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Testbed and Methods

We are going to investigate the performance of new Nvidia GeForce 182.06 driver using the following testbed:

  • Intel Core i7-965 Extreme Edition processor (3.2GHz, 6.4 GT/s QPI);  
  • Asus P6T Deluxe mainboard (Intel X58 Express chipset);
  • Corsair XMS3-12800C9 (3x2GB, 1333MHz, 9-9-9-24, 2T);
  • Maxtor MaXLine III 7B250S0 HDD (250GB, Serial ATA-150, 16MB buffer);
  • Enermax Galaxy DXX EGX1000EWL 1000W power supply;
  • Dell 3007WFP monitor (30", 2560x1600@60Hz max display resolution);
  • Microsoft Windows Vista Ultimate SP1 64-bit;
  • Nvidia GeForce 181.22
  • Nvidia GeForce 182.06

Both versions of Nvidia GeForce driver were configured to provide the highest possible quality of texture filtering with minimal effect from default software optimizations. We enabled transparent texture filtering. As a result, our driver settings looked as follows:

  • Texture filtering – Quality: High quality
  • Texture filtering – Trilinear optimization: Off
  • Texture filtering – Anisotropic sample optimization: Off
  • Vertical sync: Force off
  • Antialiasing - Gamma correction: On
  • Antialiasing - Transparency: Multisampling
  • Multi-display mixed-GPU acceleration: Multiple display performance mode
  • Set PhysX GPU acceleration: Enabled
  • Other settings: default

This time we used the following gaming titles for our performance tests:

  • Enemy Territory: Quake Wars
  • Fallout 3
  • Far Cry 2
  • F.E.A.R. 2: Project Origin
  • Left 4 Dead
  • Race Driver: GRID
  • Futuremark 3DMark Vantage

Although Nvidia promised a significant performance improvement in Half-Life 2 shooter, we didn’t include it into the list of games for this test session, because Left 4 Dead game uses the same Source engine.

We selected the highest possible level of detail in each game using standard tools provided by the game itself from the gaming menu. We didn’t use any non-standard settings, except a few situations, described separately later in the article.

For our tests we chose two most illustrative representatives of Nvidia GeForce GTX 200:

  • Nvidia GeForce GTX 295 (2xG200b, 576/1242/1998MHz, 480sp, 160tmu, 64rbe, 2x448-bit, 2x896MB GDDR3)
  • Nvidia GeForce GTX 285 (G200b, 648/1476/2484MHz, 240sp, 80tmu, 32rbe, 512-bit, 1024MB GDDR3)

We ran our tests in the following resolutions: 1280x1024, 1680x1050, 1920x1200 and 2560x1600. We added MSAA 4x antialiasing to the standard anisotropic filtering 16x in all tests. We enabled antialiasing from the game’s menu. If this was not possible, we forced it using the appropriate Nvidia GeForce driver settings.

Performance was measured with the games’ own tools using the original demos. We measured not only the average speed, but also the minimum speed of the cards if possible. If there were no built-in tools for taking performance readings, we used Fraps utility version 2.9.8 to record our performance measurements in these games. In the latter case we ran the test three times and took the average of the three readings for further performance analysis.

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