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3Digest, March 2005

April 13, 2005






Monthly drivers report and popular 3D
accelerators comparison

Monthy 3Digest is the project of ixBT.com and Digit-Life.com dedicated to informing you about the performance of a large number of graphics cards under Windows XP in the past month. Materials are published according to the three-month cycle:

  1. First month: Summary performance charts of ALL graphics cards (40-50 of them) and their latest drivers available 20 days before the Digest is released.
  2. Second month: Examination of scalability or some other graphics card characteristic based on a selection of 30 cards.
  3. Third month: Additional examinations based on the same card selection.

Then the cycle repeats.

In this issue we provide performance results for drivers released from the 10th of February 2005 to the 10th of March 2005. Traditionally our 3Digest informs you about the best price/performance ratios available in the market. Another very important part of any issue is cards' 3D graphics quality shown on the example of a wide selection of games.

It's our 58th issue of 3Digest.

March 2005

This month has seen the announcements of ATI's AGP solution on RADEON x800, x800xL, x850 GPUs. Such cards will be added to our list next month.

MORE 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. Screenshot gallery
  7. Games quality section



1. Testbed configuration



  • 1.1. Testbed on Athlon 64 (Socket754):
    • AMD Athlon 64 3400+ (L2=1024K);
    • ASUS K8V SE Deluxe motherboard on VIA K8T800;
    • 1 GB DDR SDRAM PC3200;
    • Seagate Barracuda 7200.7 80GB SATA HDD.

  • 1.2. Testbed on Athlon 64 (Socket939)
    • AMD Athlon 3800+ (L2=512K);
    • ASUS A8N SLI Deluxe motherboard on NVIDIA nForce4 SLI;
    • 1 GB DDR SDRAM 400MHz;
    • 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. Graphics card 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.

You can see the quality of 3D graphics produced by tested cards in our monthly updated Screenshot gallery.

Card list:

  1. AGP-ATI RADEON 9550 128MB DDR 4ns (250/400 MHz)
  2. AGP-ATI RADEON 9600 SE 128MB 64bit DDR 4ns (325/400 MHz)
  3. AGP-ATI RADEON 9600 Pro 128MB DDR 2.8ns (400/600 MHz)
  4. AGP-ATI RADEON 9600 256MB DDR 5ns (325/400 MHz)
  5. AGP-ATI RADEON 9600 xT 128MB DDR 3.3ns (500/600 MHz)
  6. AGP-ATI RADEON 9800 PRO 128MB DDR 3.3ns 128bit (380/600 MHz)
  7. AGP-ATI RADEON 9800 Pro 128MB DDR 2.8ns (380/680 MHz)
  8. AGP-ATI RADEON x800 Pro 256MB GDDR3 2.0ns (475/900 MHz)
  9. AGP-ATI RADEON x800 xT 256MB GDDR3 1.6ns (500/1000 MHz)
  10. AGP-ATI RADEON x800 xT PE 256MB GDDR3 1.6ns (520/1120 MHz)
  11. AGP-NVIDIA GeForce Fx 5700 128MB DDR 3.6ns (425/550 MHz)
  12. AGP-NVIDIA GeForce 6200 128MB DDR 4.0ns (300/500 MHz)
  13. AGP-NVIDIA GeForce 6600 128MB DDR 4.0ns (300/500 MHz)
  14. AGP-NVIDIA GeForce 6600GT 128MB GDDR3 2.0ns (500/900 MHz)
  15. AGP-NVIDIA GeForce 6800LE 128MB DDR 2.8ns (325/700 MHz)
  16. AGP-NVIDIA GeForce 6800 128MB DDR 2.8ns (325/700 MHz)
  17. AGP-NVIDIA GeForce 6800 256MB GDDR3 2.0ns (350/1000 MHz)
  18. AGP-NVIDIA GeForce 6800 GT 128MB DDR 2.8ns (350/700 MHz)
  19. AGP-NVIDIA GeForce 6800 GT 256MB GDDR3 2.0ns (350/1000 MHz)
  20. AGP-NVIDIA GeForce 6800 Ultra 256MB GDDR3 1.6ns (425/1100 MHz)
  21. xGI Volari Duo V8 Ultra 256MB DDR2 2ns (330/900 MHz)
  22. PCI-E-ATI RADEON x300 128MB DDR 5ns (325/400 MHz)
  23. PCI-E-ATI RADEON x600 PRO 128MB DDR 3.3ns (400/600 MHz)
  24. PCI-E-ATI RADEON x600 xT 128MB DDR 2.5ns (500/760 MHz)
  25. PCI-E-ATI RADEON x700 128MB DDR 2.8ns (400/700 MHz)
  26. PCI-E-ATI RADEON x700 PRO 256MB GDDR3 2.0ns (425/860 MHz)
  27. PCI-E-ATI RADEON x800 256MB GDDR3 2.0ns (400/990 MHz)
  28. PCI-E-ATI RADEON x800 xL 256MB GDDR3 2.0ns (400/990 MHz)
  29. PCI-E-ATI RADEON x800 xT 256MB GDDR3 1.6ns (500/1000 MHz)
  30. PCI-E-ATI RADEON x800 xT PE 256MB GDDR3 1.6ns (520/1120 MHz)
  31. PCI-E-ATI RADEON x850 xT 256MB GDDR3 1.6ns (520/1080 MHz)
  32. PCI-E-ATI RADEON x850 xT PE 256MB GDDR3 1.6ns (540/1180 MHz)
  33. PCI-E-NVIDIA GeForce PCx5750 128MB DDR 3.6ns (425/500 MHz)
  34. PCI-E-NVIDIA GeForce PCx5900 128MB DDR 3.6ns (350/550 MHz)
  35. PCI-E-NVIDIA GeForce 6200 128MB DDR 3.6ns (300/550 MHz)
  36. PCI-E-NVIDIA GeForce 6600 128MB DDR 3.6ns (300/550 MHz)
  37. PCI-E-NVIDIA GeForce 6600GT 128MB GDDR3 2.0ns (500/1000 MHz)
  38. PCI-E-NVIDIA GeForce 6800 256MB DDR 2.8ns (350/600 MHz)
  39. PCI-E-NVIDIA GeForce 6800 GT 256MB GDDR3 2.0ns (350/1000 MHz)
  40. PCI-E-NVIDIA GeForce 6800 Ultra 256MB GDDR3 1.6ns (425/1100 MHz)
  41. PCI-E-NVIDIA GeForce 6800 Ultra SLI 2x256MB DDR3 1.6ns (2x400/1100 MHz)
  42. PCI-E-NVIDIA GeForce 6800 GT SLI 2x256MB DDR3 2.0ns (2x350/1000 MHz)
  43. PCI-E-NVIDIA GeForce 6800 SLI 2x256MB DDR 2.8ns (2x350/600 MHz)
  44. PCI-E-NVIDIA GeForce 6600 GT SLI 2x128MB DDR3 2.0ns (2x500/1000 MHz)

Archive (videocards, which info is no longer updated)

3. March 2005 news and current matters

  • 3.1. The following drivers were released from February 10, 2004 to March 10, 2004:

    • NVIDIA ForceWare for all NVIDIA cards:

      • Windows XP: 75.90, 76.10, 71.84WHQL;


    • ATI Catalyst for all ATI cards:

      • Windows XP: 6.517 (CATALYST 5.3)




  • 3.2. This month we used 71.84 drivers for NVIDIA cards summaries; 6.517 drivers for ATI cards summaries.

4. Summary graphics card performance charts for the latest drivers available at the moment of testing in March 2005

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


All willing to conduct his own rating calculations with his own values are invited to download this Excel xP table in RAR 3.0 or ZIP format.

Usability and prospect ratings were calculated using test results obtained on two testbeds. Therefore there are TWO RATING SERIES presented.

The method of rating calculation is described here.

Calculations were conducted considering the following assumptions:

  1. Percentage of performance and quality demand ratio:
    • performance priority - 60%
    • quality priority - 40%

  2. ONLY 1600x1200@32bpp resolution was used for the prospect rating;
  3. The usability rating characterizes card performance and features (numerator) relatively to its price (denominator).

  1. Testbed on Athlon64 3400+ (AGP):

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



    Usability rating

    01. NVIDIA GeForce 6800 GT 256MB, 350/1000 MHz (07)
    02. ATI RADEON x800xT PE 256MB, 525/1150 MHz (09)
    03. NVIDIA GeForce 6600 GT AGP 128MB, 500/900 MHz (01)
    04. NVIDIA GeForce 6800 Ultra 256MB, 425/1100 MHz (14)
    05. ATI RADEON x800xT 256MB, 500/1000 MHz (10)
    06. NVIDIA GeForce 6800 GT 128MB, 350/700 MHz (02)
    07. NVIDIA GeForce 6800 128MB, 325/700 MHz (03)
    08. NVIDIA GeForce 6800 256MB, 350/1000 MHz (08)
    09. ATI RADEON x800 PRO 256MB, 475/900 MHz (06)
    10. NVIDIA GeForce 6800LE 128MB, 325/700 MHz (04)
    11. NVIDIA GeForce 6600 AGP 128MB, 300/500 MHz (--)
    12. ATI RADEON 9800 PRO 128MB, 380/680 MHz (15)
    13. ATI RADEON 9600 PRO 128MB, 400/600 MHz (05)
    14. ATI RADEON 9800 PRO 128MB 128bit(380/600 MHz (13)
    15. ATI RADEON 9600xT 128MB, 500/600 MHz (16)
    16. ATI RADEON 9550 128MB 250/400 MHz (11)
    17. NVIDIA GeForce 6200 AGP 128MB, 300/500 MHz (--)
    18. ATI RADEON 9600 256MB, 325/400 MHz (12)
    19. NVIDIA GeForce Fx 5900xT 128MB, 390/700 MHz (18)
    20. ATI RADEON 9600SE 128MB 64bit, 325/400 MHz (17)
    21. NVIDIA GeForce Fx 5700 128MB, 425/550 MHz (19)
    22. xGI Volari Duo V8 Ultra 256MB, 330/900 MHz (--)

    Prospect rating (the previous rating is in parenthesis):

    01. NVIDIA GeForce 6800 Ultra 256MB, 425/1100 MHz (01)
    02. ATI RADEON x800xT PE 256MB, 525/1150 MHz (02)
    03. ATI RADEON x800xT 256MB, 500/1000 MHz (03)
    04. NVIDIA GeForce 6800 GT 256MB, 350/1000 MHz (04)
    05. NVIDIA GeForce 6800 256MB, 350/1000 MHz (07)
    06. ATI RADEON x800 PRO 256MB, 475/900 MHz (06)
    07. NVIDIA GeForce 6800 GT 128MB, 350/700 MHz (05)
    08. NVIDIA GeForce 6800 128MB, 325/700 MHz (08)
    09. NVIDIA GeForce 6600 GT AGP 128MB, 500/900 MHz (09)
    10. NVIDIA GeForce 6800LE 128MB, 325/700 MHz (10)
    11. ATI RADEON 9800 PRO 128MB, 380/680 MHz (11)
    12. NVIDIA GeForce 6600 AGP 128MB, 300/500 MHz (--)
    13. ATI RADEON 9800 PRO 128MB 128bit(380/600 MHz (12)
    14. ATI RADEON 9600xT 128MB, 500/600 MHz (13)
    15. ATI RADEON 9600 PRO 128MB, 400/600 MHz (14)
    16. NVIDIA GeForce Fx 5900xT 128MB, 390/700 MHz (16)
    17. NVIDIA GeForce 6200 AGP 128MB, 300/500 MHz (--)
    18. ATI RADEON 9600 256MB, 325/400 MHz (15)
    19. ATI RADEON 9550 128MB 250/400 MHz (17)
    20. NVIDIA GeForce Fx 5700 128MB, 425/550 MHz (19)
    21. ATI RADEON 9600SE 128MB 64bit, 325/400 MHz (18)
    22. xGI Volari Duo V8 Ultra 256MB, 330/900 MHz (--)


  2. Testbed on Athlon 64 3800+ (PCI-E):

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



    Prospect rating

    01. NVIDIA GeForce 6600 GT 128MB, 500/1000 MHz (02)
    02. NVIDIA GeForce 6800 GT PCI-E 256MB, 350/1000 MHz (07)
    03. ATI RADEON x800xL 256MB, 400/990 MHz (01)
    04. ATI RADEON x800 256MB, 400/990 MHz (--)
    05. ATI RADEON x850xT 256MB, 520/1080 MHz (--)
    06. NVIDIA GeForce 6800 Ultra PCI-E 256MB, 425/1100 MHz (12)
    07. ATI RADEON x800xT PE PCI-E 256MB, 520/1120 MHz (09)
    08. ATI RADEON x850xT PE 256MB, 540/1180 MHz (11)
    09. ATI RADEON x700PRO 256MB, 425/860 MHz (03)
    10. ATI RADEON x800xT PCI-E 256MB, 500/1000 MHz (08)
    11. NVIDIA GeForce 6800 PCI-E 256MB, 350/600 MHz (--)
    12. NVIDIA GeForce 6800 GT SLI 2x256MB, 350/1000 MHz (13)
    13. NVIDIA GeForce 6600 GT SLI 2x128MB, 500/1000 MHz (06)
    14. NVIDIA GeForce 6600 128MB, 300/550 MHz (05)
    15. NVIDIA GeForce 6800 SLI 2x256MB, 350/600 MHz (--)
    16. NVIDIA GeForce 6800 Ultra SLI 2x256MB, 425/1100 MHz (17)
    17. ATI RADEON x700 128MB, 400/700 MHz (04)
    18. NVIDIA GeForce 6200 128MB, 300/550 MHz (10)
    19. ATI RADEON x600xT 128MB, 500/760 MHz (16)
    20. ATI RADEON x600 PRO 128MB, 400/600 MHz (15)
    21. ATI RADEON x300 128MB 325/400 MHz (14)
    22. NVIDIA GeForce PCx5900 128MB, 350/550 MHz (18)
    23. NVIDIA GeForce PCx5750 128MB, 425/500 MHz (19)

    Prospect rating (the previous rating is in parenthesis):

    01. NVIDIA GeForce 6800 Ultra SLI 2x256MB, 425/1100 MHz (01)
    02. NVIDIA GeForce 6800 GT SLI 2x256MB, 350/1000 MHz (02)
    03. ATI RADEON x850xT PE 256MB, 540/1180 MHz (03)
    04. NVIDIA GeForce 6800 SLI 2x256MB, 350/600 MHz (--)
    05. NVIDIA GeForce 6800 Ultra PCI-E 256MB, 425/1100 MHz (04)
    06. ATI RADEON x800xT PE PCI-E 256MB, 520/1120 MHz (05)
    07. ATI RADEON x850xT 256MB, 520/1080 MHz (--)
    08. ATI RADEON x800xT PCI-E 256MB, 500/1000 MHz (06)
    09. NVIDIA GeForce 6800 GT PCI-E 256MB, 350/1000 MHz (08)
    10. ATI RADEON x800xL 256MB, 400/990 MHz (09)
    11. ATI RADEON x800 256MB, 400/990 MHz (--)
    12. NVIDIA GeForce 6800 PCI-E 256MB, 350/600 MHz (--)
    13. NVIDIA GeForce 6600 GT SLI 2x128MB, 500/1000 MHz (07)
    14. NVIDIA GeForce 6600 GT 128MB, 500/1000 MHz (10)
    15. ATI RADEON x700PRO 256MB, 425/860 MHz (11)
    16. ATI RADEON x700 128MB, 400/700 MHz (12)
    17. NVIDIA GeForce 6600 128MB, 300/550 MHz (13)
    18. ATI RADEON x600xT 128MB, 500/760 MHz (15)
    19. NVIDIA GeForce 6200 128MB, 300/550 MHz (14)
    20. ATI RADEON x600 PRO 128MB, 400/600 MHz (16)
    21. NVIDIA GeForce PCx5900 128MB, 350/550 MHz (18)
    22. ATI RADEON x300 128MB 325/400 MHz (17)
    23. NVIDIA GeForce PCx5750 128MB, 425/500 MHz (19)



Ingame quality



6. 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 resolution at the maximum quality. Screenshot gallery

7. 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! (and Alexander Kondratyuk personally for optimizing our test methods).



Vitaly Milov (vmilov@ixbt.com)
Danil Gridasov (degust@ixbt.com)








Andrey Vorobiev (anvakams@ixbt.com)




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