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Creative 3D Blaster 5 FX5900 Ultra Review - Page 7 Of 7

KT133A CHIPSET TESTING

I have a number of systems at my disposal which includes a two year old Iwill KK266-R motherboard. The KK266-R utilizes VIA's popular KT133A chipset that's paired with a 1.33MHz AMD Thunderbird processor. This system has been super stable while running 24/7, but is scheduled for retirement. Then I thought about the gamers out there who might be contemplating a hardware upgrade with a similarly configured system. How would a graphics card like Creative's 3D Blaster 5 FX5900 Ultra perform in such a system? Would it be a worthwhile investment? Would the older components of KT133A based motherboards become a bottleneck?

I had already removed the IBM 60GXP hard drives from the RAID array and 512MB of Crucial PC133 SDRAM from the system. I replaced those components with a new Maxtor DiamondMax 80GB hard drive and 256MB of Tonicom PC166 memory. I removed the GeForce2 Pro that has served me well during the past three years and installed the 3D Blaster 5 FX5900 Ultra and was eager with anticipation.

GeForce FX 5900 Ultra And KT133A
GeForce FX 5900 Ultra And Iwill KK266-R Motherboard

Installing the 3D Blaster 5 FX5900 Ultra in the Chenbro Jr. mid-size case went as planned and there was adequate clearance between the graphics card and the hard drives. However, similar to the previous install, there was barely enough clearance between a capacitor on the graphics card and a DIMM locking clip on the motherboard. Airflow through the case was provided by two 120mm Panaflo L1A fans and an extra 80mm Panaflo H1A to cool the hard drives. With the system idle, the GPU temperature was 35C and the ambient temperature registered 30C.

THE TEST

UT2003 was used to measure the performance of the 1.33MHz Tbird with the 3D Blaster 5 FX5900 Ultra running at its default clock speed of 450MHz/850MHz using the Detonator FX 45.23 drivers.

UT2003 Flyby Benchmark Results - 1024x768
UT2003 Flyby Benchmark Results - 1024x768

The following table shows the increased performance that the Barton 2500+ CPU had over the 1.33GHz Thunderbird in the Flyby benchmark at 1024x768 with the 3D Blaster 5 FX5900 Ultra. Those 4X AA/8X AF results are looking pretty good for a low-end processor.

UT2003 Flyby - 2.2GHz vs. 1.33GHz - 1024x768
UT2003 Flyby - 2.2GHz vs. 1.33GHz - 1024x768

CONCLUSION

Creative's 3D Blaster 5 FX5900 Ultra proved to be a stable and high performance graphics card. Gameplay wasn't limited to those listed in the review. After all, if you were evaluating a product of this caliber, I'm sure you would be taking a test drive with more than a handful of games. I certainly did, but I had to give up Morrowind for three weeks!

Need For Speed 2 Hot Pursuit
Need For Speed 2 Hot Pursuit

I downloaded the XIII UK demo, which was excellent, and I can't wait for the retail version! I recently purchased Vietcong, which contains awesome scenery and the artificial intelligence is quite good. Other games I put time in included Need For Speed 2 Hot Pursuit, Max Payne, Serious Sam 2, Dungeon Siege, Medal of Honor: Allied Assault, Return to Castle Wolfenstein and Pirates of the Caribbean. And last, but not least, one of the hottest demos to come out in recent memory, Call of Duty, runs great on the 3D Blaster 5 FX5900 Ultra!

As I close this review I will say that the 3D Blaster 5 FX5900 Ultra is a fine example of NVIDIA's reference card, which I highly recommend for any gaming enthusiastís video card upgrade.

Positives:

  • High quality product
  • Excellent performance in current games
  • Ease of use
  • Driver stability
  • Overclocking potential

Negatives:

  • Expensive
  • Limited bundle
  • Trilinear filtering not fully implemented in latest Detonator drivers
  • Verdict still out on DirectX 9 game performance

Return to nV News

Last Updated on September 11, 2003


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