Articles: Graphics

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Testbed and Methods

During our comparative testing of the four GeForce 8800 GTX graphics cards we used the following hardware platforms:

  • AMD Athlon 64 FX-60 CPU (2x2.60GHz, 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 Liberty 620W power supply (ELT620AWT)
  • Dell 3007WFP monitor (30”, 2560x1600 max display resolution)
  • Microsoft Windows XP Pro SP2, DirectX 9.0c
  • ATI Catalyst 7.2
  • Nvidia ForceWare 97.92

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.

Since GeForce 8800 GTX belongs to the most expensive high-end graphics solutions, it means that the users buying these graphics cards will most likely have a monitor with over 24” diagonal at their disposal. Therefore, we decided to include the 2560x1600 resolution into the list of our test modes. If the game didn’t support the resolution that high, we stuck to the standard set of test modes: 1280x1024/960, 1600x1200 and 1920x1200. 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 ATI Catalyst and Nvidia ForceWare.

Besides the Asustek, Foxconn, OCZ and XFX solutions we have also included the following graphics cards into our test session:

Since the graphics cards from Asustek, Foxconn and OCZ are shipped with reference frequencies, we decided not to include all four graphics cards into the performance charts, as their results are identical. Moreover, we didn’t include the numbers for overclocked graphics cards as well, because the overclocking results vary from card to card and cannot be guaranteed.

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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