We only received drivers for the GX2 in the middle of last week, so our testing time with the card has been extremely limited. As a result, we've restricted our testing to a small set of competing cards and to a single resolution and quality level per game. This is, as you may know, not our usual practice, but it will have to suffice for now. In order to tease out real differences between these products, we chose game settings and display resolutions intended to push the limits of the fastest cards we're testing. The differences between the cards might not be so great a lower resolutions, and they might be even greater with higher ones. With luck, though, our chosen settings will present a reasonably good picture of how these products compare to one another.
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||Asus A8R32-MVP Deluxe|
|North bridge||nForce4 SLI X16||Radeon Xpress 3200|
|South bridge||nForce4 SLI||ULi M1575|
|Chipset drivers||ForceWare 6.85||ULi Integrated 2.20|
|Memory size||2GB (2 DIMMs)||2GB (2 DIMMs)|
|Memory type||Corsair CMX1024-4400 Pro|
DDR SDRAM at 400 MHz
|Corsair CMX1024-4400 Pro|
DDR SDRAM at 400 MHz
|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 22.214.171.12460 drivers||Integrated M1575/ALC880 with Realtek 5.10.00.5247 drivers|
|Graphics||GeForce 7900 GT 256MB PCI-E with ForceWare 91.29 drivers||Radeon X1800 XT 512MB with Catalyst 6.5 drivers|
|GeForce 7900 GTX 512MB PCI-E with ForceWare 91.29 drivers||Radeon X1900 XTX 512MB with Catalyst 6.5 drivers|
|GeForce 7950 GX2 1GB PCI-E with ForceWare 91.29 drivers|
|OS||Windows XP Professional (32-bit)|
|OS updates||Service Pack 2, DirectX 9.0c update (April 2006)|
Thanks to Corsair for providing us with memory for our testing. Although these particular modules are rated for CAS 3 at 400MHz, they ran perfectly for us with 2.5-3-3-8 timings at 2.85V.
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 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:
- Quake 4 1.2 with trq4demo5 demo
- Battlefield 2 1.3
- The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion 1.1 beta
- FEAR 1.05
- Half-Life 2: Lost Coast with trcoast2 demo
- FutureMark 3DMark05 Build 1.20
- FRAPS 2.7.2
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.