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Chaintech FX5600 Ultra A-FX71 Chaintech FX5600 Ultra A-FX71: We got our hands on Chaintech's mainstream video card offering. Although it's based on the FX5600 Ultra, it certainly doesn't look like a mid-range card.

Date: November 13, 2003
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If you are looking for a nice 'gaming' pack to be included, look elsewhere. Oh, they did include Max Payne, Serious Sam 2, MDK2 and a few others, but only MDK2 was not a Demo. This didn't bother me much; if I had wanted any of those games (I have SS2) I would have already purchased them. Chaintech included some nice application software from InterVideo and these are all full versions. The set includes WinProducer 3 (Capture video, Burn VCD's and make MPEG-4 movies), WinRip (along the lines of Winamp, with Karaoke features built in), WinDVD Creator (easily make DVD's from captured video), and WinDVD 4 (DVD / SVCD / VCD player).

Now that I have the goodies taken care of, lets plug the Apogee FX 71 in and get it all connected. As you can see, she takes up some room, and I almost forgot to plug in the external power source. Doh. Once fired up, I notice that there is a blue diode in there, imagine that, it matches my case too.

At the beginning, we installed the drivers that came with the CD. The drivers included were nVidia Detonator's V 43.51. I started to run some tests, and the performance was not up to par with what I thought they should be. Hell, it wasn't even beating my old ATI 9000 Pro in the Quake 3 benchmark. Knowing that CDs normally ship older drivers, I headed over to nVidia's site for some updated drivers. I found, and installed nVidia'swhich were Detonator V. 45.23, not that far ahead on the cd drivers as I thought. I ran a few more tests and received almost identical results.

I did the usual troubleshooting, checked for IRQ conflicts and the like, everything seemed in order. Talking with a few friends it was recommended I up the AGP slot voltage. I upped the voltage to 1.6V, and viola, she starts humming along nicely. This was the same problem Hubert reported running his XFX on the ABIT NF7-S Rev 2.0.

Moving from an ATI Radeon 9000 Pro 128MB DDR, to the FX 5600 Ultra, I expected a larger improvement than what I saw. I noticed an improvement in DVD playback as well as Quake 3 and some of the DirectX 8 (UT 2k3) games, but games such as Call of Duty and Splinter Cell where mere ½ steps, if that, above the 9000 Pro.

Test Setup

The system behind the test is as follows: ABIT IC7 Canterwood / Intel P4 2.4C / 1GB OCZ PC3200 DDR / Samsung 80GB UDMA100 / Windows XP SP1 and pre-SP2 hotfixes.

Test Software will be:

Specviewperf
Unreal Tournament 2003
Splinter Cell
Return to Castle Wolfenstein

The comparison video card will be the XFX 5600 Ultra.

SpecViewPerf7

Video cards aren't just for fun and games, and I'm sure some developers and multimedia authors are curious about how the FX5600 Ultra would do in a professional OpenGL environment.

Both cards are evenly matched, which is expected as they use the same GPU.

Return To Castle Wolfenstein, 1024x768

Powered by the Quake III engine, albeit modified, we use the Checkpoint demo. This demo is loaded with multiplayer action and explosions galore to help test out our cards.

Wolfensteins checkpoint is a very intense Quake III engine test, the Apogee FX71 handles it fairly well... if you keep AA/AF off.

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