Single page Print
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 Athlon 64 X2 4800+ 2.4GHz
System bus 1GHz HyperTransport
Motherboard Asus A8N32-SLI Deluxe ATI RD480 CrossFire reference board
BIOS revision 0806 080012
North bridge nForce4 SLI X16 Radeon Xpress 200P CrossFire Edition
South bridge SB450
Chipset drivers SMBus driver 4.50 SMBus driver 5.10.1000.5
Memory size 2GB (2 DIMMs) 2GB (2 DIMMs)
Memory type Crucial PC3200 DDR SDRAM at 400MHz Crucial PC3200 DDR SDRAM at 400MHz
CAS latency (CL) 2.5 2.5
RAS to CAS delay (tRCD) 3 3
RAS precharge (tRP) 3 3
Cycle time (tRAS) 8 8
Hard drive Maxtor DiamondMax 10 250GB SATA 150 Maxtor DiamondMax 10 250GB SATA 150
Audio Integrated nForce4/ALC850 with Realtek 5.10.0.5900 drivers Integrated SB450/ALC880 with Realtek 5.10.00.5188 drivers
Graphics GeForce 6800 GS 256MB PCI-E
with ForceWare 81.98 drivers
Radeon X1800 XL 256MB PCI-E
with Catalyst 8-203-3-060104a-029367E drivers
Dual GeForce 6800 GS 256MB PCI-E
with ForceWare 81.98 drivers
Radeon X1800 XT 512MB PCI-E
with Catalyst 8-203-3-060104a-029367E drivers
XFX GeForce 7800 GT 256MB PCI-E
with ForceWare 81.98 drivers
Radeon X1800 CrossFire + Radeon X1800 XT 512MB PCI-E
with Catalyst 8-203-3-060104a-029367E drivers
Dual XFX GeForce 7800 GT 256MB PCI-E
with ForceWare 81.98 drivers
Radeon X1900 XTX 512MB PCI-E
with Catalyst 8-203-3-060104a-029367E drivers
MSI GeForce 7800 GTX 256MB PCI-E
with ForceWare 81.98 drivers
Radeon X1900 CrossFire 512MB PCI-E
with Catalyst 8-203-3-060104a-029367E drivers
Dual MSI GeForce 7800 GTX 256MB PCI-E
with ForceWare 81.98 drivers
Radeon X1900 CrossFire + Radeon X1900 XTX 512MB PCI-E
with Catalyst 8-203-3-060104a-029367E drivers
GeForce 7800 GTX 512 512MB PCI-E
with ForceWare 81.98 drivers
Dual GeForce 7800 GTX 512 512MB PCI-E
with ForceWare 81.98 drivers
OS Windows XP Professional (32-bit)
OS updates Service Pack 2, DirectX 9.0c SDK update (December 2005)

Thanks to Crucial for providing us with memory for our testing. 2GB of RAM seems to be the new standard for most folks, and Crucial hooked us up with some of its 1GB DIMMs for testing. Although these particular modules are rated for CAS 3 at 400MHz, they ran perfectly for us at 2.5-3-3-8 with 2.85V.

All of our test systems were powered by OCZ PowerStream 520W power supply units. The PowerStream was one of our Editor's Choice winners in our last PSU round-up.

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

The test systems' Windows desktops were set at 1280x1024 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.