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Testbed and Methods

During our comparative testing of the Gigabyte GeForce 7950 GT and Foxconn GeForce 7950 GT 256MB 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)
  • Samsung SyncMaster 244T monitor (24”, 1920x1200@75Hz max display mode)
  • Microsoft Windows XP Pro SP2, DirectX 9.0c
  • ATI Catalyst 7.1
  • Nvidia ForceWare 93.71

The graphics card drivers were set up in such a way as 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 tested the cards in three standard resolutions according to our testing methodology: 1280x1024, 1600x1200 and 1920x1200. 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. We didn’t run the tests with disabled FSAA, because our goal was to study the influence of the memory size on the performance and with FSSA enabled the requirements to graphics memory are higher. Moreover, the graphics accelerators reviewed today are powerful enough to ensure relatively high performance level with FSAA 4x.

We ran the tests with disabled FSAA only for those games that do not support FSAA due to the specifics of their engine or use HDR (FP16). The thing is that the GeForce 7 family cannot perform FSAA together with floating-point HDR.

Since our goal was to compare the performance of two graphics cards that only differed from one another by the amount of onboard memory, we reduced the clock frequencies of Foxconn GeForce 7950 GT 256MB to nominal values of 550/(700) 1400MHz. Besides two models of GeForce 7950 GT we had following graphics cards also participating in this review:

We used the following games and benchmarks:

First-Person 3D Shooters

  • Battlefield 2142
  • Call of Duty 2
  • Far Cry
  • F.E.A.R. Extraction Point
  • Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter
  • Half-Life 2: Episode One
  • Prey
  • Serious Sam 2

Third-Person 3D Shooters:

  • Hitman: Blood Money
  • Tomb Raider: Legend

RPG

  • Gothic 3
  • Neverwinter Nights 2
  • The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion

Simulators:

  • Pacific Fighters
  • X3: Reunion

Strategies:

  • Age of Empires 3: The War Chiefs
  • Company of Heroes

Synthetic Benchmarks:

  • Futuremark 3DMark05 build 1.2.0
  • Futuremark 3DMark06 build 1.0.2
 
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