iXBT Labs - Computer Hardware in Detail






i3DSpeed, March 2008

Monthly drivers report and popular 3D
accelerators comparison

The i3DSpeed, a project of iXBT.com and Digit-Life.com, is dedicated to informing you about performance of a large number of graphics cards under Windows XP and Vista.

Traditionally, we offer you summaries of performance of the popular graphics cards, and also inform you about the best price/performance deals in the market.

Issue #5 (94)

March 2008

Added test results for GeForce 9800 GTX, GeForce 9800 GX2.

We remind you that the benchmark list will be updated in the next issue of i3DSpeed. Some readers were not pleased with lots of CRYSIS-based benchmarks, but we still believe, and comprehensive studies confirm, that this game is an ideal suite for measuring potential of graphics cards. It also features all 3D graphics innovations, so we conduct tests in both DX9 and DX10 modes on two different levels. According to our experience, graphics cards behave differently in different scenes.

As more interesting gaming benchmarks arrive, we will be reducing the amount of CRYSIS-based benchmarks (and will gradually stop using the 3Dmark05).


  1. Testbed configurations and test software
  2. Tested videocards list
  3. i3DSpeed News
  4. Test summary diagrams and digest bottom line
  5. 3D accelerator rating calculations for the end of the month

1. Testbed configuration

  • Intel Core2 Duo (775 Socket) based machine
    • Intel Core2 Extreme QX9650 (3000 MHz) CPU;
    • Gigabyte GA-X38-DQ6 motherboard on Intel X38 chipset;
    • 2 GB DDR2 SDRAM Corsair 1066MHz (CAS (tCL)=5; RAS to CAS delay (tRCD)=5; Row Precharge (tRP)=5; tRAS=15);
    • WD Caviar SE WD1600JD 160GB SATA HDD.

Operating systems:

  • Windows XP Professional Service Pack 2, DirectX 9.0c,
  • Windows Vista Ultimate 32bit, DirectX 10;

Monitor: Dell 3007WFP (30").


2. Graphics cards

Below is a list of graphics cards that we tested linked to the respective 3Digest feature description pages.

In the brackets: core clock rate; ROP/TMU, core clock rate; shader unit, effective memory clock rate).

  1. PCI-E-ATI RADEON HD 2400 XT 256MB GDDR3 1.2ns (700/700/1600 MHz)
  2. PCI-E-ATI RADEON HD 2600 PRO 256MB GDDR2 2.0ns (600/600/1000 MHz)
  3. PCI-E-ATI RADEON HD 2600 PRO 256MB GDDR3 1.2ns (700/700/1400 MHz)
  4. PCI-E-ATI RADEON HD 2600 XT 256MB GDDR3 1.4ns (800/800/1400 MHz)
  5. PCI-E-ATI RADEON HD 2600 XT 256MB GDDR4 0.9ns (800/800/2200 MHz)
  6. PCI-E-ATI RADEON HD 3650 256MB GDDR3 1.1ns (725/725/1600 MHz)
  7. PCI-E-ATI RADEON HD 2900 PRO 512MB GDDR3 1.0ns (600/600/1600 MHz)
  8. PCI-E-ATI RADEON HD 3850 256MB GDDR3 1.0ns (670/670/1660 MHz)
  9. PCI-E-ATI RADEON HD 3850 512MB GDDR3 1.0ns (720/720/1800 MHz)
  10. PCI-E-ATI RADEON HD 3870 512MB GDDR4 0.8ns (775/775/2250 MHz)
  11. PCI-E-ATI RADEON HD 3870 512MB GDDR4 0.8ns (850/850/2380 MHz)
  12. PCI-E-ATI RADEON HD 3870 X2 2x512MB GDDR3 1.0ns (825/825/1800 MHz)
  13. PCI-E-NVIDIA GeForce 8500 GT 256MB GDDR2 2.5ns (450/900/800 MHz)
  14. PCI-E-NVIDIA GeForce 8600 GT 256MB GDDR3 1.2ns (560/1120/1560 MHz)
  15. PCI-E-NVIDIA GeForce 8600 GTS 256MB GDDR3 1.0ns (720/1440/2200 MHz)
  16. PCI-E-NVIDIA GeForce 9600 GT 512MB GDDR3 1.0ns (650/1625/1800 MHz)
  17. PCI-E-NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GS 384MB GDDR3 1.0ns (680/1674/1600 MHz)
  18. PCI-E-NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GT 512MB GDDR3 1.0ns (600/1512/1800 MHz)
  19. PCI-E-NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GTS 512MB GDDR3 1.0ns (650/1620/1940 MHz)
  20. PCI-E-NVIDIA GeForce 9800 GTX 512MB GDDR3 0.8ns (675/1688/2200 MHz)
  21. PCI-E-NVIDIA GeForce 9800 GX2 2x512MB GDDR3 1.0ns (600/1512/2000 MHz)
  22. PCI-E-NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GTX 768MB GDDR3 1.1ns (575/1350/1800 MHz)
  23. PCI-E-NVIDIA GeForce 8800 Ultra 768MB GDDR3 0.8ns (612/1512/2160 MHz)


3. March 2008 news and current matters

Added a number of new graphics cards (marked "NEW").

4. Summary graphics card performance charts for the latest drivers available at the moment of testing in March 2008

All willing to see the complete results in Excel 2003 format can download this RAR 3.0 or ZIP archive.

If you are familiar with 3D graphics, you will be able to draw all the conclusions yourself after looking at the charts provided. Those interested in our judgement of test results should see reviews dedicated to specific GPUs (see our 3D graphics section). And for newbies and those who has just started choosing a graphics card we'll provide some more detailed explanations.

First of all, you should take a look at our brief references of modern graphics card series and their respective GPUs. Note clock rates, shader support and pipeline architecture.

Reference for ATI RADEON X1300-1600-1800-1900-x, HD 2900 series

Reference for NVIDIA GeForce 7300-7600-7800-7900-8800 series

Secondly, in our 3D graphics section all newbies can read about the basics of 3D (this knowledge will be required anyway, because you'll surely try to adjust some game settings like textures, lighting, etc.) Besides, newbies should read separate reviews dedicated to new products. There are just two major GPU vendors: ATI (recently merged with AMD under its brand) and NVIDIA. Thus, all information is generally separated in two parts. We also publish monthly i3DSpeed articles (one of which you are reading now) that sum up all comparisons of graphics cards for various price ranges. In the February 2007 issue we analyzed dependence of modern graphics cards on processors without antialiasing and anisotropic filtering. Similar tests with AA and AF were conducted in March.

Thirdly, let's take a look at the chart and make conclusions. (Due to technical issues, 9800 GX2 memory clock rate is incorrectly specified as "1800 MHz". It should read "2000 MHz".)

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