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XFX, a division of Pine Group, is a Hong Kong based company that specializes in video cards and motherboards for the gaming professional. This is important to know since many of the XFX products are enhanced to increase performance particularly in the gaming arena. One of the latest products to be released is a new FX 5700 Ultra video card with dual DVI connections and 128megs of GDDR3. XFX was one of the first companies to announce their migration to GDDR3 so lets see how it stacks up.
XFX has typically used the nVidia reference heatsinks on their cards claiming that they are good enough and do not require replacement. I would tend to agree, they work quite well but are rather noisy by comparison.
The PCB layout is based on the nVidia reference design with the only addition being the blue PCB.
Despite the lack of memory on the backside of the card you will find a heatsink installed. This threw me off at first thinking that this was a DDR2 version card though the lack of memory is a dead giveaway. It would seem that rubber pads were used in place of memory chips to help hold the heatsink in place and complete the installation.
Removing the GPU cooler isn't necessary but taking stuff apart is half the fun of reviewing hardware, besides it gives you a chance to see how each company chooses to assemble their products. XFX has gone with the enthusiast approved thermal grease approach. The thermal pad looking patch is actually thickened thermal grease though as you can see there is very little grease left on the GPU meaning there is a good connection between the cooler and GPU. Like always, before reassembly the grease was cleaned off and replaced with Artic Silver 3.
It has been confirmed, this is a GeForce card is using the FX 5700 Ultra GPU and Samsung K4J55323QF-GC20 500MHz GDDR3 memory.
Aside from the nVidia Quadro the XFX 5700 Ultra is one of the few video cards around that comes standard with DVI exclusive video connections. Granted other mfgs have opted for dual DVI output but the move thus far has been isolated to the FX 5700 Ultra. This almost gives you the impression that nVidia is targeting the FX 5700 Ultra as a mid-range workstation class card instead of a hot rod gaming part.
The included care package features 2 video cables, 1 video splitter for VIVO compatibility, and 2 XFX branded DVI to D-SUB adaptors. These are important if you still prefer running CRTs (like me). The included software is a little on the light side that includes 3 games, installation CD, user manuals, and a cool little warning about dangerously awesome graphics.
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