While the mainstream graphics market continues to be highly competitive, consumers have reaped the benefits of a number of successful products that were based on mid-range graphics processing units (GPUs). Over the past few years, NVIDIA's GeForce4 Ti 4200 was a perfect example of such a product and was critically acclaimed for its price-to-performance ratio.
With the debut of the next generation GeForce FX architecture, NVIDIA targeted the GeForce FX 5600 Ultra as the successor in the mainstream market. While NVIDIA was very successful in delivering DirectX 9 to the masses with the GeForce FX 5200, the GeForce FX 5600 failed to receive the high praise that the GeForce4 Ti 4200 had earned. Seeking to rectify this situation, NVIDIA countered by delivering the GeForce FX 5700 Ultra last October. At that time we examined BFG's Asylum GeForce FX 5700 Ultra. Today we will be reviewing Galaxy's Zeus 5700 Ultra.
Hong Kong Headquarters
Galaxy Technology is a certified NVIDIA Board Partner with headquarters in Hong Kong. Kevin Poon, who is Galaxy's International Director of Sales, furnished nV News with a review sample of the Zeus GeForce FX 5700 Ultra, which was the second unit to come off their manufacturing line.
Of particular interest is that the GeForce FX 5700 Ultra, code named NV36, was manufactured at IBM's plant in East Fishkill, NY. In early 2003, NVIDIA enlisted the services of IBM to become a second supplier of its GPUs, which are also manufactured in Taiwan at the TSMC facility.
NVIDIA GeForce FX 5700 Ultra
256-Bit Graphics Core
128-Bit Memory Interface
4 Pixels Per Clock
475MHz Core Clock
14.4GB/sec Memory Bandwidth
400MHz Dual RAMDAC
NVIDIA CineFX 2.0 Engine
NVIDIA nView Multi-Display Technology
Supports AGP 8X, 4X, And 2X
NVIDIA Digital Vibrance Control 3.0
128-Bit Precision Color
High Quality Anisotropic Filtering
Hardware MPEG-2 Support
DirectX 9.0 and OpenGL 1.4 Support
The Zeus 5700 Ultra operates at a core clock speed of 475MHz and is outfitted with 128MB of DDR2 memory running at 450MHz. Although the NV36 was a refresh of the NV31, which the GeForce 5600 Ultra was based on, NVIDIA added several new features.
The most significant improvement was incorporating the CineFX 2.0 engine. By increasing the number of vertex shader and floating point processing units, DirectX 9-level shader performance was much faster compared to the GeForce FX 5600 Ultra. UltraShadow, which improves stencil shadow performance, was also added to the GeForce FX 5700 Ultra, but the technology has yet to be incorporated in a retail game.
The GeForce FX 5700 Ultra is matched with 128MB of 2.2ns DDR2 memory modules and is clocked at 450MHz giving it a healthy increase in data throughput over the GeForce 5600 Ultra. Data is processed on the GeForce FX 5700 Ultra using a 128-bit memory bus compared to the 256-bit memory bus used on high-end graphics cards from NVIDIA such as the GeForce FX 5900 and 5950.
Along with the graphics card, the package contents included six CD's, a DVI to VGA adapter, a user's manual, an S-Video to RCA cable, and a TV-out cable.
The game bundle was extremely generous. Galaxy bundles full versions of Gun Metal, Chrome, and Moto GP2 with the Zeus 5700 Ultra. Additional software that is included consists of PowerDVD 5 and Power Director 2.5 Value Edition.
Packaging - Front of Box
The Zeus 5700 Ultra is based on NVIDIA’s reference design and requires an external power connection through a Molex cable to the power supply.
Galaxy's Zeus 5700 Ultra
The system I used to test the Zeus 5700 Ultra consists of the following components.
AMD Athlon XP (Barton) 2800+ @2.2GHz
ABIT NF7-S v2.0 nForce2 Ultra 400 Motherboard
1GB Geil Memory (512MB x 2 Sticks)
Philips 170B4 17-Inch LCD Monitor
Maxtor DiamondMax Plus 9 120GB ATA-133 HDD
Lite-On LTC-4816H Combo Drive
NVIDIA nForce 3.13 Drivers
NVIDIA ForceWare 53.03 Drivers
CPU FSB 200MHz (400MHz DDR)
Memory FSB 200MHz (400MHz DDR)
Memory Timings 2.5-3-3-6
Testing was conducted at 1024x768 and 1280x1024
The Image setting under the driver control panel was set to Quality
Vertical sync was disabled
Antialiasing and anisotropic filtering, with the exception of FarCry, were set with the driver control panel