Page 1 - The Introduction
Gainward FX Powerpack - GeForce FX 5900 128 MB
Model: Ultra:1200 XP - Golden Sample
Known for their reputation of building high-quality and feature rich graphics cards today we will test a new product from the lads at Gainward. If I recall correctly the last product we have tested from them was their GeForce4 Ti 4200. Well, it was about time for a new Gainward review for sure.
Let me start of by saying that Gainward has a habit of choosing way too long and confusing names for their product line-up. They did it again. Here we go, grab a hold of something: Gainward FX Powerpack GeForce FX 5900 128 MB Golden Sample Ultra/1200 XP
Not only is such a name a mile or eight too long, it's also (in this case) a tad misleading. You notice that Ultra/1200 XP ? This product is not a GeForce FX 5900 Ultra .. it's a GeForce FX 5900 with 3D core clock of 400 MHZ and 850 MHz frequency for it's memory. The Ultra version should run at 450 MHz.. So if you walk by that store and see the shiny box that spills the words 5900 - Ultra - golden sample .. that stuff sells ! The consumer thinks he/she bought an Ultra for a cheaper price. Let's hear what Gainward has to say about this:
Our FX5900 Ultra, FX5900, FX5600 Ultra, FX5600, GF4 Ti4600, GF4 Ti4800SE, GF4 Ti4400, GF4 Ti4200-8X, GF4 Ti4200 -based cards are our "Ultra" series. Our FX5200, MX460, MX440-8X, MX440, MX440SE based cards are our "Pro" series.
The sticker clearly indicates "Model Ultra/1200 XP". That's the model name of the card. The sticker also clearly indicates that it is based on a "GeForce FX 5900" graphics processor. On the front of the box you can also clearly see the official nVIDIA logo GeForceFX 5900.
No doubt possible.
No doubt possible ... Right. Let's take a good look at that box shall we:
Well, it must be me then. Let me explain this a bit less tactful as I usually do. It's my job as journalist to make you guys aware of stuff like this, this definitely would not be my way of marketing a product as it's confusing, period. You've been told/explained, it's not a really big issue, but it is something that I think is not 100% right. But that's just my opinion of course. So now you know the difference even better, end of topic, move on.
Golden sample ... but the friggin thing is red I hear you say ! Let me explain, next to their normal products Gainward has a Golden Sample series. The Golden Samples are actually built to run at higher than reference settings thus are made for the tweakers among us, and there are many of us right;). Gainward can only identify the Golden Sample cards by performance testing of each card. If it passes that test, then it is a Golden Sample and if not it becomes a standard product .
That being said .. wow what a beautiful card. Gainward does have the reputation of going the extra mile when is comes to new cooling solutions and PCB design. The GeForce FX 5900 produced around a GPU that is profiled as Cinematic GPU as it is capable of bringing cinematic visual effects on your PC with the combination of some brutal power and an excellent feature set. The CineFX GPU is of course a capable of utilizing DirectX9 Pixel Shaders 2.0+, Vertex Shader 2.0+ and OpenGL. Basically this product is in the high-end range and offers with it's 8 pixel pipeline a lot of gaming pleasure for your money. Nice red PCB, excellent cooling solution which is volume/noise wise normal and a product that is cheaper than the biggest flagship, the Ultra. On the other hand this version is clocked a tad slower and of course 'only' has 128 MB memory yet is using that excellent 256-bit memory bus thus leaves heaps of memory bandwidth. bare in mind that we expect a value GeForce FX 5900 with 128-bit memory bus somewhere in the future also. Make no mistake .. this is the 256-bit version. Will there be a significant performance decrease over the ultra model ? We'll take this puppy to the test alright ;)