I agree that the 50-series driver(s) work well for the nV30 series cards in general. That being said, I recall having similar issues with severe 'throttling' when using the 60-series driver on the nV30s, and if I remember, the solution was to install Rivatuner/ check box to allow overclocking of the 'low power 3D mode'/ set the 'low power 3D' core and memory clocks the same as the regular 3D clocks...
I have been using these settings on the 5800Ultra for a while, and the 61.77 driver. I went through all of the trouble because this driver (and above) are needed to run Doom3 as there is a substantial framerate increase over the 50-series driver in relation to that particular game...
I think that might only be with your 5800 Ultra. My brother owned a 5200 and he got better performance with the newer 6x.xx drivers than the 5x.xx series. I don't think that this driver thing is experienced across the whole line of FX cards- only a few instead. I know that drivers version 56.55 and 56.72 DO work best for the 5950 Ultra, whether that holds true for any other GFFX I'm not certain as it WASN'T true for my brothers 5200 nor my friend's 5700LE.
Seahawk, your system is ROUGHLY the equivalent of mine (I'm running an A64 2800 on an ASUS K8V SE Dlx- s754). I've never played BF2 before, I don't do multiplayer gaming (not yet anyways
). I'd assume that if you ran at 1024x768 with 2xQ or 4xAA and 8xAF (I've never seen AF affect performance with this card, FSAA sure does though) with medium to high IQ settings it should run fine. Beyond that I wouldn't expect.
I could run Doom3 at 1280x1024 with 4xAA and 8xAF and maxed IQ settings (save for that "Ultra" setting- that was only at "high") and I averaged 45fps approximately. It peaked just above 60. HL2 is the same except that the IQ was LITTERALLY maxed. And VSYNC was enabled as well, still got around 80fps, peaking at just over 100 periodically. The only part I really noticed a slow down was at the end of HL2 when you are on the "Tram-Thing" in the citadel. Then I had to drop the resolution down to 1024x768 in order for it to run "smooth" (45+ fps in my opinion).
FarCry does seem to give my card a run for its money. If I disable AA I can play the game with maxed IQ setting at 1600x1200 and still get 45+ fps. But as soon as I enable FSAA and/or VSYNCE, that resolution HAS to be 1024x768. And even then it will sometimes drop below 30fps. The ONLY fail safe resolution with FSAA @ 4x is 800x600. Then again, I don't get the impression that other people are experiencing this with their 5950s- so maybe it is limited to ASUS V9980 Ultras or just my card. Hard to say. It plays and that's all I care about.