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3Digest, April 2005

May 16, 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.

In this issue we evaluated drivers released from the 10th of March 2005 the 10th of April 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 59th issue of 3Digest.

April 2005

The following cards went of sale and were added to our tests in April: ATI RADEON x800, x800xL, x850 series for AGP interface.

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. System on Athlon 64 (Socket754):
    • AMD Athlon 64 3700+ (L2=1024K);
    • ASUS K8V SE Deluxe motherboard on VIA K8T800;
    • 1 GB DDR SDRAM PC3200;
    • Seagate Barracuda 7200.7 80GB SATA HDD.

  • 1.2. System on Athlon 64 (939Socket)
    • AMD Athlon 4000+ (L2=1024K);
    • 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 128MB 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 256MB GDDR3 2.0ns (400/700 MHz)
  10. AGP-ATI RADEON x800 xL 256MB GDDR3 2.0ns (400/990 MHz)
  11. AGP-ATI RADEON x800 xT 256MB GDDR3 1.6ns (500/1000 MHz)
  12. AGP-ATI RADEON x800 xT PE 256MB GDDR3 1.6ns (520/1120 MHz)
  13. AGP-ATI RADEON x850 xT 256MB GDDR3 1.6ns (520/1080 MHz)
  14. AGP-ATI RADEON x850 xT PE 256MB GDDR3 1.6ns (540/1180 MHz)
  15. AGP-NVIDIA GeForce Fx 5700 128MB DDR 3.6ns (425/550 MHz)
  16. AGP-NVIDIA GeForce 6200A 128MB 64bit DDR 4.0ns (300/500 MHz)
  17. AGP-NVIDIA GeForce 6200 128MB DDR 4.0ns (300/500 MHz)
  18. AGP-NVIDIA GeForce 6600 128MB DDR 4.0ns (300/500 MHz)
  19. AGP-NVIDIA GeForce 6600GT 128MB GDDR3 2.0ns (500/900 MHz)
  20. AGP-NVIDIA GeForce 6800LE 128MB DDR 2.8ns (325/700 MHz)
  21. AGP-NVIDIA GeForce 6800 128MB DDR 2.8ns (325/700 MHz)
  22. AGP-NVIDIA GeForce 6800 256MB GDDR3 2.0ns (350/1000 MHz)
  23. AGP-NVIDIA GeForce 6800 GT 128MB DDR 2.8ns (350/700 MHz)
  24. AGP-NVIDIA GeForce 6800 GT 256MB GDDR3 2.0ns (350/1000 MHz)
  25. AGP-NVIDIA GeForce 6800 Ultra 256MB GDDR3 1.6ns (425/1100 MHz)
  26. PCI-E-ATI RADEON x300 SE HyperMemory 32(128)MB 64bit DDR 2.8ns (325/700 MHz)
  27. PCI-E-ATI RADEON x300 SE 128MB 64bit DDR 5ns (325/400 MHz)
  28. PCI-E-ATI RADEON x300 128MB DDR 5ns (325/400 MHz)
  29. PCI-E-ATI RADEON x600 PRO 128MB DDR 3.3ns (400/600 MHz)
  30. PCI-E-ATI RADEON x600 xT 128MB DDR 2.5ns (500/760 MHz)
  31. PCI-E-ATI RADEON x700 128MB DDR 2.8ns (400/700 MHz)
  32. PCI-E-ATI RADEON x700 PRO 256MB GDDR3 2.0ns (425/860 MHz)
  33. PCI-E-ATI RADEON x800 256MB GDDR3 2.0ns (400/990 MHz)
  34. PCI-E-ATI RADEON x800 xL 256MB GDDR3 2.0ns (400/990 MHz)
  35. PCI-E-ATI RADEON x800 xT 256MB GDDR3 1.6ns (500/1000 MHz)
  36. PCI-E-ATI RADEON x800 xT PE 256MB GDDR3 1.6ns (520/1120 MHz)
  37. PCI-E-ATI RADEON x850 xT 256MB GDDR3 1.6ns (520/1080 MHz)
  38. PCI-E-ATI RADEON x850 xT PE 256MB GDDR3 1.6ns (540/1180 MHz)
  39. PCI-E-NVIDIA GeForce PCx5900 128MB DDR 3.6ns (350/550 MHz)
  40. NVIDIA GeForce 6200 TurboCache 32 (128)MB 64bit DDR 2.8ns (350/700 MHz)
  41. NVIDIA GeForce 6200 TurboCache 64 (256)MB 64bit DDR 4ns (350/500 MHz)
  42. PCI-E-NVIDIA GeForce 6200 128MB DDR 3.6ns (300/550 MHz)
  43. PCI-E-NVIDIA GeForce 6600 128MB DDR 3.6ns (300/550 MHz)
  44. PCI-E-NVIDIA GeForce 6600GT 128MB GDDR3 2.0ns (500/1000 MHz)
  45. PCI-E-NVIDIA GeForce 6800 256MB DDR 2.8ns (350/600 MHz)
  46. PCI-E-NVIDIA GeForce 6800 GT 256MB GDDR3 2.0ns (350/1000 MHz)
  47. PCI-E-NVIDIA GeForce 6800 Ultra 256MB GDDR3 1.6ns (425/1100 MHz)
  48. PCI-E-NVIDIA GeForce 6800 Ultra SLI 2x256MB DDR3 1.6ns (2x400/1100 MHz)
  49. PCI-E-NVIDIA GeForce 6800 GT SLI 2x256MB DDR3 2.0ns (2x350/1000 MHz)
  50. PCI-E-NVIDIA GeForce 6800 SLI 2x256MB DDR 2.8ns (2x350/600 MHz)
  51. PCI-E-NVIDIA GeForce 6600 GT SLI 2x128MB DDR3 2.0ns (2x500/1000 MHz)

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

3. April 2005 news and matters

  • 3.1. The following drivers were released from March 10, 2005 to April 10, 2005:

    • NVIDIA ForceWare for all NVIDIA cards:

      • Windows xP: 71.89WHQL;


    • ATI Catalyst for all ATI cards:

      • Windows xP: 6.525 (CATALYST 5.4)



  • 3.2. This month we used 71.89 drivers for NVIDIA card summaries; 6.525 drivers for ATI card summaries.

4. Summary graphics card performance charts for the latest drivers available at the moment of testing in April 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 indicates performance and features of a card (numerator) related to its price (denominator).

  1. Athlon64 3700+ (AGP):

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

    Usability rating

    01. GeForce 6600GT 128MB 500/900 AGP (03)
    02. GeForce 6800 GT 256MB 350/1000 AGP (01)
    03. RADEON x800 xL 256MB 400/990 AGP (--)
    04. RADEON x850 xT 256MB 520/1080 AGP (--)
    05. RADEON x800 xT PE 256MB 520/1120 (02)
    06. GeForce 6800 Ultra 256MB 425/1100 AGP (04)
    07. RADEON x850 xT PE 256MB 540/1180 AGP (--)
    08. RADEON x800 xT 256MB 500/1000 (05)
    09. GeForce 6800 128MB 325/700 AGP (07)
    10. GeForce 6800 GT 128MB 350/700 AGP (06)
    11. GeForce 6800 256MB 350/1000 AGP (08)
    12. RADEON x800 Pro 256MB 475/900 (09)
    13. GeForce 6800LE 128MB 325/700 AGP (10)
    14. RADEON x800 256MB 400/700 AGP (--)
    15. GeForce 6600 128MB 300/500 AGP (11)
    16. RADEON 9800 Pro 128MB 380/680 (12)
    17. RADEON 9800 128MB 128bit 380/600 (14)
    18. RADEON 9600 Pro 128MB 400/600 (13)
    19. RADEON 9600 xT 128MB 500/600 (15)
    20. RADEON 9600 128MB 325/400 (18)
    21. RADEON 9550 128MB 250/400 (16)
    22. GeForce 6200 128MB 300/500 AGP (17)
    23. GeForce 6200A 128MB 64bit 300/500 AGP (--)
    24. GeForce Fx5900xT 128MB 390/700 (19)
    25. RADEON 9600 SE 128MB 64bit 325/400 (20)
    26. GeForce Fx5700 256MB 425/550 (21)

    Prospect rating (the previous rating is in parenthesis):

    01. RADEON x850 xT PE 256MB 540/1180 AGP (--)
    02. RADEON x800 xT PE 256MB 520/1120 (02)
    03. RADEON x850 xT 256MB 520/1080 AGP (--)
    04. GeForce 6800 Ultra 256MB 425/1100 AGP (01)
    05. RADEON x800 xT 256MB 500/1000 (03)
    06. GeForce 6800 GT 256MB 350/1000 AGP (04)
    07. RADEON x800 xL 256MB 400/990 AGP (--)
    08. RADEON x800 Pro 256MB 475/900 (06)
    09. GeForce 6800 256MB 350/1000 AGP (05)
    10. RADEON x800 256MB 400/700 AGP (--)
    11. GeForce 6800 GT 128MB 350/700 AGP (07)
    12. GeForce 6800 128MB 325/700 AGP (08)
    13. GeForce 6600GT 128MB 500/900 AGP (09)
    14. GeForce 6800LE 128MB 325/700 AGP (10)
    15. RADEON 9800 Pro 128MB 380/680 (11)
    16. GeForce 6600 128MB 300/500 AGP (12)
    17. RADEON 9800 128MB 128bit 380/600 (13)
    18. RADEON 9600 xT 128MB 500/600 (14)
    19. RADEON 9600 Pro 128MB 400/600 (15)
    20. GeForce 6200 128MB 300/500 AGP (17)
    21. GeForce Fx5900xT 128MB 390/700 (16)
    22. RADEON 9600 128MB 325/400 (18)
    23. RADEON 9550 128MB 250/400 (19)
    24. GeForce 6200A 128MB 64bit 300/500 AGP (--)
    25. GeForce Fx5700 256MB 425/550 (20)
    26. RADEON 9600 SE 128MB 64bit 325/400 (21)


  2. Athlon 64 4000+ (PCI-E):

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

    Usability rating

    01. GeForce 6600GT 128MB 500/1000 PCI-E (01)
    02. RADEON x800 256MB 400/990 PCI-E (04)
    03. GeForce 6800 Ultra 256MB 425/1100 PCI-E (06)
    04. RADEON x800 xL 256MB 400/990 PCI-E (03)
    05. GeForce 6800 GT 256MB 350/1000 PCI-E (02)
    06. GeForce 6800 256MB 350/600 PCI-E (11)
    07. RADEON x800 xT 256MB 500/1000 PCI-E (10)
    08. GeForce 6600GT SLI 2x128MB, 500/1000 (13)
    09. RADEON x850 xT 256MB 520/1080 PCI-E (05)
    10. RADEON x850 xT PE 256MB 540/1180 PCI-E (08)
    11. RADEON x800 xT PE 256MB 520/1120 PCI-E (07)
    12. GeForce 6600 128MB 300/550 PCI-E (14)
    13. GeForce 6800 SLI 2x256MB 350/600 (15)
    14. RADEON x700 128MB 400/700 PCI-E (17)
    15. GeForce 6800 GT SLI 2x256MB 350/1000 (12)
    16. GeForce 6800 Ultra SLI 2x256MB 425/1100 (16)
    17. RADEON x700 PRO 256MB 425/860 PCI-E (09)
    18. GeForce 6200 128MB 300/550 PCI-E (18)
    19. RADEON x600 xT 128MB, 500/760 (19)
    20. RADEON x600 PRO 128MB, 400/600 (20)
    21. GeForce 6200TC 32/128MB 300/700 PCI-E (--)
    22. GeForce 6200TC 64/256MB 300/500 PCI-E (--)
    23. RADEON x300 128MB, 325/400 (21)
    24. RADEON x300SE HM 32/128MB, 325/700 (--)
    25. GeForce PCx5900 128MB 350/700 (22)
    26. RADEON x300SE 128MB 64bit, 325/400 (--)

    Prospect rating (the previous rating is in parenthesis):

    01. GeForce 6800 Ultra SLI 2x256MB 425/1100 (01)
    02. GeForce 6800 GT SLI 2x256MB 350/1000 (02)
    03. GeForce 6800 Ultra 256MB 425/1100 PCI-E (05)
    04. GeForce 6800 SLI 2x256MB 350/600 (04)
    05. RADEON x850 xT PE 256MB 540/1180 PCI-E (03)
    06. RADEON x800 xT PE 256MB 520/1120 PCI-E (06)
    07. RADEON x850 xT 256MB 520/1080 PCI-E (07)
    08. RADEON x800 xT 256MB 500/1000 PCI-E (08)
    09. GeForce 6800 GT 256MB 350/1000 PCI-E (09)
    10. RADEON x800 xL 256MB 400/990 PCI-E (10)
    11. GeForce 6600GT SLI 2x128MB, 500/1000 (13)
    12. RADEON x800 256MB 400/990 PCI-E (11)
    13. GeForce 6800 256MB 350/600 PCI-E (12)
    14. GeForce 6600GT 128MB 500/1000 PCI-E (14)
    15. RADEON x700 PRO 256MB 425/860 PCI-E (15)
    16. RADEON x700 128MB 400/700 PCI-E (16)
    17. GeForce 6600 128MB 300/550 PCI-E (17)
    18. RADEON x600 xT 128MB, 500/760 (18)
    19. GeForce 6200 128MB 300/550 PCI-E (19)
    20. RADEON x600 PRO 128MB, 400/600 (20)
    21. GeForce PCx5900 128MB 350/700 (21)
    22. RADEON x300 128MB, 325/400 (22)
    23. GeForce 6200TC 64/256MB 300/500 PCI-E (--)
    24. GeForce 6200TC 32/128MB 300/700 PCI-E (--)
    25. RADEON x300SE HM 32/128MB, 325/700 (--)
    26. RADEON x300SE 128MB 64bit, 325/400 (--)



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 1024x768 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)
Vitaly Milov (vmilov@ixbt.com)
Danil Gridasov (degust@ixbt.com)








Andrey Vorobiev (anvakams@ixbt.com)








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