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Testbed and Methods

For our performance tests of Palit GeForce 9800GTX+ graphics cards we used the following testbed:

  • Intel Core 2 Extreme X6800 processor (3.0GHz, FSB 333MHz x 9);  
  • Asus P5Q Pro (Intel P45 chipset) for ATI Radeon HD graphics cards;
  • Asus P5N32-E SLI mainboard (Nvidia nForce 680i SLI chipset) for Nvidia GeForce graphics cards;
  • 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;
  • ATI Catalyst 8.11 for ATI Radeon HD
  • Nvidia GeForce 180.48 WHQL for Nvidia GeForce

According to our testing methodology, the drivers were set up to provide the highest possible quality of texture filtering and to minimize the effect of software optimizations used by default by both: AMD/ATI and Nvidia. Also, to ensure maximum image quality, we enabled transparent texture filtering. As a result, our ATI and Nvidia driver settings looked as follows:

ATI Catalyst:

  • Catalyst A.I.: Standard
  • Mipmap Detail Level: High Quality
  • High Quality AF: On
  • Wait for vertical refresh: Always Off
  • Enable Adaptive Anti-Aliasing: On/Quality
  • Method: Multi-sampling
  • Temporal Anti-Aliasing: Off
  • Other settings: default

Nvidia ForceWare:

  • Texture filtering - Quality: High quality
  • Texture filtering - Trilinear optimization: Off
  • Texture filtering – Anisotropic sample optimization: Off
  • Vertical sync: Force off
  • Antialiasing - Gamma correction: On
  • Antialiasing - Transparency: Multisampling
  • Other settings: default

For our tests we used the following games and synthetic benchmarks:

First-Person 3D Shooters

  • Bioshock
  • Call of Juarez
  • Call of Duty 4
  • Crysis
  • Enemy Territory: Quake Wars
  • Half-Life 2: Episode Two
  • S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Clear Sky

Third-Person 3D Shooters

  • Dead Space
  • Tomb Raider: Legend

RPG

  • Hellgate: London
  • Mass Effect
  • The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion
  • The Witcher: Enhanced Edition

Strategies

  • Company of Heroes: Opposing Fronts
  • Spore
  • World in Conflict

Synthetic Benchmarks

  • Futuremark 3DMark06
  • 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 user doesn’t have to know how to do it. The only exception was Enemy Territory: Quake Wars game where we disabled the built-in fps rate limitation locked at 30fps. Games supporting DirectX 10 were tested in this particular mode.

Besides both Palit GeForce 9800GTX+ cards we have also included the following graphics accelerators to participate in our test session:

  • ATI Radeon HD 4870 (RV770, 750/750/3600MHz, 800sp, 40tmu, 16rbe, 256-bit, 512MB GDDR5)
  • ATI Radeon HD 4850 (RV770, 625/625/2000MHz, 800sp, 40tmu, 16rbe, 256-bit, 512MB GDDR3)
  • Nvidia GeForce 9800 GT (G92, 600/1500/1800MHz, 112sp, 28(56)tmu, 16rbe, 256-bit, 512MB GDDR3)

We used the most widely spread resolutions: 1280x1024, 1680x1050 and 1920x1200. Everywhere, where it was possible without disabling the HDR/Shader Model 3.0/Shader Model 4.0, we ran the tests with enabled MSAA 4x antialiasing and anisotropic filtering 16x. These were our default settings in all tests except 3DMark. We enabled them from the game’s menu. If this was not possible, we forced them using the appropriate driver settings of ATI Catalyst and Nvidia ForceWare drivers. As we have already said, we didn’t modify the games configurations files.

Performance was measured with the games’ own tools and the original demos were recorded if possible. Otherwise, the performance was measured manually with Fraps utility version 2.9.6. In the latter case we ran the test several time and took the average number for the performance charts. We measured not only the average speed, but also the minimum speed of the cards where possible.

 
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