It has been a long road to redemption for NVIDIA in the mainstream segment. After delivering the GeForce4 Ti 4200, a GPU that was highly regarded among the press and consumers for its incredible bang for the buck ratio (and still selling well to this day), NVIDIA has had a hard time exiting the GeForce4 Ti 4200ís shadow.
The GeForce FX 5600 and GeForce FX 5600 Ultra were intended to carry the mainstream torch from the GeForce4 Ti 4200 for NVIDIA, but the GeForce FX 5600 Ultra initially launched to lackluster reviews. In many cases, the GeForce FX 5600 Ultra was bested by its predecessor, leaving end userís pretty jaded. After all, whatís the point of ďupgradingĒ if you actually lose performance?
NVIDIAís engineers quickly went back to the drawing boards and concocted a revised GeForce FX 5600 Ultra. New flip-chip packaging was implemented for its improved signal quality at higher clock speeds, while the core clock was cranked up to 400MHz, matching the specs of ATIís RADEON 9600 PRO. When paired with its 800MHz DDR memory, the improved GeForce FX 5600 Ultra was much more competitive with ATIís mainstream offerings, and just as importantly, the GeForce4 Ti 4200.
GeForce FX 5700U meets GeForce FX 5950U
Unfortunately for NVIDIA, retail cards based on these revised specifications didnít hit the market until late July, giving ATI another two months of essentially unchallenged dominance at the upper echelon of the mainstream segment. NVIDIAís only answer was the GeForce FX 5600. This card was woefully underpowered in comparison to the RADEON 9600 PRO, as it was intended to compete with the RADEON 9600 at the $150 price point.
Board manufacturers did all they could to attempt to sell their GeForce FX 5600 cards, some added up to 256MB of memory to attract the eyes of consumers, while others used confusing product names that were misleading if you didnít read the fine print. None of these cards could come close to the RADEON 9600 PRO in most situations, but since NVIDIA couldnít deliver the hardware, they didnít have many options.
The 5700U and its
What went wrong you ask? Based on what we can see, NVIDIA got stung by the same problem it had with GeForce FX 5800/5800 Ultra: manufacturing. Apparently, NVIDIA just couldnít produce the higher frequency 5600 Ultra cores in the quantities it needed initially. Also remember that the revised flip-chip core was rushed into service after
the initial 5600 launch. When you combine these two factors together, NVIDIA obviously had an enormous pair of obstacles to overcome.
While these issues have since been resolved, NVIDIA has been hard at work developing a follow-up to the GeForce FX 5600 Ultra: the GeForce FX 5700 Ultra. This card is based on an entirely new graphics core!