iXBT Labs - Computer Hardware in Detail






3Digest: March 2006

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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 February 2006 to the 15th of March 2006. 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 70th issue of 3Digest.

March 2006

In March NVIDIA announced its GeForce 7600-7900 series and started selling them right away.

PLEASE NOTE! For this issue we tested only PCI-E graphics cards! The very final AGP summary review was published on April 13.


  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 (939Socket)
    • AMD Athlon 64 4000+ CPU (L2=1024K);
    • ASUS A8N32 SLI Deluxe on NVIDIA nForce4 SLI X16; for ATI CrossFire we used ASUS A8R32-MVP on ATI RADEON Xpress 3200 CrossFire
    • 2 GB DDR SDRAM 400MHz (CAS (tCL)=2.5; RAS to CAS delay (tRCD)=3; Row Precharge (tRP)=3; tRAS=6);
    • WD Caviar SE WD1600JD 160GB SATA HDD.

Testbeds had Windows XP Professional Service Pack 2, DirectX 9.0c installed. IIYAMA Vision Master Pro 514 (22") monitor was 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. PCI-E-ATI RADEON X1300 256MB DDR 2.8ns (450/550 MHz)
  2. PCI-E-ATI RADEON X1300 PRO 256MB DDR 2.5ns (600/800 MHz)
  3. PCI-E-ATI RADEON X700 256MB DDR 2.8ns (400/700 MHz)
  4. PCI-E-ATI RADEON X700 PRO 256MB GDDR3 2.0ns (425/860 MHz)
  5. PCI-E-ATI RADEON X1600 PRO 256MB DDR 2.0ns (500/900 MHz)
  6. PCI-E-ATI RADEON X1600 XT 256MB DDR 1.26ns (590/1380 MHz)
  7. PCI-E-ATI RADEON X800 GT 256MB GDDR3 2.0ns (475/990 MHz)
  8. PCI-E-ATI RADEON X800 128MB DDR 2.8ns (400/700 MHz)
  9. PCI-E-ATI RADEON X800 GTO 256MB GDDR3 2.0ns (400/990 MHz)
  10. PCI-E-ATI RADEON X800 XL 256MB GDDR3 2.0ns (400/990 MHz)
  11. PCI-E-ATI RADEON X800 XL 512MB GDDR3 2.0ns (400/990 MHz)
  12. PCI-E-ATI RADEON X850 XT 256MB GDDR3 1.6ns (520/1080 MHz)
  13. PCI-E-ATI RADEON X850 XT PE 256MB GDDR3 1.6ns (540/1180 MHz)
  14. PCI-E-ATI RADEON X1800 XT 512MB GDDR3 1.26ns (625/1500 MHz)
  15. PCI-E-ATI RADEON X1800 XT PE 512MB GDDR3 1.26ns (700/1600 MHz)
  16. PCI-E-ATI RADEON X1800 XL 256MB GDDR3 1.4ns (500/1000 MHz)
  17. PCI-E-ATI RADEON X1800 GTO 256MB GDDR3 2.0ns (500/1000 MHz)
  18. PCI-E-ATI RADEON X1900 XT 512MB GDDR3 1.26ns (625/1450 MHz)
  19. PCI-E-ATI RADEON X1900 XTX 512MB GDDR3 1.1ns (650/1550 MHz)
  20. PCI-E-ATI RADEON X1900 XT CrossFire 2x512MB GDDR3 1.26ns (2x625/1450 MHz)
  21. PCI-E-NVIDIA GeForce 6600 128MB DDR 3.6ns (300/550 MHz)
  22. PCI-E-NVIDIA GeForce 6600 256MB DDR2 2.5ns (350/800 MHz)
  23. PCI-E-NVIDIA GeForce 6600GT 128MB GDDR3 2.0ns (500/1000 MHz)
  24. PCI-E-NVIDIA GeForce 7600GT 256MB GDDR3 1.4ns (560/1400 MHz)
  25. PCI-E-NVIDIA GeForce 6800 256MB DDR 2.8ns (350/600 MHz)
  26. PCI-E-NVIDIA GeForce 6800 XT 256MB GDDR3 2.0ns (425/1000 MHz)
  27. PCI-E-NVIDIA GeForce 6800 GS 256MB GDDR3 2.0ns (425/1000 MHz)
  28. PCI-E-NVIDIA GeForce 6800 GT 256MB GDDR3 2.0ns (350/1000 MHz)
  29. PCI-E-NVIDIA GeForce 6800 Ultra 256MB GDDR3 1.6ns (425/1100 MHz)
  30. PCI-E-NVIDIA GeForce 7800 GT 256MB GDDR3 2.0ns (400/1000 MHz)
  31. PCI-E-NVIDIA GeForce 7800 GT 256MB GDDR3 2.0ns (450/1100 MHz)
  32. PCI-E-NVIDIA GeForce 7800 GTX 256MB GDDR3 1.6ns (430/1200 MHz)
  33. PCI-E-NVIDIA GeForce 7800 GTX 256MB GDDR3 1.6ns (459/1300 MHz)
  34. PCI-E-NVIDIA GeForce 7800 GTX 256MB GDDR3 1.6ns (486/1350 MHz)
  35. PCI-E-NVIDIA GeForce 7800 GTX 512MB GDDR3 1.1ns (550/1700 MHz)
  36. PCI-E-NVIDIA GeForce 7800 GTX SLI 2x512MB DDR3 1.1ns (2x550/1700 MHz)
  37. PCI-E-NVIDIA GeForce 7900 GT 256MB GDDR3 1.4ns (450/1320 MHz)
  38. PCI-E-NVIDIA GeForce 7900 GTX 512MB GDDR3 1.1ns (650/1600 MHz)
  39. PCI-E-NVIDIA GeForce 7900 GTX SLI 2x512MB DDR3 1.1ns (2x650/1600 MHz)

Archive (video cards, information on which is not updated anymore)

3. News of March 2006

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

  • 3.1. The following drivers were released from February 15, 2006 to March 15, 2006:

    • NVIDIA ForceWare for all NVIDIA-based cards:

      • Windows XP: 84.21 WHQL;

    • ATI Catalyst for all ATI-based cards:

      • Windows XP: CATALYST 6.3

  • 3.2. This month we used 84.21 drivers for NVIDIA-based card summaries; 6.3 drivers for ATI-based card summaries.

4. Summary graphics card performance charts for the latest drivers available at the moment of testing in March 2006

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

Andrey Vorobiev (anvakams@ixbt.com)

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