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Chaintech GeforceFX5600 Personal Cinema Review - Page 1 of 3

INTRODUCTION

The most visible tooth-and-nail battle in the graphics card industry has always been about the cards with the absolute highest performance; those which give gamers the most image quality options to play with while retaining solid frame rates. At the present time, this battle involves the NV38 core (FX5950) from NVIDIA and the R350 core (Radeon 9800XT) from ATI.



  

However, there is another battle raging between the two graphics card giants, one which focuses more on features than performance. NVIDIA's Personal Cinema lineup has for quite some time been challenging ATI's variety of All-In-Wonder graphics cards. Let's take a look at the features that they both offer:
  • Modern GPU
  • TV-Tuner
  • Video-In-Video-Out (VIVO) capability w/dongle
  • Remote control
  • Software bundle to make use of each card's features

For quite some time, ATI has had the advantage in the market due to the amount of time they've invested in their All-In-Wonder product line. NVIDIA has had to play a bit of catch-up throughout the entire lifespan of their Personal Cinema line. Improvements have included revisions to NVIDIA's software package, implementation of a more useful dongle, better VIVO quality, improved gaming performance, and the addition of a higher quality remote very similar to the ATI remote.

Chaintech Inc., based in Tapei, was the first IHV to manufacture and market a Personal Cinema card based on NVIDIA's GeforceFX GPUs. The card, which this review is based on (model FM6P/N), is part of Chaintech's Zenith group. Zenith group indicates that it occupies the top echelon of their product lineup as far as features and quality are concerned. Performance? We'll get to that later.

Chaintech FX5600 Personal Cinema Features

Ok, those are the "on paper" card attributes, but... what's in the box?

Starting from the outside of the box we see that this product is definitely geared less for gaming and more for multimedia features. Proudly touted on the front is an image of the newer, more user-friendly nVremote.

Product Box

INSIDE

Contents


This is all standard issue features for a card with a DVI-Out, (save for the audio cable). Now for the more "multimedia oriented" in-the box features:

Remote, Receiver and AV Pod

The addition of a more functional remote, an RF receiver (as opposed to previous Personal Cinemas' IR unit), and a useful/better looking/better connecting breakout pod instantly thrust this card into the "Swiss Army knife" category.

There were also some bonus items bundled, both good-looking and useful:

Anti-Static Brush and Q Ball

The brush is retractable, and is useful for sweeping dust in your case and cleaning your keyboard. The Q Ball Monitor Cleaner is an interesting device. The faux chamois does do a decent job of wiping a monitor, but I've also found it to be very useful as a stress-ball.

SOFTWARE

  • VGA Driver Disc
  • NVDVD 2.0
  • IVI- winDVR 2.0
  • Ulead Movie Factory 2.0
  • Ulead Video Studio 6.0 SE
  • MDK2 Full Version
  • Demos: Rally Trophy, Max Payne, Serious Sam; Second Encounter, Tropico, Age of Wonders

The software package is very comprehensive in it's support for the Personal Cinema features of the card, but the game package is definitely becoming dated.
 

Next Page: Card, Breakout Pod, Remote

 

Last Updated on February 7, 2004


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