Painkiller is a non-demanding game, so all the cards have excellent speeds here. It’s hard to name a winner as the performance of the top solutions from ATI and NVIDIA is much alike. In the mainstream sector, however, the new-generation GeForce 6600 GT AGP rules. Its PCI Express version is far ahead of the RADEON X700 XT whose performance is limited by its cut-down texture caches.
The ATI team gains the upper hand in the “eye candy” mode, and the gap is increasing in higher resolutions. The GeForce 6600 GT AGP still dominates the mainstream class, but only in low resolutions –it is impeded by its narrow 128-bit memory bus in high display modes. This also goes for the PCI Express version which is far ahead of the RADEON X700 XT in 1024x768, but loses its advantage in higher resolutions.
This game can’t work correctly on the SLI platform: although we observed no visual artifacts, the speed gain was close to zero. Thus, NVIDIA’s SLI technology resembles multi-processor systems where the performance gain depends on the optimization of the particular application. If NVIDIA’s driver explicitly supports a game, the SLI may bring about huge speed bonuses. Without the optimization, you are unlikely to enjoy any benefits at all.