While AnandTech's review of NVIDIA's GeForce FX 5200 and 5600 Ultras isn't the first to hit the web, it's the best so far. Anand compares NVIDIA's latest with its GeForce4 MX 440 and Ti 4200, and ATI's Radeon 9000 and 9500 Pro. As you might expect given the results of early reviews, the Radeon 9500 Pro comes out on top and the GeForce FX 5200 Ultra performs exceptionally well with antialiasing and anisotropic filtering enabled.
At least with antialiasing and anisotropic filtering enabled, the GeForce FX 5200 Ultra should be a budget performance leader, but it turns out that the anisotropic filtering picture isn't so rosy:
When we reviewed the GeForce FX 5800 Ultra we came to the conclusion that NVIDIA's anisotropic filtering quality was significantly degraded in the FX line of GPUs. What we were worried about however was that the derivatives of the NV30 would also suffer the same fate because, after all, they all use the same anisotropic filtering and AA engines. When we went to test the NV31/34, we quickly realized that our worst nightmares had come true and that the anisotropic filtering was still as poor quality as we saw with the first FX and it continued to not properly work in a number of games.The problem Anand refers to is with NVIDIA's "aggressive" anisotropic filtering setting, which is supposed to match the quality of ATI's "performance" anisotropic filtering, but falls well short. NVIDIA claims that the problem is driver-related and will be fixed by the time NV35 is launched, whenever that is.
Thankfully, the problem appears to be limited to only NVIDIA's "aggressive" anisotropic filtering setting, and could be fixed before significant GeForce FX volume makes it to store shelves. Still, that NVIDIA is setting such a vague timeline for a driver fix makes me wonder if the gold standard hasn't lost a little of its luster.
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