Auto-Detect Overclocking was ushered in with NVIDIA's GeForce FX series. This
handy feature allows owners to find a relatively accurate target for elevated
operating frequencies. With such an expensive piece of equipment, I'm playing it
safe and knocking a few extra MHz off the suggested speeds. One little annoying
quip of this tool is that the screen's refresh rate turns down to 60Hz,
requiring us to return back into the display properties and return the setting
to its previous value.
Another cool feature which was first seen in the higher-end GeForce FX cards
was the temperature monitoring feature. While fairly simplistic in nature as it
only displays the immediate temperature, running a strenuous program in a window
allows us to view the temperature under of the NV38 core under stress. The
temperature remains fairly cool, due in part to the .13 micron process and the
hefty cooling unit.
Of course, an increase in clock frequencies entails an increase in
performance. I broke down the extra performance into three categories to try to
examine which components would provide additional performance in selected cases.
The previously tested settings for the respective games were used once again.
Wolfenstein: ET Results
Performance gains provided by increasing the core and memory clocks
independently are almost equivalent. The greatest improvement delta is found at
both 1600x1200 settings.
Halo Timedemo Results
Halo doesn't react to clock speed gains the same way that Wolfenstein: ET
did. Halo's performance improvements come almost entirely from the increased
core clock speed, which is where the PS 2.0 effects are generated.
After almost a month of using the eVGA e-GeForce FX 5950 Ultra along with
NVIDIA's Forceware 52.16 drivers, I can safely say that NVIDIA has provided yet
another step forward for the GeForce FX series. They've definitely been working
hard at improving the problems that plagued their first high-end GeForce FX
card; the 5800 Ultra and have taken a number of steps to correct them. First
off, the complex cooling unit, while being large and impressive, operates rather
quietly especially when it is compared with the cooling unit the GeForce FX 5800
Ultra required. Secondly, the drivers have vastly improved in all departments. This point benefits
the whole range of GeForce FX cards. And the increased operating speed of both
the memory and the core allow the 5950 Ultra to outperform the previous NVIDIA
performance champion, the GeForce FX 5900 Ultra.
The aforementioned points have allowed NVIDIA's GeForce FX 5950 Ultra to
trade jabs with ATI's Radeon 9800 XT in head-to-head comparisons. This has been
a long time coming. Kudos to NVIDIA for not giving up on their NV3X series, as
at some points it seemed they were totally outclassed by ATI's Radeon 9700 and
9800 series. Here's hoping the good times continue to roll for both companies as
the graphics market has finally become interesting once again.