2D Image Quality

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2D Image Quality

NVIDIA GeForceFX 5700 Ultra Review - Graphics Cards  71 2D Image Quality

I know many of you use a KVM switch to control multiple computers at your desk, if you are one of these individuals, then you will be interested in the problem I discovered. For those of you who don’t know what a Keyboard-Video-Monitor (“KVM”) switch is, it is a device that allows you to connect multiple computers to a switch and use a single keyboard, monitor, and mouse to control them all.

The problem I found was that he FX5700 Ultra, causes a lot of artifacts when connected to a KVM. I’ve taken a macro image with my camera to show you the effects (compressed with high-quality compression to reduce JPEG anomalies).

NVIDIA GeForceFX 5700 Ultra Review - Graphics Cards  72
Fuzzy 2D image caused by the FX5700 Ultra and a KVM switch.

Looking at the above image, you can see that the image with the KVM switch is less clear. The text has a shadow, the “X” button looks dirty, and there appears to be a white “halo” effect around the window border. This doesn’t go away during games either. Playing Age of Mythology with this was infuriating. This problem does not happen on the FX5200, FX5600, FX5600 Ultra, FX5900 Ultra, or Radeon 9500, nor does it seem to matter what monitor you have connected (I tested 3 different monitors all with the same effect). As far as I can tell, the FX5700 Ultra does not like my KVM and it makes regular day-to-day work nearly impossible and straining.

NVIDIA GeForceFX 5700 Ultra Review - Graphics Cards  73
No problems with the FX5600 Ultra.

So if you own a KVM switch and you’re itching to buy one of these fancy FX5700U’s, be warned that the card you buy may cause visual artifacts when used with a KVM switch (as it did here on my Belkin Omni Cube). If you can, test the card out in a store using your switch to see if there are problems.

Besides this annoying quirk, the FX5700U produces a nice image that I can’t really complain about. The colours are bright and rich in the desktop environment and while doing daily activities including gaming (Homeworld 2 looks amazing). You can’t really complain about the quality if you don’t have anything else to compare it to – it stands on its own. Gone are the days when NVIDIA got a bad reputation for poor 2D image quality (anyone remember the GeForce 2 MX?).

Editor’s Note: I don’t use a Belkin KVM — I use an IOGear. I saw none of the above problems on my setup, so this appears to be a very quirky problem that may only have existed on the particular KVM that Jon was using or that series. I don’t think this problem will be widespread enough to effect your purchasing decision, but we thought that we should share the data we had with you on it.
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