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BFG Technologies ASYLUM GeForce FX 5700 Ultra Review - Page 1 Of 9

INTRODUCTION

NVIDIA's "Fall Refresh" is kicking off today with new products based on the GeForce FX 5950 (NV38 chipset) and the GeForce FX 5700 (NV36 chipset). In this review the focus is on the the latter product line offering from BFG Technologies: the ASYLUM GeForce FX 5700 Ultra. The GeForce FX 5700 is targeted towards the mainstream market's $200 price point.

BFG Technologies ASYLUM GeForce FX 5700 Ultra



NOTE: I had less than one week to complete this review from start to finish. As a result, there are only two game benchmarks contained herein. I have plans, however, to update this review with additional game benchmarks in the near future. Also, I am including 3DMark2003 basically for its low time investment and partially because I'm starting to see some benefit of synthetic benchmarks in certain cases.

Humus OpenGL And Direct3D Demos

One of these cases is also in this review in which I use FRAPS to benchmark a few of Emil Persson's (a.k.a. "Humus" on the web) OpenGL and Direct3D demos. Currently there is a dearth of DirectX 9 games and benchmarks and even the ones that are available face legitimate arguments as to their accuracy/validity both pro and con. Having said that, I feel that my inclusion of these technical demos as a benchmark are as good as most anything else right now. What I feel to be particularly interesting and beneficial is that Humus provides details as to which OpenGL extensions, Vertex Shaders and/or Pixel Shaders are being exhibited in each demo. Some may disagree with this approach for a variety of valid reasons (all of which I'm very open to hear). My opinion right now is that these can be informational to a degree. In no way do I suggest that you should base your buying decisions on the results of these demos.
 

BFG TECHNOLOGIES

In my last review I provided some background information about BFG Technologies. They have a substantial presence in the retail market in such stores as Best Buy, CompUSA and Fry's Electronics among others.

BFG Technologies

FEATURES/SPECIFICATIONS

As stated earlier, the ASYLUM GeForce FX 5700 Ultra is based on the NVIDIA NV36 chipset. As with any new chipset launch, much speculation about the details precedes it. Today we are now able to present those details as the NDA was lifted this morning.

  • GPU NVIDIA® GeForce™ FX 5700 Ultra
  • NEW Architecture
  • 1.5x GeForce FX 5600 Performance
  • 3x GeForce FX 5600 vertex processing power
  • Support for DDR1/DDR2/GDDR3
  • NV36 is made using the 0.13 micron fabrication process at IBM's East Fishkill, New York facility.
  • API Support Microsoft® DirectX® 9.0, OpenGL for Microsoft® Windows®
  • Connectors VGA, DVI, S-Video out
  • Bus Type AGP
  • 256-Bit Graphics Core
  • 128-Bit Memory Interface
  • 4-Pixels Per Clock (4x1 or 2x2 Configuration)
  • 1.9 Billion pixels/sec (fillrate)
  • 14.4GB/sec. Memory Bandwidth
  • 356 Million Vertices/sec.
  • 500MHz Core Clock
  • 900MHz Memory Clock (effective)
  • 400MHz Dual RAMDAC
  • NVIDIA nView Multi-Display Technology
  • NVIDIA CineFX 2.0 Engine
  • UltraShadow Technology
  • Supports AGP 8X, 4X, And 2X
  • NVIDIA Digital Vibrance Control 3.0
  • Supports Microsoft DirectX 9.0
  • 128-Bit Precision Color
  • High Quality Anisotropic Filtering (64- tap)
  • Hardware MPEG-2 Support
BFG Technologies ASYLUM

BFG Specific Notes

  • ASYLUM cards are built with DDR2 (other board partners may use DDR1)
  • MSRP at launch is $199.99 ($219.99 with a $20 Mail In Rebate Everyday)
  • VIVO was not included on this model primarily to keep costs down to reach the $199 price point
  • Upgraded fan solution that exhibits superior thermal resistance to the reference fan.
  • Diversion from the "one surface solution" for HSF and memory of reference design for more efficient cooling.
  • Reference design of this card does not call for backside BGA cooling but BFG implemented them for better memory cooling.


LIFETIME WARRANTY

The phrase "lifetime warranty" has been misused and stretched for as long as it's been around. Companies will tout this claim but upon reading the fine print you'll see that some shaky limitations apply. For example, one of BFG Technologies' competitors (PNY) claims a lifetime warranty as follows:

"Lifetime Replacement warranty does not cover items out of production if PNY no longer stocks them. Lifetime is defined as the lifetime of the product on the market. Outdated technology is not covered by lifetime warranty if the item is no longer available on the common market as a new product."

BFG Technologies, on the other hand, has a true lifetime warranty. You can read the details about their warranty, which John Malley, Director or Marketing and Public Relations, elaborates on:

"Our lifetime warranty is not limiting the definition of "lifetime" to "products on the market". With product cycles moving as fast as they do in this industry, that really makes PNY's "lifetime warranty" about 6-12 months.

If an end user and our tech support agree that their Asylum card has a technical failure, BFG Tech will replace that card with a card of equal or greater value. So, where PNY customers may be out of luck because a PNY product is no longer on the market, BFG Tech, given the same situation, will give the end user an equivalently valued product that is most likely newer technology (if the original product in not in stock or available)."

Warranties aren't the coolest thing to talk about and you may never pay much attention to them. However, if you're going to spend $500 on a piece of hardware, then a warranty like BFG's is major plus. Common sense will tell you that, like all warranties, certain conditions must be met as stated at BFG's website. In other words, you can't expect to get your card replaced if you snap off a capacitor, acts of God, etc.

FREE 24/7/365 TECHNICAL SUPPORT

Another service that BFG offers is 24/7/365 absolutely free technical support. They are the only video card company, that I know of, that has 24/7/365 free tech support, which is reassuring during those weekend or late night troubleshooting sessions.

 

Next Page: Contents, Card Layout and Components

Last Updated on October 23, 2003


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