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3Digest, November 2005

December 5, 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.

This issue is dedicated to drivers released from the 15th of October 2005 to the 15th of November 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 66th issue of 3Digest.

November 2005

NOTE! This issue contains test results of AGP cards only! For the latest PCI-E tests please read the October 2005 issue!

This is our last 3Digest dedicated to AGP graphics cards.

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. Game Quality Section
  8. Game Quality Control Section



1. Testbed configuration



  • System on Athlon 64 (754Socket):
    • AMD Athlon 64 3700+ (L2=1024K);
    • Albatron K8Ultra-U Pro motherboard on ULi M1689 chipset;
    • 2 GB DDR SDRAM 400MHz (CAS (tCL)=2.5; RAS to CAS delay (tRCD)=3; Row Precharge (tRP)=3; tRAS=6);
    • Seagate Barracuda 7200.7 80GB 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.

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

Card list:

  1. AGP-ATI RADEON 9600 Pro 128MB DDR 2.8ns (400/600 MHz)
  2. AGP-ATI RADEON 9600 128MB DDR 5ns (325/400 MHz)
  3. AGP-ATI RADEON 9600 XT 128MB DDR 3.3ns (500/600 MHz)
  4. AGP-ATI RADEON 9800 Pro 128MB DDR 2.8ns (380/680 MHz)
  5. AGP-ATI RADEON X800 256MB GDDR3 2.0ns (400/700 MHz)
  6. AGP-ATI RADEON X800 XL 256MB GDDR3 2.0ns (400/990 MHz)
  7. AGP-ATI RADEON X700 256MB DDR 3.0ns (400/533 MHz)
  8. AGP-ATI RADEON X700 PRO 128MB GDDR3 2.0ns (425/900 MHz)
  9. AGP-ATI RADEON X800 GT 256MB GDDR3 2.0ns (475/990 MHz)
  10. AGP-ATI RADEON X800 GTO 256MB GDDR3 1.6ns (400/990 MHz)
  11. AGP-ATI RADEON X850 XT 256MB GDDR3 1.6ns (520/1080 MHz)
  12. AGP-ATI RADEON X850 XT PE 256MB GDDR3 1.6ns (540/1180 MHz)
  13. AGP-NVIDIA GeForce 6200A 128MB 64bit DDR 4.0ns (300/500 MHz)
  14. AGP-NVIDIA GeForce 6200 128MB DDR 4.0ns (300/500 MHz)
  15. AGP-NVIDIA GeForce 6600 128MB DDR 4.0ns (300/500 MHz)
  16. AGP-NVIDIA GeForce 6600GT 128MB GDDR3 2.0ns (500/900 MHz)
  17. AGP-NVIDIA GeForce 6800LE 128MB DDR 2.8ns (325/700 MHz)
  18. AGP-NVIDIA GeForce 6800 128MB DDR 2.8ns (325/700 MHz)
  19. AGP-NVIDIA GeForce 6800 256MB GDDR3 2.0ns (350/1000 MHz)
  20. AGP-NVIDIA GeForce 6800 GT 128MB DDR 2.8ns (350/700 MHz)
  21. AGP-NVIDIA GeForce 6800 GT 256MB GDDR3 2.0ns (350/1000 MHz)
  22. AGP-NVIDIA GeForce 6800 Ultra 256MB GDDR3 1.6ns (425/1100 MHz)

Archive (videocards, which info is no longer updated)

3. November 2005 news and the current business

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

Added a number of new benchmarks. Removed the BF2 benchmark (since it provides incorrect results, and we don't want to use FRAPS for the sake of objectivity).

  • 3.1. The following drivers were released from October 15, 2005 to November 15, 2005:

    • NVIDIA ForceWare for all NVIDIA-based cards:

      • Windows XP: 81.95 WHQL;


    • ATI Catalyst for all ATI-based cards:

      • Windows XP: 8.193 (CATALYST 5.11)



  • 3.2. This month we used 81.95 drivers for NVIDIA-based card summaries; 8.193 drivers for ATI-based card summaries.

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

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. Athlon 64 3700+ (AGP) platform:

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

    Usability rating

    01. GeForce 6600GT 128MB 500/900 AGP (01)
    02. GeForce 6800 GT 256MB 350/1000 AGP (03)
    03. GeForce 6600 128MB 300/500 AGP (02)
    04. GeForce 6800 128MB 325/700 AGP (06)
    05. GeForce 6800LE 128MB 325/700 AGP (07)
    06. RADEON X800 GTO 256MB 400/990 AGP (--)
    07. GeForce 6800 256MB 350/1000 AGP (15)
    08. RADEON X800 GT 256MB 475/990 AGP (--)
    09. RADEON X800 XL 256MB 400/990 AGP (05)
    10. RADEON X850 XT 256MB 520/1080 AGP (12)
    11. RADEON X700 256MB 400/533 AGP (09)
    12. RADEON X800 256MB 400/700 AGP (10)
    13. GeForce 6800 GT 128MB 350/700 AGP (04)
    14. GeForce 6800 Ultra 256MB 425/1100 AGP (16)
    15. RADEON X700 PRO 128MB 425/900 AGP (14)
    16. RADEON 9600 Pro 128MB 400/600 (11)
    17. GeForce 6200 128MB 300/500 AGP (19)
    18. RADEON X850 XT PE 256MB 540/1180 AGP (17)
    19. GeForce 6200A 128MB 64bit 300/500 AGP (20)
    20. RADEON 9600 XT 128MB 500/600 (13)
    21. RADEON 9800 Pro 128MB 380/680 (08)
    22. RADEON 9600 128MB 325/400 (18)

    Prospect rating (the previous rating is in parenthesis):

    01. GeForce 6800 Ultra 256MB 425/1100 AGP (02)
    02. GeForce 6800 GT 256MB 350/1000 AGP (04)
    03. RADEON X850 XT PE 256MB 540/1180 AGP (01)
    04. RADEON X850 XT 256MB 520/1080 AGP (03)
    05. GeForce 6800 256MB 350/1000 AGP (06)
    06. RADEON X800 XL 256MB 400/990 AGP (05)
    07. RADEON X800 GTO 256MB 400/990 AGP (--)
    08. GeForce 6800 GT 128MB 350/700 AGP (08)
    09. RADEON X800 GT 256MB 475/990 AGP (--)
    10. GeForce 6800 128MB 325/700 AGP (09)
    11. RADEON X800 256MB 400/700 AGP (07)
    12. GeForce 6600GT 128MB 500/900 AGP (10)
    13. GeForce 6800LE 128MB 325/700 AGP (11)
    14. GeForce 6600 128MB 300/500 AGP (15)
    15. RADEON X700 256MB 400/533 AGP (13)
    16. RADEON X700 PRO 128MB 425/900 AGP (14)
    17. RADEON 9800 Pro 128MB 380/680 (12)
    18. GeForce 6200 128MB 300/500 AGP (18)
    19. RADEON 9600 XT 128MB 500/600 (16)
    20. RADEON 9600 Pro 128MB 400/600 (17)
    21. GeForce 6200A 128MB 64bit 300/500 AGP (20)
    22. RADEON 9600 128MB 325/400 (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 and compare it to the reference images taken on ATI Radeon 9500. All shots were taken at the same 1024x768 resolution at the maximum quality. Screenshot gallery

7. Game Artefacts Gallery

Game Quality Section

8. Game Quality Control Section

Game Quality Control Section



We thank all the companies that provided us with graphics cards and other equipment for our 3Digest, including:







HIS (and personally Peter Yueng)







Bench'emAll! (and personally Alexander Kondratyuk AKA Render for helping us optimize bechmarking).



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








Andrey Vorobiev (anvakams@ixbt.com)



02.11.2005


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