NVIDIA's GeForce FX 5600 Ultra GPU

NV31, take two

FOR THE BETTER part of a year, NVIDIA's GeForce4 Ti 4200 owned the mid-range graphics scene. But that was last year, and NVIDIA's graphics cards have fallen from grace since. The Ti 4200's price/performance crown was eventually usurped by ATI's Radeon 9500 Pro, which yielded to the Radeon 9600 Pro.

NVIDIA took a stab at reclaiming the mid-range graphics title with the NV31 chip and its corresponding GeForce FX 5600 line of graphics cards, but neither the vanilla nor Ultra versions of the 5600 were fast enough to knock ATI off the throne, so NVIDIA went back to the drawing board and came up with a new GeForce FX 5600 Ultra using more exotic chips running at higher clock speeds. The GeForce FX 5600 Ultra's NV31 roots haven't changed, but this new Ultra does come with a core clocked at 400MHz and memory running at an effective 800MHz.

And it doesn't require a Dustbuster.

Can NVIDIA's revised GeForce FX 5600 Ultra knock off ATI's Radeon 9600 Pro? Does either fight dirty with questionable driver "optimizations"? We've wrangled Chaintech's GeForce FX 5600 Ultra-powered Apogee FX71 to find out.

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