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Testbed and Methods

To test the performance of Nvidia GeForce 8 graphics card family we assembled the following standard test platform:

  • Intel Core 2 Extreme X6800 processor (3.0GHz, FSB 1333MHz x 9);
  • Asus P5N32-E SLI Plus mainboard (Nvidia nForce 680i SLI chipset);
  • Corsair TWIN2X2048-8500C5 (2x1GB, 1066MHz, 5-5-5-15, 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 32-bit;
  • Nvidia ForceWare 158.24.

Since we believe that the use of tri-linear and anisotropic filtering optimizations is not justified in this case, the AMD and Nvidia graphics card drivers were set up to provide the highest possible quality of tri-linear and anisotropic texture filtering. We have also enabled transparent texture filtering to achieve best image quality by selecting Transparency antialiasing in multisampling mode of Nvidia ForceWare drivers. As a result, our settings looked as follows:

  • Texture Filtering: High quality
  • Vertical sync: Off
  • Trilinear optimization: Off
  • Anisotropic optimization: Off
  • Anisotropic sample optimization: Off
  • Gamma correct antialiasing: On
  • Transparency antialiasing: On (multi-sampling)
  • Other settings: by default

We selected the highest possible graphics quality level in each game using standard tools provided by the game itself. The games configuration files weren’t modified in any way. Performance was measured with the games’ own tools or, if not available, manually with Fraps utility version 2.8.2. We also measured the minimum speed of the cards where possible.

We performed tests in 1280x1024/960, 1600x1200 and 1920x1200 resolutions. GeForce 8500 GT was tested in the most widely spread 1280x1024 resolution only.

The games that didn’t support 16:10 ratio were run in 1920x1440 resolution. We used “eye candy” mode everywhere, where it was possible without disabling the HDR or Shader Model 3.0. Namely, we ran the tests with enabled anisotropic filtering as well as MSAA 4x. We enabled them from the game’s menu. If this was not possible, we forced them using the appropriate ForceWare driver settings.

For our tests we used the following games and benchmarks:

  • Battlefield 2142
  • Call of Juarez
  • Command & Conquer 3: Tiberium Wars
  • Company of Heroes
  • Gothic 3
  • Neverwinter Nights 2
  • Splinter Cell: Double Agent
  • S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl
  • Supreme Commander
  • Tomb Raider: Legend
  • Futuremark 3DMark06
  • Rydermark
 
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