Sparkle Geforce FX 5700 Ultra Review

Videocards/VGA Reviews by Gamer @ 2004-01-16

We take a look at the Sparkle FX5700Ultra Platinum edition (SP8836U-PT), it improves upon nVidia's FX 5600 Ultra, while sporting ViVo features. Pitting it against the Radeon 9800 Pro to see how it holds up in popular benchmarks and games!

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Introduction & Specs


Today will be taking a look at Sparkle's latest mid-class video card: the FX5700 Ultra. This card promises to bring good DX9 gameplay, while not costing an arm and a leg.

Madshrimps (c)

To understand how nVidia ended up with the FX5700 series, we have to take a look back at their product line-up. From the beginning nVidia was catering to the high-end and medium/low-end. The first Geforce used SDR memory and gave good overall performance, for those with a larger budget nVidia soon released the Geforce DDR. They saw their product becoming popular in a very short period; their next upgrade increased their line-up even more. Geforce 2 GTS for the gamer out there and the Geforce 2 Ultra for the rich gamers! Not long after they introduced two extra GF2, the GF2 Pro fitted right between the GTS and the Ultra, while the GF2 MX was aimed at the budget gamer. The MX split up not long after, the MX100/200/400 was born, the MX400 outperforming the original MX and the MX200 performing a wee bit slower. This was not the end still, as the Geforce 2 product line received a new companion in the form of a Geforce 2 Ti which performed on par with the Pro/Ultra of the series.

Original Geforce Line-Up:
* Geforce SDR
* Geforce DDR

Geforce 2 Line-Up:
* Geforce 2 MX100
* Geforce 2 MX200
* Geforce 2 MX
* Geforce 2 GTS
* Geforce 2 Pro
* Geforce 2 Ti
* Geforce 2 Ultra

The next product update nVidia introduced was the Geforce 3. ATI's R8500 which proved to be one of the first ATI cards able to keep up with the competition, forced nVidia to bring out an "updated" version of their GF3. The Geforce 3 Ti500 took for the high end, the Geforce 3 Ti200 for the medium-end.

Geforce 3 Line-Up:
* Geforce 3 Ti200
* Geforce 3
* Geforce 3 Ti500

We did not have to wait long for the next step up, the Geforce 4, this line-up comes close to the Geforce 2 series:

Geforce 4 Line-Up:
* Geforce 4 MX420
* Geforce 4 MX440
* Geforce 4 MX460
* Geforce 4 Ti4200
* Geforce 4 Ti4400
* Geforce 4 Ti4600

And here we arrive at nVidia's current Geforce series, the FX. Firstly introduced sporting DDR-II and an extravagant cooling system , The FX5800 Ultra did not deliver what it promised it was no ATI killer and the cooling system was louder then most 60mm delta fans! nVidia quickly went back to drawing boards and came up with a "winner": better performance, quieter cooling, lower production costs, The Geforce FX 5900 Ultra (which recently got a speed bump, FX5950 Ultra).

This is were the whole naming scheme becomes quite confusing, nVidia started using product names similar to that of their competition, but instead of them defining high/low end products they switched it around. The Geforce FX 5900XT is a low-end 5900 for example.

Geforce FX Line-Up:
* Geforce FX 5200
* Geforce FX 5200 Ultra
* Geforce FX 5600XT
* Geforce FX 5600
* Geforce FX 5600 Ultra
* Geforce FX 5700
* Geforce FX 5700 Ultra
* Geforce FX 5800
* Geforce FX 5800 Ultra
* Geforce FX 5900XT
* Geforce FX 5900
* Geforce FX 5900 Ultra
* Geforce FX 5950 Ultra

The products in italic were replaced by the FX5700 and FX5900 respectively. The FX 5600 was aimed for the budget gamer out there, but it failed to deliver acceptable performance in both DX8&DX9 games, its successor is what we have in our test-lab today.

The Geforce FX 5700 Ultra is a promising video card as we take a closer look at the specifications:

Chipset : NVIDIA GeForce FX 5700 Ultra
Core Clock : 475 MHz
Memory Type : 128 MB DDR II
Memory Clock : 900 MHz DDR
Memory Interface : 256 bit
RAMDAC : 400 MHz
Bus Type: AGP 8X / 4X / 2X

The RAMDAC of 400Mhz gives you high quality 2D images, while the core/memory clocks are respectable, 256-bit memory interface to the 128Mb of DDRII modules promise a high bandwidth.

Madshrimps (c)

On the functional side of things we have D-Sub & DVI connectors, a TV-out and last but not least VideoIn/VideoOut.

Sparkle included everything needed to get the video card installed and hooked up:

Madshrimps (c)

- 1-1 S-video Cable
- 4-Pin Power Pass-through Cable
- DVI-CRT Adapter
- SCART Adapter

Let's take a closer look at the Sparkle FX5700 Ultra ->
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