Mid-range wollop from a UK newcomer
Ever heard of Point of View? If you're resident in the U.K. like me, your reply will more than likely have been the same as mine: Point of Who? Long time retailers of NVIDIA-based goodness in various other European countries, PoV have recently made the jump into the U.K. and now actively pimp their wares here.
I'll skip talk on the company for a separate interview with their helpful PR chap, Matthew Lord, but suffice to say they know their stuff and they're keen to emphasise that they put the effort in with their products, differentiating them from the mass of generics you can pick up today.
Given that bold statement, can they lift their graphics cards up above the mass of equivalent offerings? We'll soon find out.
With a range of cards either in production for a while now, just released at CeBit, or in development for imminent release, they aim to offer products at all the major market points. Three guesses from the review title what board they sent across.
NVIDIA's 5900XT is a curious product, as Tarinder explained in his review of AOpen's 5900XT board. 5900XT as specced by NVIDIA means an NV35 GPU, as seen with the original GeForce FX 5900 and 5900 Ultra releases, clocked at 390MHz and using memory capable of 700MHz.
With NV35 having four pixel pipelines, two texture units per pipeline, 256-bit memory bus, DX9 compliance by way of Shader Model 2.0+ support (however mediocre that impressive feature might be in actual use), FP32 texture format support in its shader units, 0.13u process and the other defining features, 5900XT is nothing more than a lower clocked 'regular' 5900.
The clocks mean 1560Mpixels/sec of pixel pushing power, 3120Mtexels/sec of multitexture performance and a staggering 22.4GB/sec of memory bandwidth. With a resolutely mid-range price tag, 5900XT competes against NVIDIA's now stillborn 5700 Ultra part and ATI's mid-range 9600-series parts, particularly the 9600 Pro and 9600XT.
5700 Ultra is stillborn precisely due to 5900XT nearly matching its pixel performance, having almost double the texturing performance and being blessed with gobs more memory bandwidth due to the memory bus width. Cheaper DRAM parts on the 5900XT boards themselves also help, which combined with the near identical price, hammer the final nails into its coffin. It's a strange in-house slaying, but one most people will be happy to live with, given the on-paper performance of the 5900XT and its target cost.
So Point of View sent over their 5900XT card with the catchy title of Point of View GeForce FX 5900XT, and that's what's under the microscope.
A quick basic feature comparison with it's main rivals before we turn the page.
|PoV GeForce FX 5900XT||GeForce FX 5700 Ultra||ATI Radeon 9600XT|
|Memory Clock||700MHz DDR||900MHz DDR||675MHz DDR|
|Process||0.13u TSMC (80M transistors)||0.13u IBM (80M transistors)||0.13u TSMC (75M transistors)|
|Memory Bus Width||256-bit||128-bit||128-bit|
|Traditional render setup||4x2||4x1||4x1|