The Gigi character that Albatron has put on the box of the FX5600P Turbo looks very similar to the animated fairy Dawn that nVidia used in its 'New Dawn' promotion for the GeForce FX5800. While we wouldn't dream of suggesting that packaging should affect your buying decision, the Albatron really stands out on the shelf and the card itself is also quite eye-catching. It has a blue PCB with gold coloured heatsinks on the FX5600 GPU and memory chips. If it was a bathroom suite we'd probably describe it as 'champagne'. The base and fins of the heatsink on the chip appear to be copper, which should help heat dissipation.
Despite the Turbo suffix, the FX5600P uses the GeForce FX5600 chip, rather than the FX5600 Ultra, and to confuse matters even more this card has the additional Molex power connector that is required for an FX5600 Ultra, but not for a basic FX5600. The FX5600 runs its memory 100MHz slower than the Ultra, so it was little surprise that the Albatron performed within ten percent of the Abit in all our tests.
Albatron included the NvTweak overclocking utility, which is actually a registry update that enables part of the Detonator drivers that is usually hidden from the user.
Once you run NvTweak you'll find a 'Clock Frequencies' tab in the drivers, but it's quite a crude tool. It allows a maximum core speed of 600 MHz and you can crank the memory all the way up to 1.44GHz. Both of those settings are way beyond the scope of the Albatron, and we found it quite frustrating trying to find the limits of the card
When you change the settings you hit the 'test' button, but if a setting fails the drivers simply revert to standard settings, even though you may have tried a number of settings successfully before the failure. We suggest that you take notes as you work your way up.
We increased speeds to 350MHz/750MHz and scored 2,904 marks in 3DMark03 without the additional power connector, to give an increase of 13 percent.
Then we connected up the extra power block and raised the speeds again, this time to 360MHz/780MHz, which gave a 3DMark score of 2,981 (an increase of 16 percent over standard). That's nearly identical to the over-clocked Abit FX5600 Ultra at 375MHz/850MHz which scored 3,009 marks.
We did however hit a major snag with the Albatron as we can't find the FX5600P on sale in the UK. To make matters worse the factory can't even supply us with a UK price, but we estimate it will sell at Â£120-Â£140.
The contents of the package are quite basic, with an S-Video extension cable, a coaxial extension and a short S-Video to coaxial adapter but no DVI to VGA adapter.
You also get four CDs of software, but on closer inspection these are a little disappointing. Intervideo WinDVD and Intervideo WinDVD Creator are OK, but Motocross Mania is quite old and tired while Serious Sam is a DirectX 7 game.
The FX5600P turbo is a decent graphics card but we have to reserve judgement until we can find it on sale in the UK
The Albatron matches FX5600 Ultra performance and sports attractive packaging and styling. Unfortunately the lack of UK distribution makes it a bit of a white elephant despite itâ€™s good points.