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BFG Technologies Asylum GeForce FX 5900 Ultra Review - Page 1 Of 8

UPDATE

Due to new information that has surfaced since I posted this review I feel it necessary to share the following update to this review with you.

NVIDIA has taken quite a bit of criticism lately regarding their NV35 GPU. Initial reaction was that the NV35 was a vast improvement over the NV30, and it was/is. However, new information about the NV35's pixel shader 2.0 (PS 2.0) performance has resulted in some disappointment. Further doubts were cast by Gabe Newell of Valve Software regarding the first publicly released benchmark results from Half Life 2.

Additionally, some consumers experienced "flickering" or "strobing" anomalies while playing some games and/or while in Windows. Incredibly, the talented NVIDIA Driver Team managed to solve this problem with the release of the version 45.33 NVIDIA Detonator drivers on September 9, 2003. Again, I never experienced any such problems with this card and after over 200 hours of game play the BFG 5900 Ultra in this review performs very well.

What does all of this mean for you as you try to decide what video card to buy? Well, I won't pretend to be able to answer that in this update. Your best place to start is in our forums where you'll be sure to get a wide variety of perspectives on this topic. The NV35 is currently a very capable GPU, however, there are some question marks surrounding it if you intend to play Half Life 2 and/or other upcoming games that will make use of DirectX 9. My personal opinion is that the jury is still out. NVIDIA has their new 50 series Detonator drivers slated for release in the next few weeks which may (or may not) change things.

 

INTRODUCTION

Twitchy. Not only is this adverb a perfect way to describe my overall reaction to the BFG Technologies Asylum GeForce FX 5900 Ultra, but it's also the name of the BFG Technologies mascot. Well, his name is actually "Twitch" to be precise. Now, you're probably wondering what I mean by saying that I'm twitchy after having reviewed this card. I mean, twitchy could be a good thing or a bad thing, right? Well I'm not going to wait until the end of this review to tell you that, in this case, twitchy is good. Twitchy is very good.

Whoa there! Easy does it. For those of you that are half-way on your high horse and ready to accuse me of being a fanboy or whatever - just chill for a second. I have no allegiance to NVIDIA, ATI, nor anyone else. I consider myself a consumer just like you. As a consumer, I want the most bang for my buck from a quality company. I don't subscribe to philosophical debates about PC gaming video cards. How's that for an oxymoron. I don't care if company X cheats or optimizes as long as it doesn't result in my rig catching fire, my games looking like crap, or having to pay higher taxes.

I see no point in nitpicking and staring at static screenshots of a game that I play at 100+ frames per second! I'm not making these statements to defend anyone. I just want you to know where I stand on all of this before we get into the review since it's all a pretty hot topic lately.

Who in the he.., hey, it's Twitch!

This this review is...

  • a review of a product from BFG Technologies. I didn't go into a diatribe concerning image quality, bilinear vs. trilinear filtering, FP32/24, etc. There are numerous debates on these subjects at our web site and many others.


  • a review that caters to the overall current game performance that the product offers.


  • a review that focuses on providing you with as much useful and tangible information as possible.

This review is not...

  • a specific review of NVIDIA's NV35 chipset.


  • representative of DirectX 9 game performance.


  • a head-to-head comparison between this product and any other product.


  • an echoing of the status quo regarding specific games, issues, etc. This review contains my personal opinions and impressions and not purported to be de facto standards by any means. OK, enough with all the Latin already!

The NV35 has been well documented by this point in time so I'll spare the rehashed bulleted lists of specs and marketing buzzwords. If you'd like to know more about the specifics of the NV35 then look no further than these two excellent articles by our very own staff members here at nV News.

  Author Date
GeForce FX 5900 Ultra Preview Mike Chambers 05/12/2003
GeForce FX 5900 GPU Overview Ralph Zak 05/12/2003

BFG TECHNOLOGIES

BFG Technologies may not be the most familiar name to some of you. But they've been around long enough to have GeForce2 MX-class cards under their belt and that's an eternity in the graphics industry. They also have very experienced and proven people amongst their ranks and are popular in the retail market space.

If you'd like to know more about BFG you can read their own About Us page and there's this article over at [H]ard|OCP with some more background information as well.

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 September 11, 2003


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