I came away with no glaring issues about this card from BFG Technologies. After deciding on the memory and core clock frequencies that I was going to run, the card was solid. Certainly the size of the card is atypical in that it takes up the neighboring PCI slot, but that didn't bother me. However, this could very well be a problem for those of you with small
form-factor cases though. In a normal ATX case this double-wide situation won't likely be a problem for most of you. The only PCI slot I use is for my network card so there's plenty of room to spare. The wider plate kept the card seated firmly in my case.
If I had to pick some areas of concern it would be the close proximity of the capacitors and the the memory modules that this card introduces. There are times one has to remove AGP graphics cards in order to swap out memory, but this varies by motherboard. Although it was a tight fit in my system, I didn't have a reason for concern regarding temperature within the case or on the card itself. Both the system and graphics card were stable even following hours of heavy/repeated testing.
There have been some recent claims of a flickering or strobing effect with
the FX 5900 Ultras. I did not experience either of these with this card. The
only thing that came close to this was how the screen will sometimes get a bit
brighter or darker in Windows right before launching a game. I've seen this
(gamma adjusting) effect in the past with other cards so I don't think this is
the problem that others are talking about. To clarify, I experienced no
flickering or strobing during games (or while just in Windows) and I was looking
closely for such anomalies.
As I stated in the introduction of this review, the BFG Asylum GeForce FX 5900 Ultra left me with a mighty fine twitch. In fact, it's the first time since the Voodoo2 that I've experienced such a dramatic jump in performance over previous graphics cards. Even on my somewhat average system. What BFG
states on the box: "TURN IT ALL ON" is dead-on accurate. I made a point to max
out every possible graphical setting in all games tested and in the majority of
cases, this GeForce FX 5900 Ultra card didn't break a sweat until the combination of 1600x1200 and 8X AA was used.
I purposefully gave no attention to the price of GeForce FX 5900 Ultra until this point. If you are serious about spending $500 on a video card, then there's really not much to discuss. Video cards that fall into the value/mid-range markets warrant more discussion regarding price as the competition is much greater at that level. The best-of-the-best market that this card falls into, though, really demotes cost to a lower priority in my opinion.
For example, most people who buy $100,000 vehicles aren't too concerned about the cost. How could they be to be dropping that much money into a (most likely) depreciating asset? So, yes, BFG Asylum GeForce
FX 5900 Ultra is expensive. However, its target audience isn't necessarily the
penny-pinching type. Although, if you are someone who's saved up this amount of
money in hopes of buying a video card that will allow you to play all of the
latest games for the next 18~24 months at the highest levels, then the GeForce FX 5900 Ultra fits that bill.
I had a "bottom line" for the benchmark results so here's my "bottom line"
for this card. The BFG Technologies Asylum GeForce FX 5900 Ultra doesn't have anything to physically set it apart from any of the other FX 5900 Ultras out there. It uses the stock NVIDIA HSF and board and the PCB isn't red, blue, or purple. What it is, though, is a stable piece of hardware that will go toe-to-toe with the competition. The true lifetime warranty and 24/7/365 free technical support are intangible aspects that set BFG apart from most add-in card manufacturers.
Quieter than expected
High quality components
Nice touch with included WindowBlinds skins, which can be downloaded for free
Excellent VIVO capability/features
Overall packaging, contents, setup utility, etc., have a well finished/polished feel
True lifetime warranty
Free 24/7/365 technical support
Short, stiff VIVO cables
Lite software bundle
Thanks are in order to John Malley, Director, Marketing and PR at BFG Technologies for his quick and thorough responses to my questions. I'd also like to thank those of you that provided initial requests and comments via our forum and e-mail regarding what you would like to see in this review.