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Testbed and Methods

We installed the NVIDIA GeForce 6800 GS graphics card into our testbed computer:

  • AMD Athlon 64 4000+ CPU (2.40GHz, 1MB L2 cache)
  • ASUS A8N-SLI Deluxe mainboard (NVIDIA nForce4 SLI chipset)
  • OCZ PC3200 Platinum EL DDR SDRAM (2 x 1GB, CL2-3-2-5)
  • Samsung SpinPoint SP1213C (Serial ATA-150, 8MB buffer)
  • Creative SoundBlaster Audigy 2 sound card
  • Cooler Master Real Power 450 power supply (RS-450-ACLY, 450W)
  • Dell P1130 and Dell P1110 monitors (21”, 1800x1440@75Hz max display mode)
  • Microsoft Windows XP Pro SP2 with DirectX 9.0c
  • ATI Catalyst 5.9 (with RADEON X1000 support)
  • NVIDIA ForceWare 81.87 (according to NVIDIA, this version is an analog of the WHQL-certified ForceWare 81.85, but features support of GeForce 6800 GS and some other new products)

We set up the ATI and NVIDIA drivers in the following way:

ATI CATALYST 5.9:

  • CATALYST A.I.: Standard
  • Mipmap Detail Level: Quality
  • Wait for vertical refresh: Always off
  • Adaptive antialiasing: Off
  • Temporal antialiasing: Off
  • Quality AF: Off
  • Other settings: default

NVIDIA ForceWare 81.87:

  • Image Settings: Quality
  • Vertical sync: Off
  • Trilinear optimization: On
  • Anisotropic mip filter optimization: Off
  • Anisotropic sample optimization: On
  • Gamma correct antialiasing: On (for GeForce 7 only)
  • Transparency antialiasing: Off (for GeForce 7 only)
  • Other settings: default

We select the highest graphics quality settings in each game, identical for graphics cards from ATI and NVIDIA. If possible, we use the games’ integrated benchmarking tools (to record and reproduce a demo and measure the reproduction speed in frames per second). Otherwise we measure the frame rate with the FRAPS utility. If it is possible, we measure minimal as well as average fps rates to give you a fuller picture.

We turn on 4x full-screen antialiasing and 16x anisotropic filtering in the “eye candy” test mode from the game’s own menu if possible. Otherwise we force the necessary mode from the driver. We don’t test the “eye candy” mode if the game engine doesn’t support FSAA.

Besides the NVIDIA GeForce 6800 GS, the following graphics cards took part in this test session:

These games and applications were used as benchmarks:

First-Person 3D Shooters:

  • Battlefield 2
  • The Chronicles of Riddick
  • Doom 3
  • Far Cry
  • F.E.A.R.
  • Half-Life 2
  • Pariah
  • Project Snowblind
  • Quake 4
  • Serious Sam 2
  • Unreal Tournament 2004

Third-Person 3D Shooters:

  • Prince of Persia: Warrior Within
  • Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory

Simulators:

  • Colin McRae Rally 2005
  • Pacific Fighters

Strategies:

  • Age of Empires 3
  • Warhammer 40.000: Dawn of War

Semi-synthetic benchmarks:

  • Aquamark3
  • Final Fantasy XI Official Benchmark 3

Synthetic benchmarks:

  • Futuremark 3DMark03 build 360
  • Futuremark 3DMark05 build 120
 
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