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 - Thursday, October 23, 2003 - link

    All I can say is good-bye and good riddance to Anandtech. HardOCP cleaned up their act. It's time for a house cleaning here.

    Delete ...
  • Anonymous User - Thursday, October 23, 2003 - link

    Alrighty, #7 I really hope that you don't trust those numbers you posted and would discount anything of that nature as pure BS after seeing the graphs.

    (e.g. Some of the differences in the performance of all the cards was less than 10 percent on many of the DX8 test, and your percentages are incredibly ludicris...I dunno, maybe your ATI renders funny graphs)

    The point is that nVidia has finally released a card that is competitive and in some cases superior to other technology. Derek isn't saying "nVidia wins", but more like "nVidia is finally starting to come around." The Final Word comments are strictly by his experience, do you have one of these cards? will your opinion of the IQ differ from mine?

    I think the greatest comment and truest is the one posted in all of the latest graphix card articles: "Wait until your game comes out to buy a new card". It seems like all the lemmings out there are so anxious to throw away there money to have the fastest thing on the market that they seriously get their feelings hurt by the prospect that what they want may not be the best. As an nVidiot myself, I am glad to see the Geforce line of cards starting to come around and admit that the Radeon 9700 Pro is definitely the greatest piece of hardware created since the Geforce 3 quite a few years ago. I am glad both companies are staying competitive, but will always root for my favorite team.

    Make no mistake, fuzzy math is about as logical as strategery. And some of you guys really need a life.

    -The Ways
  • Anonymous User - Thursday, October 23, 2003 - link

    #49, i hate to tell you but basically all optimizations and new filtering methods only apply to FX cards Reply
  • Anonymous User - Thursday, October 23, 2003 - link

    The message is clear--
    Oh, wait, it's not. I personally like nVidia's products, and am leery to jump to ATI, because I've heard lots of horror stories about the Cats completely screwing up a system. Yeah, I know that the Dets are supposed to be "Cheatenators" if you listen to fanATIcs, but I haven't had any complaints about my gameplaying using my overclocked Ti4200 in Halo, UT2k3, or Max Payne 2...
    I'm glad to see nVidia pushing out a decent DX9 midrange card, but I'm not glad to see it not taking the performance crown and almost LOSING to a card that's a full generation behind it in API support!! Not to mention that the 5700 will be obsolete and pretty much bargain basement by the time the games that matter in DX9 come out, like HL2 and Doom3...
    So, the message is NOT clear. The winner remains to be seen, because this review is not finished, nor is the 5700 the last card nVidia's ever going to make. When we see NV40 and R420, then we can talk about the message being clear. Until then, it's all very fuzzy and dependant on which company you trust more... Well, that and how cheap the card is. :P
  • Anonymous User - Thursday, October 23, 2003 - link

    Did anyone else notice in the Nvidia PDF that the Det 50's offer AMD64 support? This sounds to me like it can work in a 64bit operating system. Am I wrong about this? It says it on page 19 of the PDF. Reply
  • Anonymous User - Thursday, October 23, 2003 - link

    #45 it would be simple. when you click on an image to compare, just make the images pop-up in a little box, kind of like this comments box.

    also, maybe instead of making a conclusion at the end of the review, it might have been better to say "to be continued" or something like that.

    i kind of agree with what others are saying, how can you recommend something if you have only run half the tests so far...? seems like the conclusion came a little premature...

    what happens if ati comes out on top in the 2nd round of iq tests?

    will the recommendation get flip-flopped?

  • sandorski - Thursday, October 23, 2003 - link

    It's nice to see Nvidia competing on performance again. However, these visual anomalies and jerkiness gives pause.

    Re Final Word: It seems rather odd that such statements would be made after the first part of a 2 part review, especially when the first part brings up some potentially serious issues that the second part will examine further.
  • Anonymous User - Thursday, October 23, 2003 - link


    uhm... tell me how Derek can do that? when the screen real estate is obviously taken over by those funky ads ;) No way! sponsors first! they paid for that space. We just have to learn to squint. those graphs look colorful though, i might add.

    even if the game stutters when i play or i see artifacts i will sure be reminded by those graphs and continue to be inpired. wooohoooooooooooo!
  • Anonymous User - Thursday, October 23, 2003 - link

    The 5900 non-ultra at $220 looks like a better deal.

  • Anonymous User - Thursday, October 23, 2003 - link

    I don't think it's right to make any recommendation unless IQ and Framerates are taken into consideration. And not the little bitty screenshots that I had to squint at from the last review.

    Derek, it would help if you made the screencaps larger, and made them animated so that the differences could be seen. For instance, someone put the images you used for that F1 Racer sim in a gif. Looking at the images side by side for the 51.xx drivers, the 45.xx drivers, and the ATI 3.7 drivers, I couldn't see a difference.

    However, once the animated graphic was made, the difference was EXTREMELY apparent that the 3.7 and 45.xx drivers were heads above the 51.xx drivers. Yet in your conclusion you said that there were no palpable differences between the graphics.

    I think what people are trying to say is that you guys can do better than this, and we expect that from you. I know I certainly do.


    Long time AT reader

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