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Testbed and Methods

We performed out test session for ATI Radeon X1650 XT and its competitors on the following platforms:

  • AMD Athlon 64 FX-60 CPU (2x2.60GHz, 2x1MB L2)
  • ASUS A8R32-MVP Deluxe mainboard (ATI CrossFire Xpress 3200) for ATI Radeon graphics cards
  • Abit AN8 32X mainboard (nForce4 SLI X16) for Nvidia GeForce graphics cards
  • OCZ PC-3200 Platinum EL DDR SDRAM (2x1GB, CL2-3-2-5)
  • Maxtor MaXLine III 7B250S0 HDD (Serial ATA-150, 16MB buffer)
  • Creative SoundBlaster Audigy 2 sound card
  • Enermax Liberty 620W PSU (ELT620AWT, 620W)
  • Samsung SyncMaster 244T monitor (24”, maximum resolution 1920x1200@75Hz)
  • Microsoft Windows XP Pro SP2, DirectX 9.0c
  • ATI Catalyst 6.12
  • Nvidia ForceWare 93.71

The drivers were configured for maximum texture filtering quality.

AMD 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: 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: 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 the performance of mainstream solutions including ATI Radeon X1650 XT is not high enough for enabling FSAA, we ran the tests only in two modes: only with anisotropic filtering 16x and with FSAA 4x and anisotropic filtering 16x. 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 AMD 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 ATI Radeon X1650 XT, we included the following graphics cards into this review:

Since we didn’t have an original GeForce 7600 GS graphics card at the time the review was conducted, we simulated it by dropping the clock speeds of the GeForce 7600 GT down to the necessary level.

For our tests we used the following games and applications:

First-person 3D shooters:

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

Synthetic gaming benchmarks:

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