Today we would like to present to you an unprecedented testing of 27 different graphics cards based on GPUs from ATI and NVIDIA supporting different interfaces (AGP and PCI Express) and representing all today’s market segments starting from the Ultra-High-End solutions supporting NVIDIA’s multi-GPU configurations, and finishing with Budget-Mainstream segment. Do you feel lost in the tons of graphics cards out there? Then our guide will definitely help you out!
Being now in the year 2005, we have some perspective to have a clearer look at the year that passed, particularly at the computer graphics market, with the purpose of finding the fastest and most technologically advanced graphics card of 2004.
The last year brought us a lot of exciting events, brand-new graphics architectures among them. The performance of consumer graphics cards has reached a previously unthinkable height, and there have appeared games that raised the bar in terms of realism of the 3D image. The year was also remarkable for the fact that after three years of tough competition ATI Technologies became the leader in the number of graphics chips sold, but it only made the fight the more violent. Now besides the desktop and mobile GPU fields, the companies are challenging each other as makers of mainboard chipsets.
But let’s be meticulous and methodical – we are first going to give a brief description to the events of each quarter of the last year.
Content Rules the World
An undeniable fact, the influx of new games that use technologies developed over the previous 2-3 years had an even greater impact on the graphics market than the unprecedented leap in the performance of graphics cards and, to some extent, of microprocessors. The new-generation games amaze with their image and sound, but their system requirements are sometimes shocking as well – the prominent titles of 2004 can only run really smooth on graphics cards and processors released the same year. Far Cry, Doom 3 and Half-Life 2 did their job well – people of all ages and professions rushed to upgrade their computers with new hardware to play them comfortably. The deficit in the market of high-end graphics cards is explained exactly by the releases of new demanding games, because system integrators (catered for by ATI mostly) and retail shops wanted mass quantities of expensive cards to meet the exceptionally high demand.
So, starting right from the first quarter of 2004, the importance of games in graphics card sales was felt later throughout the entire year.