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Our testing methods
All tests were run three times, and their results were averaged, using the following test systems.

ProcessorAthlon 64 3200+ 2.0GHz
Front-side busHT 16-bit/800MHz downstream
HT 16-bit/800MHz upstream
MotherboardAbit KV8-MAX3
North bridgeVIA K8T800
South bridgeVIA VT8237
Chipset driverHyperion 4.51
Memory size512MB (1 DIMM)
Memory typeCorsair XMS3500 PC3000 DDR SDRAM
GraphicsAbit Radeon 9800 XT 256MBNVIDIA GeForce FX 5950 Ultra 256MB
Graphics driverCATALYST 4.1ForceWare 53.03
Storage

Maxtor 740X-6L 40GB 7200RPM ATA/133 hard drive

Operating SystemWindows XP Professional
Service Pack 1 and DirectX 9.0b

Abit's Radeon 9800 XT doesn't deviate at all from ATI's reference design, so we decided to use a truncated suite of benchmarks for testing. You can see how the 9800 XT performs in a wider range of tests in our original Radeon 9800 XT review, and in our coverage of the GeForce FX 5950 Ultra.

Because no one buys high-end cards like the Radeon 9800 XT to run at low resolutions, we also limited testing to 1600x1200. I also tested both cards with 4X antialiasing and 8X anisotropic filtering, and I tested the 9800 XT with 6X antialiasing and 16X aniso. Since the GeForce FX 5950 Ultra's anisotropic filtering tops out at 8X, you won't see any scores for the card at 6X/16X.

We used the following versions of our test applications:

The test systems' Windows desktop was set at 1024x768 in 32-bit color at a 75Hz screen refresh rate. Vertical refresh sync (vsync) was disabled for all tests. Most of the 3D gaming tests used the high detail image quality settings, with the exception that the resolution was set to 640x480 in 32-bit color.

All the tests and methods we employed are publicly available and reproducible. If you have questions about our methods, hit our forums to talk with us about them.