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August 2004 3Digest

September 6, 2004








Monthly drivers report and popular 3D
accelerators comparison

Monthly 3D Digest is the project of iXBT.com devoted to releases of new Windows XP (monthly) and Windows 9x/ME (once in 4 months) drivers for popular videocards (released from the 10th of July 2004 to 10th of August 2004). As usual, there are many diagrams containing the information on changes in operation of videocards at change to last version drivers, and also summary diagrams of popular modern videocards performance. Traditionally we provide the best price/performance information for our 3Digest. We also pay much attention to ingame 3D graphics quality.

It's our 51th issue of 3Digest.

August 2004

So, the summer 2004 is at end, leaving place for autumn. This month brought almost nothing new.

Even NVIDIA's NV43 announcement in the form of GeForce 6600/6600GT turned out to be a paper one, as there are no cards - they will only arrive in September. Theoretically, they are nevertheless interesting and might inspire some interest among users.

Canadian ATI hasn't yet reacted to this announcement, but there are lots of rumours about RV410 and its similarity to NV43.

But we continue with our business. In particular, this issue features a lot of changes. First of all, we replaced Pentium4 3200 MHz (i875P) testbed with a newer Pentium4 3600 (i925X) one. Though this PCI-E platform doesn't have that many cards for it, our tests have shown that almost all cards perform better on Athlon64 3200+ testbed.

As we aimed at demonstrating card performance independently on platforms and systems, we select the fastest systems available for us.

We also expanded benchmark list with DOOM III and Painkiller. This kind of compensated the "missing" testbed.

And a number of graphics cards was added as well.

As for tests, we our experiments showed that NVIDIA cards are currently the best in price/performance ratio. E.g. GeForce 6800 GT and GeForce 6800, given you also have $250-500 to buy a new CPU, motherboard, etc. But if you have little money for upgrade (like card cost + $100), already ATI Radeon 9800 Pro and 9800 take the lead.

CONTENTS

  1. Testbed configurations and test software
  2. Tested videocards list
  3. What's new in 3Digest
  4. Test summary diagrams and digest bottom line
  5. 3D accelerator rating calculations for the end of the month
  6. Anisotropic filtering examination
  7. Examination of different antialiasing modes
  8. Screenshot gallery
  9. Games quality section



1. Testbed configuration



1.1. System on Athlon 64 3200+:

  • AMD Athlon 64 3200+ (L2=1024K);
  • ASUS K8V SE Deluxe motherboard on VIA K8T800;
  • 1 GB DDR SDRAM PC3200;
  • Seagate Barracuda 7200.7 80GB SATA HDD.

1.2. Pentium4 Overclocked 3200 MHz (Prescott) testbed

  • Intel Pentium4 3600 MHz (225MHz x 16; L2=1024K, LGA775), Hyper-Threading;
  • ABIT AA8 DuraMAX motherboard on i925X chipset;
  • 1 GB DDR2 SDRAM 300MHz;
  • WD Caviar SE WD1600JD 160GB SATA HDD.

Testbeds have Windows XP Professional Service Pack 2, DirectX 9.0C installed. ViewSonic P810 (21") and IIYAMA Vision Master Pro 514 (22") monitors were used.

The list of benchmarks is here

2. Videocard list

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

Drivers released by videocard manufacturers are not taken into account (unless written by GPU manufacturers) because there are very many of them and it's impossible to test them all.

3D graphics quality screenshots are provided in our monthly updated Screenshot Gallery.

Cards list:

  1. ATI RADEON 9550 128MB DDR 4ns (250/400 MHz)
  2. ATI RADEON 9550XT 128MB DDR 3.3ns (400/500 MHz)
  3. ATI RADEON 9600 128MB DDR 4ns (325/400 MHz)
  4. ATI RADEON 9600 SE 128MB 64bit DDR 4ns (325/400 MHz)
  5. ATI RADEON X300 SE PCX 128MB 64bit DDR 5ns (325/400 MHz)
  6. ATI RADEON X300 PCX 128MB DDR 5ns (325/400 MHz)
  7. ATI RADEON X600 PRO PCX 128MB DDR 3.3ns (400/600 MHz)
  8. ATI RADEON 9600 Pro 128MB DDR 2.8ns (400/600 MHz)
  9. ATI RADEON 9600 256MB DDR 5ns (325/400 MHz)
  10. ATI RADEON 9600 XT 128MB DDR 3.3ns (500/600 MHz)
  11. ATI RADEON X600 XT PCX 128MB DDR 2.5ns (500/760 MHz)
  12. ATI RADEON 9600 XT 128MB DDR 2.8ns (525/650 MHz)
  13. ATI RADEON 9800 SE 128MB 128bit DDR 3.3ns (325/540 MHz)
  14. ATI RADEON 9800 SE 128MB DDR 2.8ns (360/680 MHz)
  15. ATI RADEON 9800 128MB DDR 3.3ns (325/580 MHz)
  16. ATI RADEON 9800 Pro 128MB DDR 2.8ns (380/680 MHz)
  17. ATI RADEON 9800 Pro 256MB DDR 2.8ns (380/680 MHz)
  18. ATI RADEON 9800 XT 256MB DDR 2.5ns (412/730 MHz)
  19. ATI RADEON X800 Pro 256MB DDR3 2.0ns (475/890 MHz)
  20. ATI RADEON X800 XT 256MB DDR3 1.6ns (525/1150 MHz)
  21. NVIDIA GeForce FX 5200 128MB DDR 64bit 6ns (250/333 MHz)
  22. NVIDIA GeForce FX 5200 128MB DDR 5ns (250/400 MHz)
  23. NVIDIA GeForce FX 5500 128MB DDR 5ns (270/400 MHz)
  24. NVIDIA GeForce FX 5600 128MB DDR 3.6ns (325/550 MHz)
  25. NVIDIA GeForce FX 5600 XT 128MB 64bit DDR 4ns (235/400 MHz)
  26. NVIDIA GeForce FX 5600 XT 128MB 128bit DDR 4ns (235/400 MHz)
  27. NVIDIA GeForce FX 5700 LE 128MB DDR 5ns (250/400 MHz)
  28. NVIDIA GeForce FX 5700 128MB DDR 3.6ns (425/550 MHz)
  29. NVIDIA GeForce PCX5750 128MB DDR 3.6ns (425/500 MHz)
  30. NVIDIA GeForce FX 5700 Ultra 128MB DDR2 2.2ns (475/900 MHz)
  31. NVIDIA GeForce FX 5700 Ultra 128MB DDR3 2.0ns (475/950 MHz)
  32. NVIDIA GeForce FX 5900 XT 128MB DDR 2.8ns (390/700 MHz)
  33. NVIDIA GeForce PCX5900 128MB DDR 3.6ns (350/550 MHz)
  34. NVIDIA GeForce FX 5950 Ultra 256MB DDR 2.0ns (475/950 MHz)
  35. NVIDIA GeForce FX 5950 Ultra-GT 256MB DDR 2.0ns (520/950 MHz)
  36. NVIDIA GeForce 6800 128MB DDR 2.8ns (325/700 MHz)
  37. NVIDIA GeForce 6800 GT 256MB DDR3 2.0ns (350/1000 MHz)
  38. NVIDIA GeForce 6800 GT PCX 256MB DDR3 2.0ns (350/1000 MHz)
  39. NVIDIA GeForce 6800 Ultra 256MB DDR3 1.6ns (400/1100 MHz)
  40. NVIDIA GeForce 6800 Ultra PCX 256MB DDR3 1.6ns (400/1100 MHz)
  41. NVIDIA GeForce 6800 Ultra 256MB DDR3 1.6ns (450/1100 MHz)

Archive (videocards, information on which is no longer updated)

3. August 2004 news and the current business

  • 3.1. The following drivers were released from July 10, 2004 to August 10, 2004:

    • NVIDIA ForceWare for all NVIDIA cards:

      • Windows XP: 61.77, 65.62;


    • ATI Catalyst for all ATI cards:

      • Windows XP: 6.467 (CATALYST 4.8); 6.476 (CATALYST 4.9 beta)




  • 3.2. This month we used 65.62 drivers for NVIDIA cards summaries; 6.476 drivers for ATI cards summaries.

4. Summary diagrams of graphics cards performance with the latest drivers for August 2004.

We recommend you visit unofficial product support websites, if you come across any "peculiarities".

Summary diagrams were charted using results obtained on all testbeds, while quality aspects checks and drivers comparison were conducted on AMD Athlon 64 3200+. I guess no more comments needed, readers will easily understand what is what themselves. :)

5. 3D accelerator ratings calculations for the end of the month


Anyone who wants to conduct his own rating calculations with his own values may download this Excel table (Office XP) in RAR 3.0 or ZIP format.

In this issue we calculated prospect and usability ratings based on AMD Athlon 64 3200+ testbed results.

The method of rating calculation is described here.

Calculations were conducted considering the following assumptions:

  1. Windows XP is used;
  2. Percentage of performance and quality demand ratio:
    • performance priority - 60%
    • quality priority - 40%

  3. ONLY 1600x1200@32bpp resolution was used for the prospect rating;
  4. Usability ratings are separated into the three sections: High-End, Middle-End, and Low-End. Each rating features its own expenses for system upgrade. All this is considered in APG parameter that is $100 for Low-End, $250 for Middle-End, and $500 for High-End. We believe that if a user wants to purchase a very expensive and powerful accelerator, he understands the inanity of installing it into a Low-End PC. So we separated the usability rating for different PC levels.

Usability rating (rating from the previous 3Digest is in parentheses):

Usability rating: card price + $500

01. NVIDIA GeForce 6800 GT 256MB, 350/1000 MHz
(02)
02. NVIDIA GeForce 6800 128MB, 325/700 MHz
(01)
03. NVIDIA GeForce 6800 Ultra 256MB, 400/1100 MHz
(04)
04. ATI RADEON X800 PRO 256MB, 475/890 MHz
(05)
05. NVIDIA GeForce 6800 Ultra 256MB, 450/1100 MHz
(03)
06. ATI RADEON 9800 PRO 128MB, 380/680 MHz
(07)
07. ATI RADEON X800XT 256MB, 525/1150 MHz
(06)
08. ATI RADEON 9800 128MB, 325/590 MHz
(08)
09. ATI RADEON 9800XT 256MB, 412/730 MHz
(10)
10. ATI RADEON 9800 PRO 256MB, 380/680 MHz
(09)
11. ATI RADEON 9600XT 128MB, 525/650 MHz
(11)
12. ATI RADEON 9600XT 128MB, 500/600 MHz
(12)
13. ATI RADEON 9600 PRO 128MB, 400/600 MHz
(13)
14. ATI RADEON 9800 SE 128MB 256bit, 380/680 MHz
(14)
15. ATI RADEON 9550XT 128MB 400/500 MHz
(16)
16. ATI RADEON 9800 SE 128MB 128bit, 325/540 MHz
(20)
17. ATI RADEON 9600 128MB, 325/400 MHz
(17)
18. ATI RADEON 9600 256MB, 325/400 MHz
(18)
19. NVIDIA GeForce FX 5900XT 128MB, 390/700 MHz
(15)
20. ATI RADEON 9550 128MB 250/400 MHz
(22)
21. NVIDIA GeForce FX 5950 Ultra 256MB, 475/950 MHz
(23)
22. NVIDIA GeForce FX 5700 Ultra 128MB 475/950 MHz DDR3
(21)
23. NVIDIA GeForce FX 5950 Ultra GT 256MB, 520/950 MHz
(24)
24. NVIDIA GeForce FX 5700 Ultra 128MB, 475/900 MHz
(19)
25. NVIDIA GeForce FX 5700 128MB, 425/550 MHz
(25)
26. ATI RADEON 9600SE 128MB 64bit, 325/400 MHz
(26)
27. NVIDIA GeForce FX 5600 128MB, 325/550 MHz
(27)
28. NVIDIA GeForce FX 5700LE 128MB, 250/400 MHz
(28)
29. NVIDIA GeForce FX 5500 128MB 270/400 MHz
(29)
30. NVIDIA GeForce FX 5200 128MB, 250/400 MHz
(30)
31. NVIDIA GeForce FX 5600XT 128MB 128bit, 235/400 MHz
(31)
32. NVIDIA GeForce FX 5600XT 128MB 64bit, 235/400 MHz
(32)
33. NVIDIA GeForce FX 5200 128MB, 64bit, 250/333 MHz
(33)


Usability rating: card price + $250

01. NVIDIA GeForce 6800 128MB, 325/700 MHz
(01)
02. NVIDIA GeForce 6800 GT 256MB, 350/1000 MHz
(02)
03. ATI RADEON 9800 PRO 128MB, 380/680 MHz
(03)
04. ATI RADEON 9800 128MB, 325/590 MHz
(04)
05. ATI RADEON X800 PRO 256MB, 475/890 MHz
(05)
06. NVIDIA GeForce 6800 Ultra 256MB, 400/1100 MHz
(07)
07. NVIDIA GeForce 6800 Ultra 256MB, 450/1100 MHz
(06)
08. ATI RADEON X800XT 256MB, 525/1150 MHz
(08)
09. ATI RADEON 9800 PRO 256MB, 380/680 MHz
(09)
10. ATI RADEON 9600XT 128MB, 525/650 MHz
(10)
11. ATI RADEON 9800XT 256MB, 412/730 MHz
(14)
12. ATI RADEON 9600XT 128MB, 500/600 MHz
(11)
13. ATI RADEON 9600 PRO 128MB, 400/600 MHz
(12)
14. ATI RADEON 9550XT 128MB 400/500 MHz
(13)
15. ATI RADEON 9600 128MB, 325/400 MHz
(16)
16. ATI RADEON 9800 SE 128MB 256bit, 380/680 MHz
(15)
17. ATI RADEON 9600 256MB, 325/400 MHz
(17)
18. ATI RADEON 9800 SE 128MB 128bit, 325/540 MHz
(21)
19. ATI RADEON 9550 128MB 250/400 MHz
(19)
20. NVIDIA GeForce FX 5900XT 128MB, 390/700 MHz
(18)
21. ATI RADEON 9600SE 128MB 64bit, 325/400 MHz
(23)
22. NVIDIA GeForce FX 5700 128MB, 425/550 MHz
(22)
23. NVIDIA GeForce FX 5700 Ultra 128MB, 475/900 MHz
(20)
24. NVIDIA GeForce FX 5700 Ultra 128MB 475/950 MHz DDR3
(24)
25. NVIDIA GeForce FX 5600 128MB, 325/550 MHz
(25)
26. NVIDIA GeForce FX 5700LE 128MB, 250/400 MHz
(26)
27. NVIDIA GeForce FX 5950 Ultra 256MB, 475/950 MHz
(27)
28. NVIDIA GeForce FX 5950 Ultra GT 256MB, 520/950 MHz
(28)
29. NVIDIA GeForce FX 5200 128MB, 250/400 MHz
(29)
30. NVIDIA GeForce FX 5500 128MB 270/400 MHz
(30)
31. NVIDIA GeForce FX 5600XT 128MB 128bit, 235/400 MHz
(31)
32. NVIDIA GeForce FX 5200 128MB, 64bit, 250/333 MHz
(33)
33. NVIDIA GeForce FX 5600XT 128MB 64bit, 235/400 MHz
(32)


Usability rating: card price + $100

01. ATI RADEON 9800 PRO 128MB, 380/680 MHz
(03)
02. ATI RADEON 9800 128MB, 325/590 MHz
(02)
03. NVIDIA GeForce 6800 128MB, 325/700 MHz
(01)
04. ATI RADEON 9550XT 128MB 400/500 MHz
(08)
05. NVIDIA GeForce 6800 GT 256MB, 350/1000 MHz
(07)
06. ATI RADEON 9600XT 128MB, 525/650 MHz
(05)
07. ATI RADEON 9600XT 128MB, 500/600 MHz
(06)
08. ATI RADEON 9600 PRO 128MB, 400/600 MHz
(04)
09. ATI RADEON 9550 128MB 250/400 MHz
(10)
10. ATI RADEON 9600 128MB, 325/400 MHz
(09)
11. ATI RADEON 9600 256MB, 325/400 MHz
(11)
12. ATI RADEON 9600SE 128MB 64bit, 325/400 MHz
(15)
13. ATI RADEON X800 PRO 256MB, 475/890 MHz
(13)
14. ATI RADEON 9800 SE 128MB 128bit, 325/540 MHz
(21)
15. ATI RADEON 9800 PRO 256MB, 380/680 MHz
(12)
16. ATI RADEON 9800 SE 128MB 256bit, 380/680 MHz
(14)
17. ATI RADEON 9800XT 256MB, 412/730 MHz
(25)
18. NVIDIA GeForce 6800 Ultra 256MB, 400/1100 MHz
(18)
19. NVIDIA GeForce FX 5600 128MB, 325/550 MHz
(20)
20. NVIDIA GeForce FX 5700 128MB, 425/550 MHz
(17)
21. ATI RADEON X800XT 256MB, 525/1150 MHz
(22)
22. NVIDIA GeForce 6800 Ultra 256MB, 450/1100 MHz
(19)
23. NVIDIA GeForce FX 5700LE 128MB, 250/400 MHz
(24)
24. NVIDIA GeForce FX 5900XT 128MB, 390/700 MHz
(16)
25. NVIDIA GeForce FX 5200 128MB, 250/400 MHz
(26)
26. NVIDIA GeForce FX 5500 128MB 270/400 MHz
(28)
27. NVIDIA GeForce FX 5700 Ultra 128MB, 475/900 MHz
(23)
28. NVIDIA GeForce FX 5700 Ultra 128MB 475/950 MHz DDR3
(27)
29. NVIDIA GeForce FX 5200 128MB, 64bit, 250/333 MHz
(29)
30. NVIDIA GeForce FX 5600XT 128MB 128bit, 235/400 MHz
(30)
31. NVIDIA GeForce FX 5600XT 128MB 64bit, 235/400 MHz
(31)
32. NVIDIA GeForce FX 5950 Ultra 256MB, 475/950 MHz
(32)
33. NVIDIA GeForce FX 5950 Ultra GT 256MB, 520/950 MHz
(33)

Prospect rating (previous rating is in parenthesis):

01. ATI RADEON X800XT 256MB, 525/1150 MHz
(02)
02. NVIDIA GeForce 6800 Ultra 256MB, 450/1100 MHz
(01)
03. NVIDIA GeForce 6800 Ultra 256MB, 400/1100 MHz
(03)
04. NVIDIA GeForce 6800 GT 256MB, 350/1000 MHz
(04)
05. ATI RADEON X800 PRO 256MB, 475/890 MHz
(05)
06. NVIDIA GeForce 6800 128MB, 325/700 MHz
(06)
07. ATI RADEON 9800XT 256MB, 412/730 MHz
(07)
08. NVIDIA GeForce FX 5950 Ultra GT 256MB, 520/950 MHz
(10)
09. ATI RADEON 9800 PRO 256MB, 380/680 MHz
(08)
10. ATI RADEON 9800 PRO 128MB, 380/680 MHz
(09)
11. NVIDIA GeForce FX 5950 Ultra 256MB, 475/950 MHz
(11)
12. ATI RADEON 9800 128MB, 325/590 MHz
(12)
13. NVIDIA GeForce FX 5900XT 128MB, 390/700 MHz
(13)
14. NVIDIA GeForce FX 5700 Ultra 128MB 475/950 MHz DDR3
(15)
15. NVIDIA GeForce FX 5700 Ultra 128MB, 475/900 MHz
(14)
16. ATI RADEON 9600XT 128MB, 525/650 MHz
(16)
17. ATI RADEON 9600XT 128MB, 500/600 MHz
(17)
18. ATI RADEON 9800 SE 128MB 256bit, 380/680 MHz
(18)
19. NVIDIA GeForce FX 5700 128MB, 425/550 MHz
(20)
20. ATI RADEON 9600 PRO 128MB, 400/600 MHz
(19)
21. ATI RADEON 9550XT 128MB 400/500 MHz
(21)
22. NVIDIA GeForce FX 5700LE 128MB, 250/400 MHz
(23)
23. NVIDIA GeForce FX 5600 128MB, 325/550 MHz
(22)
24. ATI RADEON 9800 SE 128MB 128bit, 325/540 MHz
(24)
25. ATI RADEON 9600 256MB, 325/400 MHz
(25)
26. ATI RADEON 9600 128MB, 325/400 MHz
(26)
27. ATI RADEON 9550 128MB 250/400 MHz
(27)
28. NVIDIA GeForce FX 5500 128MB 270/400 MHz
(28)
29. NVIDIA GeForce FX 5600XT 128MB 128bit, 235/400 MHz
(30)
30. NVIDIA GeForce FX 5200 128MB, 250/400 MHz
(29)
31. ATI RADEON 9600SE 128MB 64bit, 325/400 MHz
(31)
32. NVIDIA GeForce FX 5600XT 128MB 64bit, 235/400 MHz
(32)
33. NVIDIA GeForce FX 5200 128MB, 64bit, 250/333 MHz
(33)


Game quality section



6. Anisotropic filtering examination

Anisotropic filtering examination on the example of Call Of Duty (OpenGL) and Unreal 2: The Awakening (Direct3D), (Windows XP)

7. Antialiasing examination

Antialiasing examination in FarCry (Direct 3D), (Windows XP)

8. Games screenshot gallery

All test screenshots are compiled into a gallery where you can qualify the work of a chosen videocard. All shots were taken at the same 1024x768 resolution at the maximum quality. Screenshot gallery

9. Games artefacts gallery

Games quality section



We thank all the companies that provided us with graphics cards and other equipment for our 3Digest, including:
HIS (Peter Yueng personally)
Bench'emAll! (Alexander Kondratyuk AKA Render personally for helping us optimize our tests).





Vitaly Milov (black_nqr@yahoo.com)
Danil Gridasov (degust@ixbt.com)








and Andrey Vorobiev (anvakams@ixbt.com)







04.08.2004

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