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!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
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

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Tom Sellers

MSI P65

This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang

MSI GT76

It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?