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Testbed and Methods

Our test system was configured as follows:

  • Intel Pentium4 3000MHz CPU;
  • ASUS P4C800 (i875) mainboard;
  • 2x512MB PC3200 CL2.5 DDR SDRAM from TwinMOS.

The graphics cards from ASUS, Chaintech and Gainward based on NVIDIA GeForce FX 5900 follow the reference design and work at the same core and memory frequencies that is why I took only one of them for the tests: it is evident that they will show almost identical results. I decided to use the graphics card from Gainward, as it boasted the highest overclocking potential of all solutions considered (we will discuss it a bit later in the article) and features the most attractive exterior.

Another participant from the NVIDIA’s camp will be a graphics card from ASUS based on NVIDIA GeForce FX 5900 Ultra. The competitors from ATI will be represented by ATI RADEON 9800 and RADEON 9800 Pro from Sapphire. These graphics cards arrived into our testlab in OEM packages. Since they are absolutely identical to ATI’s reference designs for these solutions, it doesn’t maker much sense to describe them in detail.

As a result here is the list of graphics cards, which took part in our test session:

  • ASUS V9950 - GeForce FX 5900 128MB, 256bit DDR SDRAM, 400MHz chip and 850MHz (425MHz DDR) memory frequencies;
  • ASUS V9950 Ultra - GeForce FX 5900 Ultra 256MB, 256bit DDR SDRAM, 450MHz chip and 850MHz (425MHz DDR) memory frequencies;
  • Chaintech A-FX98 - GeForce FX 5900 128MB, 256bit DDR SDRAM, 400MHz chip and 850MHz (425MHz DDR) memory frequencies;
  • Gainward FX PowerPack! Model Ultra/1200 XP “Golden Sample”- GeForce FX 5900 128MB, 256bit DDR SDRAM, 400MHz chip and 850MHz (425MHz DDR) memory frequencies;
  • Sapphire Atlantis 9800 - ATI RADEON 9800 128MB, 256bit DDR SDRAM, 325MHz chip and 580MHz (290MHz DDR) memory frequencies;
  • Sapphire Atlantis 9800 Pro - ATI RADEON 9800 PRO 128MB, 256bit DDR SDRAM, 380MHz chip and 680MHz (340MHz DDR) memory frequencies.

We used the following software:

  • Microsoft Windows XP Pro SP1;
  • DirectX 9.0a;
  • IL-2 Sturmovik: Forgotten Battles v1.1b;
  • Quake3 Arena v1.30;
  • Serious Sam: The Second Encounter v1.05;
  • Unreal Tournament 2003 v2225;
  • Catalyst driver version 3.6 for ATI based graphics cards;
  • Detonator version 45.23 for NVIDIA based graphics cards.

During the tests we used not only the standard test episodes from Quake3 Arena, Serious Sam: The Second Encounter and Unreal Tournament 2003, but also a few ones I created myself.

 
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