Performance in Theoretical Benchmarks: RADEON X1800 XT/XL
For our theoretical testing session we used the following benchmarks:
- Marko Dolenc’s Fillrate Tester ;
- Xbitmark v0.60;
- 3DMark 2001SE build 330;
- 3DMark03 build 360;
- 3DMark05 build 120.
Since this review is devoted not only to RADEON X1800 graphics solution, but also to RADEON X1600 and RADEON X1300, we performed three rounds of theoretical tests instead of one. Let’s start with the top representatives of the new graphics processor family: RADEON X1800 XT and RADEON X1800 XL. We will compare them against the following competitor solutions and predecessors:
- GeForce 7800 GTX (G70, 430/1200MHz, 24p, 8v, 256-bit, 256MB)
for details see our article called NVIDIA GeForce 7800 GTX: Monstrous Gaming Performance Unleashed
- GeForce 6800 Ultra (NV45, 425/1100MHz, 16pp, 6vp, 256-bit, 256MB)
for details see our article called NVIDIA Multi-GPU SLI Technology: New Approach to Old Ideas
- RADEON X850 XT Platinum Edition (R480, 540/1180MHz, 16pp, 6vp, 256-bit, 256MB)
for details see our article called ATI RADEON X850 Platinum Edition: Good Things Go Better
This time we used a new version of Marko Dolenc’s Fillrate Tester, which was kindly submitted by the developer. Compared with the previous version, the new Fillrate Tester offers much broader testing features.
Judging by the pure fillrate results, RADEON X1800 XT demonstrates unattainable performance due to very high chip and memory subsystem working frequencies. RADEON X1800 XL looks not so overwhelmingly impressive, but it also outperforms slightly the GeForce 7800 GTX with its relatively modest working frequencies.
Since RADEON X1000 family cannot process doubled number of Z values per clock like GeForce 6/7 families would do, NVIDIA solutions lead the race here.
After that when we have only one texture, the performance of RADEON X1800 XT and GeForce 7800 GTX and GeForce 6800 Ultra levels out, while RADEON X1800 XL falls behind RADEON X850 XT PE for some reason. With two textures involved the situation changes dramatically: the fillrate of GeForce 6800 Ultra drops down almost to the level of RADEON X1800 XL, which finally starts outperforming the predecessor, RADEON X850 XT Platinum Edition. Top solutions from ATI and NVIDIA run almost neck and neck, with GeForce 7800 GTX being just a little bit faster. It is most likely to indicate that NVIDIA’s product boasts better caching algorithms.
When the number of textures rises to three, RADEON X1800 XT starts falling badly behind the rivals despite its very high clock frequency. Looks like better caching algorithms and 24 pipelines of GeForce 7800 GTX help a lot in this case. Adding another texture doesn’t change anything: GeForce 7800 GTX is the indisputable leader, while RADEON X1800 XT managed to outperform only GeForce 6800 Ultra. RADEON X1800 XL and RADEON X850 XT Platinum Edition finish the race side by side.
Well, everything indicates that RADEON X1800 XT/XL cannot do the texturing as good as NVIDIA GeForce 7800 GTX/6800 Ultra. ATI’s newcomers prove efficient only with no or just one single texture to be laid. RADEON X1800 XT can blame the fewer pixel processors for its failure in this test. However, as for the performance of the RADEON X1800 XL, which turned out slower than GeForce 6800 Ultra and sometimes even slower than RADEON X850 XT PE, it looks much more complicated than that. Was it the caching issue? Shall we blame raw unfinished drivers? Hard to tell. Although, it is still too early to make any conclusions; let’s see how the new GPU family will cope with the pixel shader tests, particularly, since ATI paid special attention to improving the shader performance of its newcomers.