Our testing methods
As ever, we did our best to deliver clean benchmark numbers. Tests were run three times, and the results were averaged.
Our test system was configured like so:
|Processor||AMD Athlon 64 3200+ 2.0GHz|
|Front-side bus||HT 16-bit/600MHz downstream|
HT 8-bit/600MHz upstream
|Motherboard||Chaintech Zenith ZNF3-150|
|Chipset||NVIDIA nForce3 Pro 150|
|Chipset drivers||nForce 3.13|
|Memory size||512MB (1 DIMM)|
|Memory type||Corsair XMS3500 PC3200 DDR SDRAM (400MHz)|
|Graphics card||GeForce FX 5900SE 128MB|
GeForce FX 5700 Ultra 128MB
|Radeon 9600 XT 128MB|
|Graphics driver||Detonator FX 52.16||CATALYST 3.9|
|Storage||Maxtor DiamondMax Plus D740X 7200RPM ATA/100 hard drive|
|OS||Microsoft Windows XP Professional|
|OS updates||Service Pack 1, DirectX 9.0b|
Today we'll be looking at the GeForce FX 5900 XT's performance against its $200 competition: the GeForce FX 5700 Ultra and ATI's Radeon 9600 XT. I've included results for the 5900 XT with NVIDIA's previous 52.16 drivers, and the new 53.03s.
Though ATI's Catalyst 3.9 drivers support Overdrive automatic overclocking for the Radeon 9600 XT, we ran the card with Overdrive disabled. Since Overdrive is controlled by the GPU core temperature, which is influenced by variable ambient system temperatures and the thermal characteristics of individual graphics cores, it's hard to come up with reproducible scores.
It's important to mention that, at press time, the NVIDIA Detonator 53.03 drivers we used for testing weren't approved by FutureMark for use with 3DMark03. FutureMark has yet to evaluate the drivers in question. Keep in mind that future 3DMark03 patches may combat optimizations in unapproved drivers, which could impact performance in the benchmark.
The test system's 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.
We used the following versions of our test applications:
- FutureMark 3DMark03 Build 340
- Comanche 4 demo benchmark
- Quake III Arena v1.31 with trdemo1.dm_67
- Serious Sam SE v1.07 with Demo0003
- Unreal Tournament 2003 with trtest1.dem
- Splinter Cell v1.2 with TRKalinatekDemo.bin
- Tomb Raider: Angel of Darkness v49 patch
- Gun Metal benchmark v1.20
- ShaderMark 2.0
- rthdribl 1.2
- Halo 1.02
- Call of Duty with trdemo.dm_1
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.