3DMark06 produces a more realistic measurement. The Nvidia GeForce 9600 GT is only ahead of the ATI Radeon HD 3850 here.
Nvidia’s card is somewhat faster than the ATI Radeon HD 3870 in the SM2.0 tests that do not need a serious computing power, but can only compete with the Radeon HD 3850 in the SM3.0/HDR tests that abound in complex, math1ematics-heavy, shaders. ATI’s superscalar architecture doesn’t show its best here, though. 64 ALUs of the GeForce 9600 GT are about as effective as 320 ALUs of the ATI Radeon HD 3850. So, the ATI Radeon HD 3870 owes its victory only to the higher frequency of the core.
In the first test the Nvidia GeForce 9600 GT has the biggest lead over the ATI Radeon HD 3870 and 3850: over 50%. In the second test, which is not so demanding about the texture processor performance, the gap is only 16-17% in favor of Nvidia’s solution.
Both tests of the SM3.0/HDR group suggest a minor advantage of the ATI Radeon HD 3870 over the Nvidia GeForce 9600 GT. The difference with the overall score is due to the use of FSAA. The ATI Radeon HD performs FSAA by means of shader processors whereas the Nvidia GeForce 8/9 traditionally relies on the hardware capabilities of the ROPs. The former approach is more flexible, but results in a bigger performance hit, while the classic method is faster, especially as the most frequently used mode is the classic 4x multisampling.