Testbed and Methods
We tested our professional graphics cards on a workstation built around a dual-core AMD Athlon 64 FX-60 processors and featuring 2GB of RAM. Here is a detailed list of hardware we used to build our workstations:
- CPU: AMD Athlon 64 FX-60 (Socket 939, 2.6GHz, 2x1MB L2).
- Mainboard: DFI LANParty UT CFX3200-DR (Socket 939, ATI CrossFire CFX3200).
- Memory: 2048MB DDR400 SDRAM (Corsair CMX1024-3500LLPRO, 2 x 1024 MB, 2-3-2-10).
- Graphics cards:
- ATI FireGL V7350;
- ATI FireGL V7200;
- ATI FireGL V5200;
- ATI FireGL V3400;
- NVIDIA Quadro FX 5500;
- NVIDIA Quadro FX 4500;
- NVIDIA Quadro FX 3500;
- NVIDIA Quadro FX 1500;
- NVIDIA Quadro FX 560.
- HDD: Maxtor MaXLine III 250GB (SATA150).
- OS: Microsoft Windows XP SP2 with DirectX 9.0c.
These are the drivers that we used for our professional graphics cards test session:
- ATI FireGL Unified Driver Version 8.223;
- ATI FireGL Driver for 3D Studio MAX/VIZ 8.223;
- NVIDIA ForceWare Driver Version 90.61;
- NVIDIA MAXtreme Driver Version 8.00.03.00.
We tested the cards in professional applications in 1280x1024 resolution with Vsync disabled unless stated otherwise. Before measuring the performance in all applications we selected the corresponding profile in the OpenGL driver.
Comparative Specifications of Testing Participants
Before we pass on to discussing the benchmark results let’s take a closer look at the comparative chart for the specifications of the testing participants. This will help us make the right conclusions from the results we are going to see below:
Note that it is not an easy task to compare formal specifications. The thing is that ATI and Nvidia have absolutely different architectures that is why even if there are more functional units and the clock speed is higher it doesn’t necessarily indicate higher performance in real applications. Moreover, drives have great influence on performance of professional solutions. However, we still have to stress that if we compare the peak theoretical performance, then the top Nvidia solutions will be about 1.5 times faster than ATI solutions.