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Drivers Still Do It All… Bringing ATI to Victory

Just when we were about to finish our benchmarking process with ATI CATALYST 4.9 (8-051-040825a-017633c) and NVIDIA ForceWare 66.29 drivers first certified by Futuremark to be used along with the 3DMark05, the developer of the benchmark informed us that there are new drivers certified for the new 3DMark05.

We have heard that the new drivers change performance of the graphics cards, therefore we decided to retest some of our boards along with the ForceWare 66.51 and ATI CATALYST 8-07-018211e drivers with the purpose to update the article when we get the results.


The results appeared to be pretty surprising. Even though NVIDIA’s GeForce 6800- and 6600-series of graphics processing units acquired new drivers, they did not face any substantial speed boosts, except in FSAA + AF mode. ATI’s AGP graphics cards, however, delivered brilliant performance advantage over previous driver version.


When asked about the reasons, ATI said there had been a bug in memory management of AGP graphics cards with 256MB of memory which affected performance in FarCry, Unreal Tournament 2003/2004 as well as in 3DMark05. When the bug was corrected, ATI’s RADEON X800-series products for AGP bus skyrocketed in terms of performance giving ATI's RADEON X800 series a lead over NVIDIA's GeForce 6800.

ATI's and NVIDIA's Driver Comparison, AGP 8x Graphics Cards

 

Game Test 1

Game Test 2

Game Test 3








Pure Mode








Eye Candy Mode

In order not to overload the page with results across all the game tests, we present them in thumbnails.

ATI's and NVIDIA's Driver Comparison, PCI Express x16 Graphics Cards

 

Game Test 1

Game Test 2

Game Test 3




Pure Mode



Eye Candy Mode

Getting the drivers that drive the speed up in the most-anticipated benchmark is certainly a suspicious deal. We cannot accuse ATI of anything wrong, as the company has been pretty open in terms of the source for the speed boost, but let us hope that another “driver war” will not break out with the release of the 3DMark05.

 
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