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Test notes
We did run into a few snags in our testing, although none of them affected the Radeon X1650 XT. Most notably, when we tried to run a pair of GeForce 7600 GT cards in SLI, we encountered some odd image artifacts that we couldn't make go away. The image artifacts didn't appear to affect performance, so we've included results for the GeForce 7600 GT in SLI. If we find a resolution for the problem and performance changes, we'll update the scores in this article.

Also, the 3DMark06 test results for the Radeon X1950 XTX CrossFire system were obtained using an Asus P5W DH motherboard, for reasons explained here. Otherwise, we used the test systems as described below.

Our testing methods
As ever, we did our best to deliver clean benchmark numbers. Tests were run at least three times, and the results were averaged.

Our test systems were configured like so:

Processor Core 2 Extreme X6800 2.93GHz Core 2 Extreme X6800 2.93GHz Core 2 Extreme X6800 2.93GHz
System bus 1066MHz (266MHz quad-pumped) 1066MHz (266MHz quad-pumped) 1066MHz (266MHz quad-pumped)
Motherboard Asus P5N32-SLI Deluxe Intel D975XBX Asus P5W DH
BIOS revision 0204 BX97510J.86A.1073.2006.0427.1210 0801
0305
North bridge nForce4 SLI X16 Intel Edition 975X MCH 975X MCH
South bridge nForce4 MCP ICH7R ICH7R
Chipset drivers ForceWare 6.86 INF Update 7.2.2.1007
Intel Matrix Storage Manager 5.5.0.1035
INF Update 7.2.2.1007
Intel Matrix Storage Manager 5.5.0.1035
Memory size 2GB (2 DIMMs) 2GB (2 DIMMs) 2GB (2 DIMMs)
Memory type Corsair TWIN2X2048-8500C5 DDR2 SDRAM at 800MHz Corsair TWIN2X2048-8500C5 DDR2 SDRAM at 800MHz Corsair TWIN2X2048-8500C5 DDR2 SDRAM at 800MHz
CAS latency (CL) 4 4 4
RAS to CAS delay (tRCD) 4 4 4
RAS precharge (tRP) 4 4 4
Cycle time (tRAS) 15 15 15
Hard drive Maxtor DiamondMax 10 250GB SATA 150 Maxtor DiamondMax 10 250GB SATA 150 Maxtor DiamondMax 10 250GB SATA 150
Audio Integrated nForce4/ALC850 with Realtek 5.10.0.6150 drivers Integrated ICH7R/STAC9221D5 with SigmaTel 5.10.5143.0 drivers Integrated ICH7R/ALC882M with Realtek 5.10.00.5247 drivers
Graphics Radeon X1650 XT 256MB PCIe
with Catalyst 8.301-060926a-036790E-ATI drivers
Radeon X1900 XTX 512MB PCIe + Radeon X1900 CrossFire
with Catalyst 8.282-060802a-035515C-ATI drivers
Dual Radeon X1650 XT 256MB PCIe
with Catalyst 8.301-060926a-036790E-ATI drivers
Radeon X1800 GTO 256MB PCIe
with Catalyst 8.282-060802a-035722C-ATI drivers
Radeon X1950 XTX 512MB PCIe + Radeon X1950 CrossFire
with Catalyst 8.282-060802a-03584E-ATI drivers
Dual Radeon X1950 Pro 256MB PCIe
with Catalyst 8.291-060822a-036024C-ATI drivers
Radeon X1900 GT 256MB PCIe
with Catalyst 8.282-060802a-035722C-ATI drivers
Radeon X1900 XT 256MB PCIe + Radeon X1900 CrossFire
with Catalyst 8.282-060802a-035515C-ATI drivers
Radeon X1900 XT 256MB PCIe
with Catalyst 8.282-060802a-03584E-ATI drivers
Radeon X1950 Pro 256MB PCIe
with Catalyst 8.291-060822a-036024C-ATI drivers
Radeon X1900 XTX 512MB PCIe
with Catalyst 8.282-060802a-03584E-ATI drivers
Radeon X1950 XTX 512MB PCIe
with Catalyst 8.282-060802a-03584E-ATI drivers
BFG GeForce 7600 GT OC 256MB PCIe
with ForceWare 91.47 drivers
Dual BFG GeForce 7600 GT OC 256MB PCIe
with ForceWare 91.47 drivers
XFX GeForce 7900 GS 480M Extreme 256MB PCIe
with ForceWare 91.47 drivers
Dual XFX GeForce 7900 GS 480M Extreme 256MB PCIe
with ForceWare 91.47 drivers
GeForce 7900 GT 256MB PCIe
with ForceWare 91.31 drivers
Dual GeForce 7900 GT 256MB PCIe
with ForceWare 91.31 drivers
XFX GeForce 7950 GT 570M Extreme 512MB PCIe
with ForceWare 91.47 drivers
Dual XFX GeForce 7950 GT 570M Extreme 512MB PCIe
with ForceWare 91.47 drivers
GeForce 7900 GTX 512MB PCIe
with ForceWare 91.31 drivers
Dual GeForce 7900 GTX 512MB PCIe
with ForceWare 91.31 drivers
GeForce 7950 GX2 1GB PCIe
with ForceWare 91.31 drivers
Dual GeForce 7950 GX2 1GB PCIe
with ForceWare 91.47 drivers
OS Windows XP Professional (32-bit)
OS updates Service Pack 2, DirectX 9.0c update (August 2006)

Thanks to Corsair for providing us with memory for our testing. Their quality, service, and support are easily superior to no-name DIMMs.

Our test systems were powered by OCZ GameXStream 700W power supply units. Thanks to OCZ for providing these units for our use in testing.

Unless otherwise specified, image quality settings for the graphics cards were left at the control panel defaults.

The test systems' Windows desktops were set at 1280x960 in 32-bit color at an 85Hz screen refresh rate. Vertical refresh sync (vsync) was disabled for all tests.

We used the following versions of our test applications:

The tests and methods we employ are generally publicly available and reproducible. If you have questions about our methods, hit our forums to talk with us about them.