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Testbed and Methods

During our comparative testing of the six GeForce 8800 GTS 320MB graphics cards we used the following hardware to build our test platforms:

  • AMD Athlon 64 FX-60 CPU (2.60GHz, 2x1MB L2)
  • ABIT AN8 32X mainboard (nForce4 SLI X16) for Nvidia GeForce cards
  • ASUS A8R32-MVP Deluxe mainboard (ATI CrossFire Xpress 3200) for ATI Radeon cards
  • OCZ PC-3200 Platinum EL DDR SDRAM (2x1GB, CL2-3-2-5)
  • Maxtor MaXLine III 7B250S0 (Serial ATA-150, 16MB buffer)
  • Creative SoundBlaster Audigy 2 sound card
  • Enermax Galaxy DXX EGX1000EWL 1000W power supply
  • Dell 3007WFP monitor (30”, 2560x1600 max display resolution)
  • Microsoft Windows XP Pro SP2, DirectX 9.0c
  • AMD Catalyst 7.3
  • Nvidia ForceWare 97.94

Since we believe that the use of tri-linear and anisotropic filtering optimizations is not justified in this case, the graphics card drivers were set up in standard way to provide the highest possible quality of texture filtering.

ATI Catalyst:

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

Nvidia ForceWare:

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

We selected the highest possible graphics quality level in each game. We didn’t modify the games’ configuration files. Performance was measured with the games’ own tools or, if not available, manually with Fraps utility. We also measured the minimum speed of the cards where possible. We ran the tests in 1280x1024/960, 1600x1200 and 1920x1200/1440 resolutions.

Since GeForce 8800 GTS 320MB is a pretty high-end graphics solution, we used “eye candy” mode everywhere, where it was possible without disabling the HDR or Shader Model 3.0 increasing the image quality. We enabled FSAA and anisotropic filtering from the game’s menu. If this was not possible, we forced them using the appropriate driver settings of AMD Catalyst and Nvidia ForceWare.

Besides the graphics solutions discussed above we have also included the following graphics cards into our test session:

For our tests we used the following games and benchmarks:

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