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Testbed and Methods

The testbed was configured like follows:

  • AMD Athlon 64 4000+ CPU (2.40GHz, 1MB L2 cache)
  • ASUS A8N-SLI Deluxe mainboard
  • OCZ PC-3200 Platinum EB DDR SDRAM (2x512MB, CL2.5-3-2-8)
  • Samsung SpinPoint SP1213C hard disk drive (Serial ATA-150, 8MB buffer)
  • Creative SoundBlaster Audigy 2 audio card
  • Microsoft Windows XP Pro SP2, DirectX 9.0c

Graphics cards:

  • NVIDIA GeForce 7800 GTX 256MB (430/1200MHz)
  • NVIDIA GeForce 6800 Ultra 256MB (400/1100MHz)
  • NVIDIA GeForce 6800 GT 256MB (350/1000MHz)
  • ATI RADEON X850 XT Platinum Edition 256MB (540/1180MHz)
  • ATI RADEON X800 XL 256MB (400/980MHz)

We also tested SLI configurations based on GeForce 7800 GTX and GeForce 6800 Ultra.

Drivers:

  • NVIDIA ForceWare 77.62
  • ATI Catalyst 5.6

We installed ForceWare 77.62, NVIDIA’s new-generation driver of the so-called ForceWare Release 75, to test the GeForce 7800 GTX. This is the first version of ForceWare to support the new graphics processor from NVIDIA. It differs from the older official driver (version 71.89) in improved HDTV support, added game profiles, full OpenGL 2.0 support, and the option for selecting a SLI mode.

The graphics quality settings were selected the same as in the theoretical tests of the GeForce 7800 GTX. We chose the Catalyst A.I Standard mode in ATI Catalyst 5.6 and set the Mipmap Detail Level to “Quality”. The VSync option was disabled in both drivers. We also enabled gamma-correct antialiasing for the GeForce 7800 GTX as well as the ATI RADEON X850 XT PE. The GeForce 6800 GT doesn’t support this option. As you will see shortly, gamma-correct antialiasing affects the performance of the graphics card more than ordinary antialiasing does.

The following games and applications were our benchmarks:

First-Person 3D Shooters

  • Doom 3
  • Far Cry
  • F.E.A.R. Multiplayer Beta
  • Half-Life 2
  • Painkiller: Battle out of Hell
  • Unreal Tournament 2004

Third-Person 3D Shooters

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

Simulators

  • Colin McRae Rally 2005
  • Il-2 Sturmovik: Aces in the Sky
  • Lock On: Modern Air Combat

Real-time Strategic Games

  • Perimeter
  • 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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