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Testbed and Methods

During our comparative testing of the Radeon X1950 Pro and GeForce 7900 GS 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 6.11
  • 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. Since PowerColor Radeon X1950 Pro Extreme belongs to high-end graphics cards, we only used FSAA 4x + Aniso 16x mode. 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 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.

Besides the PowerColor Radeon X1950 Pro Extreme 256MB, we included the following graphics cards into this review:

We used the following games and benchmarks:

First-Person 3D Shooters

  • Battlefield 2
  • Battlefield 2142
  • Call of Duty 2
  • Far Cry
  • F.E.A.R.
  • F.E.A.R. Extraction Point
  • Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter
  • Half-Life 2: Episode One
  • Prey
  • Quake 4
  • Serious Sam 2

Third-Person 3D Shooters:

  • Hitman: Blood Money
  • Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory
  • Tomb Raider: Legend

RPG

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

Simulators:

  • Pacific Fighters
  • X3: Reunion

Strategies:

  • Age of Empires 3: The War Chiefs
  • Company of Heroes
  • Rise of Nations: Rise of Legends

Synthetic Benchmarks:

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