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Performance-Mainstream

We find a similar selection of cards as we step down the product categories. At least we’ve got a GeForce 7900 GT and a Radeon X1900 GT here. Added to these are a couple of less powerful solutions, a Radeon X1800 GTO and a GeForce 7600 GT. The Radeon X1800 XL is still available on the market, too. We’ve talked about the first pair of cards above, so it’s the second pair that this section is devoted to.

The speed of texturing and the memory bandwidth have little effect on the performance of a graphics card in closed environments. More important are the speed of execution of pixel shaders and efficient processing of lighting and shadowing. In the performance-mainstream class it is the GeForce 7600 GT that copes with these tasks better than the others thanks to its higher core clock rate in comparison with the Radeon X1800 GTO and XL. The latter makes up for that with its 16 pixel processors in high resolution, but its performance is already far from comfortable then. The Radeon X1800 GTO cannot stand the competition. Besides a low graphics core frequency, it also has one quad of pixel processors less than the Radeon X1800 XL and takes the last place in the table as the consequence.

The computer’s graphics subsystem will face quite different problems when you take a walk along the outskirts of Imperial City, particularly because of the copious vegetation growing there. Besides the pixel processors’ performance, the performance of the vertex processors comes to the fore. The fill rate and memory bandwidth parameters are also important for rendering large scenes.

The GeForce 7600 GT has a 128-bit memory bus, so it finds it difficult to compete with the Radeon X1800 series products that are equipped with a 256-bit bus. For some reason, the Radeon X1800 GTO is faster than the Radeon X1800 XL in resolutions below 1920x1200, but this has little value for gamers who want to enjoy the game rather than to compare the numbers.

From the practical standpoint, none of these graphics cards can provide a comfortable frame rate in open scenes of TES IV, although the Radeon X1900 GT looks much preferable to the GeForce 7900 GT in terms of minimum speed. Owners of less powerful graphics cards may want to disable HDR and use 1024x768 resolution. The game’s visuals will suffer terribly, but there is no other choice.

 
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