I was able to push the core and memory clock speeds by 45MHz and 100MHz over the default settings. Results from running selected benchmarks with the Zeus 5700 Ultra clocked at 520MHz and 1000MHz are shown below.
Overclocking Benchmark Results
The results are typical for most GeForce FX based graphics cards as overclocking generally increases performance by 5-15%.
The Zeus 5700 Ultra offers great performance in the mid-range and with an impressive game bundle, Galaxy appears to have all the necessary ingredients for a hot selling product. Unfortunately, a cloud of uncertainty looms over the future value of the GeForce FX 5700 Ultra with the GeForce FX 5900 ST and GeForce FX 5900 SE. In the United States, the pricing barometer for on-line purchasing is largely dictated by Newegg.
Galaxy's Zeus 5700 Ultra
At this time, the average selling price of the GeForce FX 5700 Ultra is $194 at Newegg. The GeForce FX 5900 ST and GeForce FX 5900 SE are selling for around the same price and with a 256-bit memory bus, will provide a significant increase in performance over the GeForce FX 5700 Ultra when antialiasing is used - especially at resolutions greater than 1024x768. However, if Galaxy were planning to adopt variants of the GeForce FX 5900, it will take a few months before actual products would appear on the market.
FARCRY BONUS COVERAGE
By: Mike Chambers
Thanks to Kal for his excellent review. Having been an avid gamer like Kal, there are times when a demo is released that really inspires me. Although I tested using a reference GeForce FX 5700 Ultra, I think Galaxy would welcome this bonus coverage.
Having recently assembled a mid-range system that uses a GeForce FX 5700 Ultra, I felt that this review was a perfect opportunity to cover the demo of FarCry, which was released last Friday. During this time, the FarCry demo has been receiving quite a bit of positive feedback in our Game Forum thread. FarCry, which is scheduled to be released during the first half of 2004, is being developed by CryTek Studios, who impressed many of us with their X-Isle: Dinosaur Island technology demo for the GeForce3.
Note that the full size images from the following three large thumbnails were taken at a resolution of 1024x768 with 8XS antialiasing and 8X anisotropic filtering. Of course the game was chugging along at 10 frames per second, but hey, the quality is pretty amazing!
Following the debut of X-Isle, Crytek continued to refine their CryENGINE to a point where it was used to deliver a demo of FarCry. CryENGINE is a full-featured and robust software package that can be used to develop state-of-the-art 3D applications and games across multiple gaming platforms.
The CryENGINE toolkit features a real-time game editing module, a 3D rendering system that supports the latest graphics hardware, animation, artificial intelligence, and physics systems, music and audio systems, networking, scripting, and integration with 3ds max and Maya. This video (19.2 MB) from Crytek illustrates the capabilities and features of the CryENGINE and its influence in the development of FarCry.
CryENGINE supports DirectX 8/9 and OpenGL on the PC as well as the big three console systems - GameCube, Playstation 2, and Xbox. Many of the special effects of the rendering system can be seen in the FarCry demo although some of them can only be enabled through the console. The effects consist of real-time per-pixel lighting, bumpy reflections, refractions, animated textures, bullet holes, and shiny surfaces.
Shadows are generated from a combination of precalculated, real-time shadows, stencil shadows and lightmaps. CryENGINE also has an advanced particle system, volumetric lighting, fog, and a terrain system capable of generating massively complex environments. FarCry is making use of the features that were designed into the latest graphics hardware from NVIDIA and ATI.
I created a gameplay scenario to measure FarCry performance, which is partially shown in the series of checkpoint images in the tables below. The game begins with the player in a boat, which I navigated straight ahead towards the island. Upon reaching the shore, I exited the boat and took the path on my right to approach the enemy complex. I stopped at the area shown in the third checkpoint and took aim and shot at the heads of the two enemies that are positioned behind the large crate. Additional enemies entered the gunfight from the left as I moved forward towards the crate. Once I made it to the crate, I used it for cover and tried to keep the gunfight confined to the immediate area.
FarCry Gameplay Scenario - Checkpoints 1 - 4
After eliminating the enemy, I entered the building, shown in checkpoint three, from the side door and picked up a gun that was lying on the shelf. I moved into the adjacent room and picked up a hand grenade and a health kit and then exited the building. I turned to the right and proceeded to the hut shown in checkpoint 7. I eliminated the enemy as I made my way up the ramp and entered the hut. The test concluded after looking at the tall mountain from the rear of the hut.
FarCry Gameplay Scenario - Checkpoints 5 - 8
Gameplay tests were conducted on two systems:
GeForce FX 5700 Ultra and Athlon XP 1800+ with 512MB of RAM
GeForce FX 5950 Ultra and Athlon XP 3000+ with 1GB of RAM
The overall graphics settings in FarCry consist of auto detect, low, medium, high, and very high. With the exception of auto detect, the individual graphics settings are assigned the same value as the overall graphics setting. For example, when the overall graphics setting is assigned a value of medium, each individual graphics setting is also assigned a value of medium. However, each individual graphics setting can be modified to a value that is different from the overall graphics setting. The following table lists the auto detect settings that FarCry assigned to each of the tests systems.
FarCry Auto Detect Graphics Settings
Individual Graphics Setting
GeForce FX 5700 Ultra / Athlon XP 1800+
GeForce FX 5950 Ultra / Athlon XP 3000+
Texture Filter Quality
Special Effects Quality
The texture filtering quality is based on the r_texture_anisotropic_level variable and is assigned as follows on the GeForce FX:
r_texture_anisotropic_level of 1 - Medium
r_texture_anisotropic_level of 2 - High
r_texture_anisotropic_level of 4 - Very High
r_texture_anisotropic_level of 8 - Custom
High quality music and EAX sound were enabled. Gameplay tests were done at a resolution of 1024x768 and lists results that I felt were playable. The results are based on using the overall FarCry graphics quality setting along with various levels of antialiasing and application controlled anisotropic filtering. The logging feature in FRAPS was used to capture the average and minimum frame rates.
FarCry Gameplay Benchmarks
It is evident by the results that the FarCry demo is pushing both of these systems to the limit at the respective graphics settings. Even with high quality graphics settings at 1024x768 with no antialiasing and no anisotropic filtering, the game is barely playable on the GeForce FX 5950 Ultra. However, the image quality in FarCry using the low quality setting is quite good.
It appears as though FarCry will be the type of game that we have been craving to stress our high-end hardware. Based on the games that are scheduled to debut in 2004, we can expect to see compelling graphics techniques being used that rely on the bleeding edge of technology. Along with FarCry, these games will be responsible for advancing the hardware industry forward.