Lately it's harder to draw wide ranging conclusions from a narrow set of benchmarks like ours. We hope to add more benchmarks to our suite, including MS Flight Simulator 2004 and Max Payne 2: The Fall of Max Payne.
One area where we'd like to explore further is Tomb Raider: Angel of Darkness. You're going to see a LOT of sites benchmarking with this game because ATI highly recommends it to their reviewers. Tomb Raider: AOD is an interesting title because previous benchmarks show the FX5900 to have nearly HALF the framerates as the 9800XT. Yikes. So in a follow up article we're going to include AOD in our suite just to see just how things have changed with the 52.16 Detonator drivers and the FX5950. Don't forget too that ATI is still looking to send us a 9800XT for a real head to head comparison between the two cards.
As far as conclusions go it's very obvious that the FX5950 is the right direction for Nvidia. Their 0.13micron process allows them to push higher speeds, and their research into cooling technologies has at least rendered their cooling solution a very quiet, if still large device. The FX5950 is definitely a performance demon that can put as much as a 15% performance increase over the FX5900, though for the most part it only beats out its older counterpart by around 5%. Compared to the 9800 series of cards we can only draw conclusions vis a vis the 9800PRO and 9800PRO performance @ 412Mhz/702Mhz. The FX5950 in that comparison can't be said to be doing too badly. Even AquaMark 3, an ATI endorsed benchmark, shows the FX5950 to be MUCH stronger than our 9800PRO with AA and AF disabled, though the story changes dramatically once those features are enabled.
Perhaps Nvidia lovers will take heart with the fact that at least our Jedi Academy results show the FX5950 to unquestionably leave its competition in the dust in ALL tested scenarios, with or without AA/AF, and at any resolution. The lead that the FX5950 had in those benchmarks is nearly as sweet a victory for Nvidia as ATI's 98800PRO lead over the Nvidia FX5900 in previously published Tomb Raider: Angel of Darkness benchmarks.
With all this in consideration, we'll withold final judgement until we've had a chance to put the FX5950 AND the 9800XT through more benchmarks. However, until then, we can say that the FX5950 does not disappoint, and that it will make a good stocking stuffer for many gamers this season.
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