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Testbed and Methods

To test the performance of ATI Radeon HD 2600 XT GDDR4 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) for AMD/ATI graphics cards;
  • Asus P5N32-E SLI mainboard (Nvidia nForce 680i SLI) for Nvidia 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;
  • Nvidia ForceWare 158.24;
  • ATI Catalyst Beta 8.38.9.1-rc2_48912/ATI Catalyst 7.9.

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. We have also enabled transparent texture filtering. The Nvidia ForceWare and AMD Catalyst settings looked as follows:

AMD 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: 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: On (multi-sampling)
  • Other settings: 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 2.8.2. We also measured the minimum speed of the cards where possible.

We performed our tests in 1280x1024/960 and 1600x1200. 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 ForceWare or Catalyst driver settings.

Besides the Radeon HD 2600 XT we also tested the following solutions:

  • AMD Radeon X1950 Pro (RV570, 575/1380MHz, 36pp, 8vp, 12tmu, 12rop, 256-bit, 256MB GDDR3)
  • Nvidia GeForce 8800 GTS 320MB (G80, 513/1188/1600MHz, 96sp, 24tmu, 20rop, 320-bit, 320MB GDDR3)
  • Nvidia GeForce 8600 GTS (G84, 675/1450/2000MHz, 32sp, 16tmu, 8rop, 128-bit, 256MB GDDR3)
  • Nvidia GeForce 8600 GT (G84, 540/1190/1400MHz, 32sp, 16tmu, 8rop, 128-bit, 256MB GDDR3)

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
  • Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter
  • Half-Life 2: Episode One
  • Prey
  • S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl

Third-Person 3D Shooters

  • Hitman: Blood Money
  • Lost Planet: Condition Extreme
  • 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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