Articles: Graphics
 

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Testbed and Methods

We are going to investigate the performance of Nvidia Quad SLI graphics configuration using the following testbed:

  • Intel Core i7-965 Extreme Edition processor (3.2 GHz, 6.4 GT/s QPI);  
  • Gigabyte GA-EX58-Extreme mainboard (Intel X58 Express chipset);
  • Corsair XMS3-12800C9 (3 x 2 GB, 1333 MHz, 9-9-9-24, 2T);
  • Maxtor MaXLine III 7B250S0 HDD (250 GB, Serial ATA-150, 16 MB buffer);
  • Enermax Galaxy DXX EGX1000EWL 1000 W power supply;
  • Dell 3007WFP monitor (30", 2560x1600 @ 60 Hz max display resolution);
  • Microsoft Windows Vista Ultimate SP2 64-bit;
  • ATI Catalyst 9.7 for ATI Radeon HD;
  • Nvidia GeForce 190.38 WHQL for Nvidia GeForce.

The graphics card drivers were configured in the following way:

ATI Catalyst:

  • Smoothvision HD: Anti-Aliasing: Use application settings/Box Filter
  • Catalyst A.I.: Standard
  • Mipmap Detail Level: High Quality
  • Wait for vertical refresh: Always Off
  • Enable Adaptive Anti-Aliasing: On/Quality
  • Other settings: default

Nvidia GeForce:

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

The list of benchmarks includes the following gaming titles and synthetic tests:

  • Crysis Warhead
  • BattleForge
  • Fallout 3
  • Left 4 Dead
  • Street Fighter 4
  • Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X.
  • Futuremark 3DMark Vantage

We selected the highest possible level of detail in each game using standard tools provided by the game itself from the gaming menu. The games configuration files weren’t modified in any way, because the ordinary user doesn’t have to know how to do it.

Besides Gigabyte 9800 GT Silent Cell we have also included the following graphics accelerators to participate in our test session:

  • Nvidia GeForce 9600 GT (G94, 650/1625/1800 MHz, 64 sp, 32 tmu, 16 rbe, 256-bit, 512 MB GDDR3)
  • ATI Radeon HD 4770 (RV740, 750/750/3200 MHz, 640 sp, 32 tmu, 16 rbe, 128-bit, 512 MB GDDR5)
  • ATI Radeon HD 4670 (RV730, 750/750/2000 MHz, 320 sp, 32 tmu, 8 rbe, 128-bit, 512 MB GDDR3)

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

Performance was measured with the games’ own tools and the original demos were recorded if possible. We measured not only the average speed, but also the minimum speed of the cards where possible. Otherwise, the performance was measured manually with Fraps utility version 2.9.8. In the latter case we ran the test three times and took the average of the three for the performance charts.

 
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