Articles: Graphics

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Once a leader of the race, the Radeon X850 XT Platinum Edition now has to default as it does not support Shader Model 3.0. The standings are quite different from what we’ve seen in the SM2.0 tests: the Radeon X1800 XT isn’t quite unrivalled, yet is ahead of the GeForce 7800 GTX nonetheless. Its results can be compared to those of the GeForce 7800 GTX 512 although the latter is a little faster due to its impressive technical characteristics.

Meanwhile, it is the first SM3.0 graphics test with a lot of long and complex shaders that puts the advantages of ATI’s new concept – the number of pixel processors is three times the number of TMUs – in the spotlight. The Radeon X1900 XT is 20% faster than the GeForce 7800 GTX 512 across all the resolutions! As for the Radeon X1900 XTX, this flagship product from ATI Technologies just confidently holds its first place since the very beginning.

We didn’t test the “eye candy” mode for two reasons. First, it’s only the ATI Radeon X1000 family that allows using FSAA and HDR simultaneously, so there would be no comparisons to make. And second, in tomorrow’s games the Radeon X1800 XT and even the Radeon X1900 XTX are going to be too low-performing to deliver a playable frame rate in high enough resolutions with enabled HDR and full-screen antialiasing.

The second SM3.0 graphical test makes use of a number of complex shaders, thus singling out GPUs that have many pixel processors efficient at executing long shaders. The Radeon X1800 XT is again a little behind the GeForce 7800 GTX and the Radeon X1800 series can’t match the performance of the GeForce 7800 GTX 512. The newer Radeon X1900 XT can do that, however, as it makes good use of its tripled number of pixel processors and Fetch4 support. Of course, the senior Radeon X1900 XT model is steadfastly on the top.

So this test session shows that the Radeon X1900 XTX is the absolute leader in 3DMark06 among single graphics cards. The second place is shared by the GeForce 7800 GTX 512 and Radeon X1900 XT which match each other’s performance with a minor advantage on either side in particular tests. The exception is the second SM3.0/HDR test that evidently prefers graphics cards with high math1ematical performance.

Having a progressive architecture, the Radeon X1800 XT still has to content itself with the fourth place, yielding the third to the GeForce 7800 GTX. The gap is small, however, so these two cards can be viewed as similar. The Radeon X1800 XL on its part couldn’t match the GeForce 7800 GT due to the low GPU clock rate. 500MHz proved to be too low to make up for the opponent’s having more pixel processors which are also more efficient when there are many texture fetches to be made.

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