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Our testing methods
As ever, we did our best to deliver clean benchmark numbers. Tests were run at least twice, and the results were averaged. All graphics driver image quality settings were left at their defaults, with the exception that vertical refresh sync (vsync) was always disabled.

Our test system was configured like so:

Processor Pentium 4 3.4'E'GHz Pentium 4 550 3.4GHz
Front-side bus800MHz (200MHz quad-pumped)800MHz (200MHz quad-pumped)
MotherboardAbit IC7-GAbit AA8
BIOS revision2.41.4
North bridge82875P MCH925X MCH
South bridge ICH5RICH6R
Chipset driversINF Update 6.0.1.1002INF Update 6.0.1.1002
Memory size1GB (2 DIMMs)1GB (2 DIMMs)
Memory typeOCZ PC3200 EL DDR SDRAM at 400MHzOCZ PC2 5300 DDR2 SDRAM at 533MHz
CAS latency23
Cycle time510
RAS to CAS delay23
RAS precharge23
Hard driveMaxtor MaXLine III 250GB SATA 150
AudioIntegrated
GraphicsGeForce 5900 XT 128MB AGP with ForceWare 61.77 drivers
GeForce 6600 GT 128MB PCI-E with ForceWare 65.76 drivers
GeForce 6800 128MB with ForceWare 65.76 drivers
Radeon 9600 XT 128MB AGP with CATALYST 4.8 drivers
Radeon X600 XT 128MB PCI-E with CATALYST 4.8 drivers
Radeon 9800 XT 256MB AGP with CATALYST 4.8 drivers
OSMicrosoft Windows XP Professional
OS updatesService Pack 2, DirectX 9.0c

The test systems' Windows desktops were set at 1152x864 in 32-bit color at an 85Hz screen refresh rate.

We used the following versions of our test applications:

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