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Reviewed by: Bryan Pizzuti [06.25.03]
Card Manufacturer: InnoVISION

MSRP: $199
Est. Street Price: $150

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The GeForce FX series has finally started serious market penetration.  Before now, we had slim pickings, such as the mythical FX 5800 Ultra, and low-end FX 5200 cards.  But now video boards based on the GeForceFX 5600 Ultra are hitting the shelves, at the magical high-sales sweet-spot of $200 (Meaning this is where a lot of the money is made, due to high sales).  But how good IS it?

The Card

Well, this card looks great.  First of all, it's a VIVO card, which is a great thing to have for transferring camcorder films, or converting VHS to a nice digital format that will never wear out.  The cooler is superb looking, painted with the same colors as the box.  Too bad you probably won't see much of it, even with a case window. I DO like the effort though.  It uses NVIDIA's new standard design for directing the air through fins and then over the RAM on the GPU side of the card, to assist in keeping them cool.  I'm not sure how much help that would be without RAMsinks of some sort, but if you put some in they'll be immediately effective.

Except that there's 4 more RAM chips hiding on the flip side.  Ambient airflow around the system CPU will have to cool these chips, though that should be sufficient.

Also note the standard MOLEX power connector on this card. While the previous Tornado 5200 we reviewed didn't need so much power, this card needs more than most AGP slots can provide.  It's a standard connector, unlike the mini floppy connector that ATI previously used in their RADEON 9700 PRO cards (I understand the 9800 series uses a standard MOLEX as well). Unfortunately, there's no Y-adapter included, so hopefully you have a connector you can spare.  If not, go pick up a splitter.

It's equipped with 128 MB of BGA RAM (higher quality and speed ceiling than older TSOP chips), a VGA connector and a DVI connector, as well as what looks like an over-pinned S-video jack which takes a special cable (though they call it a "dongle" it doesn't quite fit the description). 

Here's the dongle and cable. What the dongle does is split the card's jack into s-video in and s-video out ports...and that's all.  They also include a SINGLE s-video to RCA adapter cable, which can be used with either the in or the out.  If all you have is RCA devices though, you need to get yourself a second adapter.  I'm all for s-video, but RCA video setups are still extremely common in most homes, and a second adapter, or a dongle that offers both s-video and RCA jacks on it would be quite a bit better.

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