an impressive 23% increase in the core speed and a 27% boost for the memory. To see how this translated in real-world performance, we ran another AquaMark 3 test at 1600x1200 with 4xAA applied, and compared the overclocked result to our original results.
By overclocking the card, we increased the original benchmark score of 16.28, already right at the top of the pack in AquaMark 3, to 18.19 FPS. While 1.91 frames might not sound like much, it has to be taken into context. The percentage difference is actually close to 12%. It's quite possible that we won't see this kind of difference in every game we play, but kudos has to be given to Prolink for achieving such levels of overclocking. It should be noted as well that we did not see any artifacting at these speeds, nor any system crashes.
We didn't expect to be wowed by the Prolink Pixelview 5900XT Golden Limited, since it appeared to be simply another card based on an established GeForce FX GPU. However, we were intrigued by the Plasma Display Fan II, with its real-time temperature and speed readouts, pleased with the level of performance that the 5900XT provided, and a bit surprised by the high-overclocks we achieved, especially with the 882MHz memory clock speed.
What we would like to see from Prolink is a better software component to the bundle on two levels. For one, we would like to see something more recent to use with the card, like either a current game or a more up-to-date version of WinDVD or PowerDVD. Our second peeve has to do with the Patrolman software. Sure, it worked fine for monitoring the card and for minor tweaks, but the instability we received when trying to overclock the card to more extreme levels was a bit disappointing. We spent many hours trying to get this software to work correctly, rather than working with the hardware itself. This was especially bothersome since the Coolbits registry hack is easy to find, and works without a problem.
With all that being said, we're left with a very competent card that can handle most of the everyday user's needs. It's capable of handling 2D and 3D applications with ease, and the card can be further overclocked to give an extra boost to game frame rates. Priced at the higher end of the mainstream scale, the Pixelview 5900XT Golden Limited lived up to its name, and proved to be worthy of the extra monetary investment. We're giving the Prolink Pixelview 5900XT Golden Limited a 8.5 on the HotHardware Heat Meter.