GeforceFX5600 Personal Cinema Review - Page 1 of 3
By John Grabski -
February 7, 2004
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:
Video-In-Video-Out (VIVO) capability w/dongle
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.
This is all standard issue features for a card with a DVI-Out, (save for the audio
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.
VGA Driver Disc
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.