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

ISSUES AND CONCLUSION


You just gotta love "Twitch" (BFG Technologies' Mascot)

I'll wrap things up here briefly (no offense there Twitch) :). I was very impressed with this product. You'll have a tough time finding a better solution in the mainstream market than the BFG Technologies ASYLUM GeForce FX 5700 Ultra. To re-quote what I said earlier:

Everyone places value differently and admittedly this price to performance ratio I'm presenting is somewhat disputable from various perspectives. At the end of the day though, a BFG 5700 Ultra owner would find themselves in a satisfying situation with very playable frame rates up to 1280x960 and with an extra $165 in their pocket compared to the enthusiast market product offerings.

Product availability should also be a strong point for this offering from BFG Technologies. This will not be a "paper release" by any means as many people have been reporting seeing these on store shelves for days now already. The only real tangible downside I can see is that you'll run into some games that won't play smoothly at 1600x1200 with aggressive AF/AA settings. All you need to do though is to drop down to a slightly lower resolution and you're in business. This can't really be considered a strike against this card though since it is a mainstream targeted product.

In the spirit of America's national pastime...NVIDIA has hit an in-the-park homerun with the NV36.


Positives:

  • Excellent price and value for your dollar

  • Will offer excellent performance for 99% of today's games

  • Very stable even when overclocked fairly aggressively

  • Improved cooling over reference design

  • Quiet

  • Fast DDR2 memory

  • .13 micron fabrication

  • Lifetime warranty

  • 24/7/365 technical support

  • Immediate availability

  • High build quality synonymous with BFG Technologies products

 

Negatives:

  • Not quite enough power for some games at 1600x1200 with high AA/AF settings

  • No bundle to speak of

  • No VIVO support

  • Pixel Shader 2.0, while greatly improved, is still not quite up to speed with the competition

  • Lack of full tri-linear filtering support

 

Addendum

On a more technical note, there are still some apparent issues regarding the performance in dealing with Pixel Shaders 2.0 (which are a core feature of DirectX 9) by both the NV36 and NV38 chipsets. I will be updating this review with some more insight into this issue in the future. So, for now you need to at least understand that these latest chipsets from NVIDIA do not appear to be reaching their full potential in this area. It is open for debate as to whether this performance problem will be remedied by updated ForceWare drivers or not. How does this affect you and the games you play? Well, today the answer is not much, as there are just a handful of games that even begin to scratch the surface of the potential that Pixel Shaders offer. As more and more games begin to utilize Pixel Shaders (2.0 specifically here), however, then these NVIDIA chipsets will increasingly come under more and more scrutiny until the performance improves. It comes down to whether this specific Pixel Shader performance gap can be improved upon by improved drivers or not.

Also, it would be a disservice to you, the consumer, if I did not acknowledge the issue of "aggressive optimizations" or "cheating" within video card drivers. This is a very touchy subject and one that has staunch supporters on both sides of the fence. So, for those that are not already aware you should know that both ATI and NVIDIA have been accused of "cheating" in their drivers dating back years and many different situations. It's beyond the scope of this review to dive deeply into this issue but you can find out as much as you'd like with a quick trip over to Google to learn more.

My personal take on this topic is that the term "cheating" is slung around very loosely at times and that there is a fine line between "cheating" and making innovative, beneficial and positive optimizations to drivers. After all, that is what drivers are all about in the first place, to improve/optimize performance, stability and functionality of the hardware that they communicate to and the OS. I won't deny that some questionable changes have been made to drivers but I also will not jump to conclusions and use a review as a platform for trying to convince you of my opinions on this topic. In summary, you should decide for yourself what is acceptable to you, and what is not, regarding changes to the drivers for your particular hardware.

 

You can discuss this review, ask questions, etc in this thread of our forums.

 

Return to nV News

Last Updated on October 24, 2003


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