The release of new ForceWare 52.16 driver has essentially changed the alignment of forces both in the high-end boards and in the mid- and low-end niches of the market. At that, the ASUS V9950 (NVIDIA GeForce FX 5900) graphic board reviewed today is the most indicative.
Synthetic benchmarks that make active use of pixel and vertex shader processing techniques unanimously report of a substantial rise in operation speed for NVIDIA GeForce FX 5900 (as well as all the boards of the GeForce FX family) at handling shaders. The rise is especially noticeable in processing shaders of version 2.0, which has always been a bottleneck for boards built on NVIDIA GeForce FX chips. Nevertheless, at synthetic benchmarks GeForce FX 5900 boards even with ForceWare 52.16 installed can't compete on par with ATI Radeon 9800. Note that such an alignment of forces in synthetics is caused primarily due to that the synthetic benchmarks used by us are built on the Microsoft HLSL (High Level Shader Language), while ATI boards, as we mentioned it in the theoretical part of our review, handle them much more efficiently than NVIDIA boards do for which the ideal option is the customized approach in writing shader programs for the architecture of GeForce FX boards. Boards built on the GeForce FX chips handle the standard DirectX 9.0 code much worse than ATI Radeon boards do, and the new NVIDIA drives doesn't change the situation radically, but merely reduces the gap slightly.
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