Get a graphics edge: FX PowerPack Ultra/760 XP Golden Sample

If you want high frame rates but can't stretch your budget to the high-end FX 5800/5900 cards, the ideal option has always been a GeForce 4600 or 4800 chip. With the FX 5600 Ultra chip, NVIDIA and Gainward hope to lure you with the promise of DirectX 9.0 support.

Games that take advantage of the latest version of DirectX can use the 5600's more sophisticated pixel and vertex shaders. They can also pack images with an almost infinite palette of colours, thanks to the 128-bit quality. Unfortunately, though, we have yet to witness the first batch of games that can take full advantage of DirectX 9.0.

Gainward's implementation of the FX 5600 Ultra uses higher core and memory clock speeds than the original specifications, bumping up both figures from 400MHz to 450MHz. This is justified by the superior component quality and the card showed no signs of instability during testing. The host of extras include a FireWire expansion card, video-in/video-out, a video editing/DVD software suite, and WinCinema.

In our Unreal Tournament 2003 and Quake III tests, the 5600 Ultra averaged a 10-20fps lead over the Ti 4200 8x and Radeon 9500/9600 chips at a resolution of 1024x768. At 1600x1200, the lead increased to 15-25fps.

With the Ti 4600/4800 cards, however, the fight is much closer. If anything, the older 4600/4800 boards will be slightly faster at lower resolutions. But turn up the detail levels and bolt on some anti-aliasing, and the 5600 Ultra's extra memory bandwidth gives it the edge. And, of course, for DirectX 9.0 games the older cards simply won't be able to compete.

In brief: Gainward FX PowerPack Ultra/760 XP Golden Sample
It's only a matter of time before the 5600 Ultra replaces the Ti 4600/4800s, and Gainward's board is an excellent implementation. Strong DirectX 9.0 support should see it looking good in the future and it also works as a replacement for a Ti 4200 8x or Radeon 9500/9600.
Price: $399
Distributor: Hallmark Computer International
Phone: (03) 9540 8555
URL: www.hallmark.com.au

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Robin Morris

PC World
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Kurt Hegetschweiler

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?