Articles: Graphics

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Overclocking, Noise and 2D Image Quality

Having installed the graphics card into the AGP slot and started the system, I didn’t hear any noise from the fan: it was unbelievably quiet! Against the background of contemporary large and noisy cooling systems this solutions seemed to me nearly ideal. I have to point out that when the graphics card worked at nominal frequencies the heatsink didn’t heat up too much, however, during overclocking the default cooler seemed to be nor quite safe for proper cooling that is why we provided additional side airflow coming from a standard 80mm fan.

The memory chips with 2.8ns access time gave us some hope for pretty good overclocking results, and I have to admit that all our expectations came true. The graphics card from FIC worked stably at 500MHz chip and 760MHz (380MHz DDR) memory frequencies. Nevertheless, I started noticing some weird artifacts in gaming applications after a while that is why  we had to reduce the frequencies to 490MHz for the chip and 740MHz (370MHz DDR) for the memory. I think I have every right to say that the graphics memory of FIC R96P showed simply excellent overclockability. However, as for the graphics processor, the achieved result is not very impressive, especially against the background of TYAN Tachyon G9600 PRO, which overclocked up to 525MHz chip frequency (see our TYAN Tachyon G9600 PRO Graphics Card Review for more details). As you remember, our hero managed to prove really stable only at 490MHz core clock, however, a guaranteed 90MHz frequency gain above the nominal frequency deserves all our praise.

As for the 2D image quality, it appeared simply perfect, just like by FIC A92 (see our FIC A92 (RADEON 9200) Graphics Card Review for details). The image was very clear-cut in all resolutions including 1600x1200@85Hz.

In fact, our evaluation shouldn’t be regarded as absolutely objective, because this parameter depends a lot on the monitor you are using and on the quality of the cabling. Nevertheless, I would strongly recommend FIC R96P for work with two-dimensional graphics at high resolutions.

Testbed and Methods

The focus of our today’s article will be the influence of texture quality settings on the graphics card performance. Well, let’s pass over to our exciting investigation. As you know, the control panel for Catalyst drivers is rich in all sorts of settings. We are mostly interested in the sliders responsible for texture rendering quality (Texture Preference menu item). We undertook this investigation in order to find out how the above described settings affect the performance of our graphics accelerator in 3D. for a better performance analysis we also took both versions of NVIDIA GeForce FX 5600 Ultra graphics solution working at 350MHz/700MHz and 400MHz/800MHz respectively.

Our testbed was configured as follows:

  • AMD Athlon XP 2600+ “Thoroughbred” CPU (2.083GHz, 166MHz (333MHz) FSB);
  • EPoX EP-8K3A+ mainboard;
  • 512MB PC3200 XMS3200 from Corasir (2-2-5 1T, 166MHz (333MHz));
  • Maxtor DiamondMax Plus D740X HDD (40GB, 2MB buffer);
  • Creative Soundblaster Live! 1024 sound card;
  • Microsoft Windows XP SP1;
  • Drivers: VIA Hyperion 4-in-1 v.4.49, ATI Catalyst 3.6 (for FIC R96P), NVIDIA Detonator 44.03 (for GeForce FX 5600 Ultra).

For our test session we used the following benchmarks and applications:

  • Quake 3: Arena v1.32
  • Return to Castle Wolfenstein v1.4
  • Unreal Tournament 2003 v2225
  • Star Trek: Elite Force 2
  • Serious Sam: Second Encounter
  • Splinter Cell
  • Futuremark 3DMark 2001SE Build 330
  • Futuremark 3DMark03
  • Codecult Codecreatures
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