Since quite a lot of you are looking forward a new graphics card to play the recently released games that require tremendous graphics power, we decided to help you with your choice by carefully examining performance of the contemporary offerings in the latest games. We have already performed testing of modern platforms in our articles titled “Contemporary CPUs and New Games: No Way to Delusions!” and “Games against CPUs. Part II.” and found out that modern games are generally not really dependent on the microprocessor, unless it is totally outdated, but do require more than 1GB of memory and a speedy graphics card.
This article is dedicated to the graphics cards that are relevant to the current situation and the latest games, which is why we do not test relatively outdated titles like Doom III or Far Cry and also do not touch upon multi-GPU setups, as it is obvious that due to lack of competition multi-GPU NVIDIA GeForce-based solutions are the fastest and the most expensive today. However, our “mega-review” that covers loads of games and graphics boards is on track to be released early next year and it will include not only currently unrivalled NVIDIA’s SLI platform, but also ATI’s CrossFire platform featuring a brand-new ATI GPU that is supposed to be released massively in mid- or late-January, 2006.
Traditionally, we cover “pure performance” – the highest possible graphics settings in every game, but without anisotropic filtering (AF) and full-scene antialiasing (FSAA) enabled as well as “eye candy” performance – the highest quality settings in the game along with 16x aniso and 4x FSAA. Given that entry-level graphics cards do not typically show playable results with eye candy activated in resolutions higher than 1024x768, we do not include scores obtained on 1280x1024 and 1600x1200 for such products.