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Testbed and Methods

We used the games’ integrated benchmarks if possible. If the benchmark could produce the minimal fps rate besides the average one, we put it into the table of results and marked it in white. Games without built-in benchmarking tools were tested using the FRAPS utility and the minimal fps rates are also indicated in the diagrams.

We tested graphics cards with the PCI Express x16 interface on the following testbed:

  • AMD Athlon 64 4000+ CPU (2.40GHz, 1MB L2 cache)
  • ASUS A8N-SLI Deluxe mainboard (NVIDIA nForce4 SLI chipset)
  • OCZ PC3200 Platinum EB DDR SDRAM (2x512MB, CL2.5-3-2-8)
  • Samsung SpinPoint SP1213C (Serial ATA-150, 8MB buffer)
  • Creative SoundBlaster Audigy 2 sound card
  • Cooler Master Real Power 450 power supply (RS-450-ACLY, 450W)
  • Dell P1130 and Dell P1110 monitors (21”, 1800x1440@75Hz max display mode)
  • Microsoft Windows XP Pro SP2 with DirectX 9.0c
  • NVIDIA ForceWare 77.72 and ATI Catalyst 5.7 drivers

Sticking to our standard testing procedure, we set up the drivers from ATI and NVIDIA in the following way:

ATI CATALYST 5.7:

  • CATALYST A.I.: Standard
  • Mipmap Detail Level: Quality
  • Wait for vertical refresh: Always off
  • Other settings: default

NVIDIA ForceWare 77.72:

  • Image Settings: Quality
  • Vertical sync: Off
  • Trilinear optimization: On
  • Anisotropic mip filter optimization: Off
  • Anisotropic sample optimization: On
  • Other settings: default

We turn on full-screen antialiasing and anisotropic filtering from the game menu, if possible. Otherwise, we force the necessary mode from the driver. We do not edit the games’ configuration files. We select the highest graphics quality settings in each game, the same for graphics cards from ATI and NVIDIA, but choose the rendering mode depending on the graphics card’s capabilities, i.e. Shader Model 2.0 and 2.0b for graphics cards on ATI’s GPUs and Shader Model 3.0 for products on NVIDIA’s GPUs.

Besides the PowerColor Bravo X700, we tested the following graphics cards:

The GeForce 6600 and RADEON X700 graphics card models were emulated by down-clocking the GeForce 6600 GT and RADEON X700 PRO, respectively. We didn’t test the PowerColor card in the overclocked mode since it turned to have a very poor overclocking potential.

The list of games and benchmarks used follows below.

First Person 3D Shooters:

  • Battlefield 2
  • Chronicles of Riddick
  • Doom 3
  • Far Cry
  • F.E.A.R. Multiplayer Demo
  • Half-Life 2
  • Painkiller: Battle Out of Hell
  • Pariah
  • Project: Snowblind
  • Unreal Tournament 2004

Third Person 3D Shooters:

  • Prince of Persia: Warrior Within
  • Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory

Simulators:

  • Colin McRae Rally 2005
  • Lock On: Modern Air Combat
  • Pacific Fighters

Strategies:

  • Perimeter
  • Warhammer 40.000: Dawn of War

Semi-Synthetic Benchmarks:

  • Aquamark3
  • Final Fantasy XI Official Benchmark 3

Synthetic Benchmarks:

  • Futuremark 3DMark03, build 360
  • Futuremark 3DMark05, build 120
 
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