Introduction:


 

It's been a while since SLCentral has had a video card to review, but XFX have given us something to quench our thirst. Meet their FX5700 Ultra with DDR3 and dual digital output. This is the first dual digital output card that I have seen in a long while and while the FX5700 Ultra isn't known to be the fastest mid-range card, the dual digital output certainly gives it an advantage. Especially for someone who mainly uses their computer for work, but would also like the ability to play their favorite games at respectable frame rates.

Specs from their site:
128MB DDR3 (128-bit) memory
GPU Frequency (MHz):475
Graphics Core:256-bit
Memory Interface:128MB DDR3 (128-bit)
Effective Memory Clock Rate: 1GHz
RAMDACs (MHz) (each have 2 RAMDAC): 400

Monitor support:
Dual DVI-Out digital output (for attaching LCD Monitors)
DVI to VGA adapters included (for attaching analog CRT monitors)

Display support:
Dual DVI-Out for sharp LCD monitor output (DVI to VGA adapters included for use with analog CRT displays)
Video in module provides connectivity to VCR/Camcorder to allow for video input and capture
Video out Module enabling big-screen gaming, digital timeshifting VCR, and video-editing applications

Warranty: 2 years



Layout:

So what's the deal with this DDR3 and why is it better than the old DDR memory? The main reason is that lower voltage is needed to get this baby cookin'. Less electricity running through it means less heat, less heat means it can be [over]clocked higher. With this said we can expect to see some nice overclocking results, but lets save that for later.

Props to XFX for their box. I know it may not be a big deal, but the box looks damn cool. Plus its fun to open. Meow.

If their is one thing I like in a company, its a sense of humor. This 'X' covers the packaging in side of the box.

Here is the package. The software included is Commandos 3, Black Hawk Down, Moto GP racing, and the driver disc. It also comes with two analog->DVI converters and two video cables.

The heatsink&fan unit is very slick, sporting the XFX and NVIDIA logos. It is also very large, covering not only the processor but also the on-board memory as well.

The back of the card reveals another large heatsink to cover the backs of the on-board memory and is another place to find the XFX logo.

Ah yes. The dual digital outputs. Yum.

Benchmarks:

The Testing Rig

Athlon 64 3200+
FIC K8-800T
512MB Kingston HyperX memory
Maxtor 120GB 7200RPM 8MB cache
300W Power Supply

The 5700 Ultra will be compared against the 9800 Pro and 9600XT . The Radeons are using CATALYST 4.5 drivers and the FX5700 is using Nvidia's 56.72 drivers.

Overclocking:

To overclock the 5700U, I downloaded the hidden features patch found here. This enables overclocking to be done with NVIDIA's own FORCEWARE drivers. The default core clock speed of the 5700U is 475MHz and the effective memory clock is at 1GHz. I noticed a 'Auto Detect' button on the control panel of the overclocking software and decided to find out what it does. Turns out, it overclocked the 5700U for me. However, since they are settings that NVIDIA feels are ok, they happen to be a bit on the safe side. We all know safe != (does not equal, for the non-programmers) fun nor does it mean its maxing out its potential for performance. So I took matters into my own hands and got the 5700U clock speeds up to 540MHz/1.11GHz. The benchmark results of the overclocked 5700U are below.

 

Conclusions:

As yes, the conclusion. The performance of the 5700 Ultra was very neck and neck with the 9600XT- each had its own small victories over the other.  I was very pleased with the increase in clock speed of the already highly-clocked memory. As stated earlier, the DDR3 allows the card to use less juice than the old memory, making it a better choice over the old 5700 Ultra. It also allowed for better benchmarking speeds and results over the original 5700 Ultra. With that said, if you like to tinker with your hardware or are looking for a great dual digital output card with the ability to do some gaming, I highly suggest you pick one of these puppies up. Lets break it down..
 

The Good

The Bad

 

SLRating: 9.5 / 10



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