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Testbed and Methods

To test the performance of PowerColor HD 2600 Pro 512MB we assembled the following standard test platform:

  • Intel Core 2 Extreme X6800 processor (3.0GHz, FSB 1333MHz x 9);  
  • DFI LANParty UT ICFX3200-T2R/G mainboard (AMD RD600 chipset) for ATI Radeon based graphics cards;
  • Asus P5N32-E SLI mainboard (Nvidia nForce 680i SLI chipset) for Nvidia GeForce based 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 7.9;
  • Nvidia ForceWare 162.22.

Since we believe that the use of texture filtering optimizations is not justified in this case, the AMD and Nvidia graphics card drivers were set up to provide the highest possible quality of tri-linear and anisotropic texture filtering. Also, to ensure maximum image quality, we enabled transparent texture filtering - Adaptive antialiasing for AMD Catalyst and Transparency antialiasing (multisampling) for Nvidia ForceWare. As a result, our AMD and Nvidia driver settings looked as follows:

ATI Catalyst:

  • Catalyst A.I.: Standard
  • Mipmap Detail Level: High Quality
  • Wait for vertical refresh: Always off
  • Adaptive antialiasing: On
  • Temporal antialiasing: Off
  • High Quality AF: On
  • Other settings: by 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: by default

We selected the highest possible graphics quality level in each game using standard tools provided by the game itself. The games configuration files weren’t modified in any way. Performance was measured with the games’ own tools or, if not available, manually with Fraps utility version 2.9.1. We also measured the minimum speed of the cards where possible.

Just like with other ATI Radeon HD 2600 Pro graphics card models we again gave up 1920x1200 and 1920x1440 resolutions, because these mainstream solutions will almost definitely be unable to ensure acceptable performance level in them.  Therefore, we only ran the tests in 1280x1024/960 and 1600x1200 resolutions. We used “eye candy” mode everywhere, where it was possible without disabling the HDR or Shader Model 3.0. Namely, we ran the tests with enabled anisotropic filtering as well as MSAA 4x. We enabled them from the game’s menu. If this was not possible, we forced them using the appropriate driver settings of Catalyst and ForceWare.

PowerColor HD 2600 Pro 512MB will be competing against the following graphics accelerators participating in our test session:

  • AMD ATI Radeon HD 2600 XT GDDR4 (RV630, 800/2200MHz, 120sp, 8tmu, 4rop, 128-bit, 256MB)
  • ATI Radeon HD 2600 Pro (RV630, 600/1000MHz, 120sp, 8tmu, 4rop, 128-bit, 256MB)
  • AMD ATI Radeon X1950 Pro (RV570, 575/1380MHz, 36pp, 8vp, 12tmu, 12rop, 256-bit, 256MB)
  • Nvidia GeForce 8600 GTS (G84, 675/1450/2000MHz, 32sp, 16tmu, 8rop, 128-bit, 256MB)
  • Nvidia GeForce 8600 GT (G84, 540/1190/1400MHz, 32sp, 16tmu, 8rop, 128-bit, 256MB)

For our tests we used the following games and benchmarks:

First-Person 3D Shooters

  • Battlefield 2142
  • Call of Juarez
  • Far Cry
  • F.E.A.R. Extraction Point
  • Half-Life 2: Episode One
  • Prey
  • S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl

Third-Person 3D Shooters

  • Tomb Raider: Legend
  • Splinter Cell: Double Agent

RPG

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

Simulators

  • X3: Reunion

Strategies

  • Command & Conquer: Tiberium Wars
  • Company of Heroes
  • Supreme Commander

Synthetic Benchmarks

  • Futuremark 3DMark05
  • Futuremark 3DMark06
 
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