Our introduction to NV36 in the form of the GeForce FX 5700 Ultra has really been a different experience than we expected. We thought we would see similar gains on the 5600 that we saw the 5950 make over the 5900. We also didn't expect NVIDIA to drop the veil they've had on the technical aspects of their products.

From the first benchmark we ran, we knew this would turn out to be a very interesting turn of events. In going down to San Francisco for NVIDIA's Editor's Day event, we had planned on inquiring about just how they were able to extract the performance gains we will reveal in our benchmarks. We got more than we had bargained for when we arrived.

For the past few years, graphics companies haven't been very open about how they build their chips. The fast paced six month product cycle and highly competitive atmosphere (while good for consumers) hasn't been very conducive to in depth discussions of highly protected trade secrets. That's why we were very pleasantly surprised when we learned that NVIDIA would be dropping their guard and letting us in on the way NV35 (including NV36 and NV38) actually works. This also gives us insight into the entire NV3x line of GPUs, and, hopefully, gives us a glimpse into the near future of NVIDIA hardware as well.

Aside from divulging a good amount of technical information, NVIDIA had plenty of developers present (a response to ATI’s Shader Day, no doubt). For the purposes of this article, I would like to stick to the architectural aspects of the day rather than analyzing NVIDIA developer relations. It isn't a secret that NVIDIA spends a great deal of time, energy, and money on assisting game developers in achieving their graphical goals. But we believe that "the proof is in the pudding" so to speak. The important thing to us (and we hope to the general public) isn't which developers like and dislike working with an IHV, but the quality of the end product both parties produce. Truth be told, it is the developer's job to create software that works well on all popular platforms, and its the IHV's job to make sure there is sufficient technical support available for developers to get their job done.

We should note that NVIDIA is launching both the NV36 (GeForce FX 5700 Ultra) and the NV38 (GeForce FX 5950 Ultra) today, but since we have already covered the 5950 in our previous roundups we will focus on the 5700 Ultra exclusively today.

First let us look at the card itself.

The GeForce FX 5700 Ultra
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  • Anonymous User - Saturday, October 25, 2003 - link

    The irregularities ATi's drivers allegedly display in AquaMark 3 and UT2003 require further investigation. Factors such as image quality, driver reliability, and compatibility are hard to convey in a review anyway.
    this is from tom
    so to al the ati lovers here go #"&' yourself
    a few weeks/months ago you guys said that nvidia cheated
    and now ati does you still have a big mouth
    no i am not an nvidia lover
    i am de performance lover ( for me ati maybe change with the nv 40) but you guys AAAARRRGGGGHHHH
    btw i havent read page 4 and 5 too busy
    Reply
  • Anonymous User - Friday, October 24, 2003 - link

    Speaking of the Hardocp review. I did notice on the intial review at nvnews that their screen shot of Halo shows the blinking lights in the hallways that Hardocp said were not there. They are using the 5950 and the latest drivers, so it would seem one of the two sites made a booboo. Reply
  • Anonymous User - Friday, October 24, 2003 - link

    Excuse me, but if a review without an IQ comparions is ok, why even care about video cards at all? If image quality isn't important because yu cant really notice it in games, go buy yourself a geforce3 and knock yourself out, since it will play everything fine and you dont have to worry about image quality because you can even turn it up, how about that?

    And you dont need to zoom in anything to see Nvidia's new filtering method which is now, worse than ATI's. The bilinear filtering is ESPECIALLY noticeable in motion and causes the same kind of effect that aliasing does. Go look in the hardocp for yourself, especially in nascar and flight sim
    Reply
  • Anonymous User - Friday, October 24, 2003 - link

    Wow. Anyone who whines about people demanding actual image quality comparisons is certainly NOT a gamer, or at least not one with decent hardware and eyes.

    I'll school all of your asses at UT and I'm damn sure not going to do it with dynamic detail reduction(TM), not for $200 or more.

    If the IQ differences between the cards are so minimal, why is it readily obvious when playing FS2004 and TR:AOD and UT2003 which card you're playing on? I'll tell you why:
    Because the ground textures on FS2004 look like crap, and trilinear filtering DOES NOT WORK AT ALL AFTER THE FIRST STAGE, REGARDLESS OF APPLICATION OR DRIVER CONTROL SETTINGS in D3D with the FX family.
    Instead, we get slightly improved bilinear that looks visually inferior to trilinear by a mile.

    And you know what?
    It's a lot EASIER to see WHEN YOU"RE PLAYING THE GAME, because the texture 'horizon' is always moving.
    Not that anyone who's fawning over AT would know. An FX5200 ain't gonna show you son.
    Reply
  • Anonymous User - Friday, October 24, 2003 - link

    watchu' talkin'bout willis?!

    watchu' talkin'bout willis?!

    watchu' talkin'bout willis?!



    Reply
  • WooDaddy - Friday, October 24, 2003 - link

    #62, Live, I agree.

    Derek, thanks for the review. I really liked the fact that the Ti4200 was included. REALLY helpful. I think I can hold out for a while. If not, the ATI 9700PRO will be considered.
    Reply
  • Jeff7181 - Friday, October 24, 2003 - link

    Ok... I checked out the other reviews... and HardOCP's results differ from AT's... but Tom's look pretty much the same.
    AT did come up with a different conclusion though, saying the FX5700 is a better buy than the 9600XT. And I agree. I know many of you will get your shorts in a knot about this, but ATI's driver quality still isn't up to par with nVidia's. A friend of mine has had nothing but trouble getting his 9800 Pro to work correctly.
    In my opinion, ATI will have to take a hefty lead in the performance area to make up for the driver problems to get their card into my rig.
    Reply
  • Jeff7181 - Friday, October 24, 2003 - link

    I'll have to take a look at the reviews by other sites... but personally, on my Aopen FX5900 @ 490/950, everything looks great. The quality is better than the 45.23's in my opinion. Taking a look at a still picture that is blown up 400X to compare individual pixels is stupid. What might look worse pixel per pixel may look better at normal size, frame by frame. Reply
  • Anonymous User - Friday, October 24, 2003 - link

    ok..5700ultra seems fine... but i bought 5600ultra 1-2 months ago... what will happen to me... ????
    :(
    Reply
  • Anonymous User - Friday, October 24, 2003 - link

    i think we need a butt pirate joke right about now Reply

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