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3Digest: September 2006

October 11, 2006




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 August 15, 2006 to September 15, 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 76th issue of 3Digest.

September 2006

We've added GeForce 7950 GT 512MB benchmarks. Formerly known as X1600 XT as X1600 PRO, these cards are now X1650 PRO and X1300 XT, respectively.

Upgraded the testbed.

PLEASE NOTE! This issue contains only PCI-E cards benchmarks! The final AGP benchmarks were made in March 2006 (see this page)!

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



  • Athlon 64 (Socket AM2) based machine
    • AMD Athlon 64 X2 5000+ (2600MHz) (L2=2x512K) CPU;
    • Foxconn C51XEM2AA-8EKRS2H motherboard on NVIDIA nForce590 SLI;
    • 2 GB DDR2 SDRAM 667MHz (CAS (tCL)=3; 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 512MB DDR2 3.0ns (450/500 MHz)
  3. PCI-E-ATI RADEON X1300 PRO 256MB DDR 2.5ns (600/800 MHz)
  4. PCI-E-ATI RADEON X1300 XT 256MB DDR2 2.0ns (500/900 MHz)
  5. PCI-E-ATI RADEON X1650 PRO 256MB DDR 1.4ns (590/1380 MHz)
  6. PCI-E-ATI RADEON X1800 XT 512MB GDDR3 1.2ns (625/1500 MHz)
  7. PCI-E-ATI RADEON X1800 XL 256MB GDDR3 1.4ns (500/1000 MHz)
  8. PCI-E-ATI RADEON X1800 GTO 256MB GDDR3 2.0ns (500/1000 MHz)
  9. PCI-E-ATI RADEON X1900 XT 256MB GDDR3 1.2ns (625/1450 MHz)
  10. PCI-E-ATI RADEON X1900 GT 256MB GDDR3 1.4ns (575/1200 MHz)
  11. PCI-E-ATI RADEON X1900 XT 512MB GDDR3 1.2ns (625/1450 MHz)
  12. PCI-E-ATI RADEON X1900 XTX 512MB GDDR3 1.1ns (650/1550 MHz)
  13. PCI-E-ATI RADEON X1950 XTX 512MB GDDR4 0.9ns (650/2000 MHz)
  14. PCI-E-NVIDIA GeForce 6600 256MB DDR2 2.5ns (350/800 MHz)
  15. PCI-E-NVIDIA GeForce 7300GT 256MB GDDR2 2.8ns (350/666 MHz)
  16. PCI-E-NVIDIA GeForce 7300GT 256MB GDDR3 1.4ns (500/1400 MHz)
  17. PCI-E-NVIDIA GeForce 7600GT 256MB GDDR3 1.4ns (560/1400 MHz)
  18. PCI-E-NVIDIA GeForce 7600GS 256MB GDDR3 2.5ns (400/800 MHz)
  19. PCI-E-NVIDIA GeForce 7600GS 512MB GDDR2 2.0ns (550/950 MHz)
  20. PCI-E-NVIDIA GeForce 6800 XT 256MB GDDR3 2.0ns (425/1000 MHz)
  21. PCI-E-NVIDIA GeForce 6800 GS 256MB GDDR3 2.0ns (425/1000 MHz)
  22. PCI-E-NVIDIA GeForce 6800 GT 256MB GDDR3 2.0ns (350/1000 MHz)
  23. PCI-E-NVIDIA GeForce 7800 GTX 256MB GDDR3 1.6ns (430/1200 MHz)
  24. PCI-E-NVIDIA GeForce 7800 GTX 512MB GDDR3 1.1ns (550/1700 MHz)
  25. PCI-E-NVIDIA GeForce 7900 GT 256MB GDDR3 1.4ns (450/1320 MHz)
  26. PCI-E-NVIDIA GeForce 7900 GS 256MB GDDR3 1.4ns (450/1320 MHz)
  27. PCI-E-NVIDIA GeForce 7900 GS 256MB GDDR3 1.4ns (480/1400 MHz)
  28. PCI-E-NVIDIA GeForce 7900 GS 256MB GDDR3 1.4ns (540/1500 MHz)
  29. PCI-E-NVIDIA GeForce 7950 GT 512MB GDDR3 1.4ns (550/1400 MHz)
  30. PCI-E-NVIDIA GeForce 7900 GTX 512MB GDDR3 1.1ns (650/1600 MHz)
  31. PCI-E-NVIDIA GeForce 7950 GX2 2x512MB GDDR3 1.4ns (500/1200 MHz)
  32. PCI-E-NVIDIA GeForce 7950 GX2 SLI 2x2x512MB GDDR3 1.4ns (4x500/1200 MHz)
  33. 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. September 2006 news and current matters

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

  • 3.1. The following drivers were released from August 15, 2006 to September 15, 2006:



  • 3.2. This month we used 91.47 drivers for NVIDIA-based card summaries; 6.9 drivers for ATI-based card summaries.

4. Summary diagrams of graphics cards performance with the latest drivers for September 2006.

All willing to see the complete results in Excel 2003 format can download this RAR 3.0 or this ZIP archive.

  • 4.1. Far Cry, Research



  • 4.2. Splinter Cell Chaos Theory



  • 4.3. Half Life2, ixbt01



  • 4.4. DOOM III



  • 4.5. 3DMark05 MARKS



  • 4.6. Chronicles of Riddick, demo 44



  • 4.7. F.E.A.R.



  • 4.8. Call Of Duty 2 DEMO



  • 4.9. 3DMark 06, Shader Model 2.0 MARKS



  • 4.10. 3DMark 06, Shader Model 3.0 MARKS



  • 4.15. Archive (information from the previous 3Digests absent in this issue)

  • 4.16 Notes on graphics cards performance with the latest drivers:

    • If a particular card is not in the summary, i.e. its results are either 0, or 1, it means the given benchmark hasn't worked or has worked incorrectly with this card.
    • The impossibility of running HDR together with AA on NVIDIA cards decreased their ratings, since all of them couldn't pass Shader Model 3.0 benchmarks of 3DMark06 in AA+AF mode, when HDR was enabled.
    • There are no results for 256MB cards for 3DMark06 benchmarks at 2048x1536 with AA+AF. This suite can't work in this mode.

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

    Calculations were based on gaming benchmark results as well as the results from 3DMark06 new tests (ATI CATALYST 6.9, NVIDIA ForceWare 91.47).


    All willing to conduct their own rating calculations with 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).

    According to your wishes, we separated ratings into two groups: the first gathers all benchmarks, and the second contains only the gaming tests without m3DMark05/06. Disbelieving the synthetic tests, many think the second group is of higher importance.

    Athlon 64 X2 5000+ platform:

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

  • GAMING ONLY usability rating

    # Card Usability Rating Prospect Rating Price Old #
    01. 7300 GT 256MB, 500/1400
    3185
    694
    120
    (01)
    02. 7900 GS 256MB, 450/1320
    2802
    908
    223
    (--)
    03. 7600 GS 256MB, 400/800
    2793
    634
    113
    (03)
    04. 7900 GS 256MB, 480/1400
    2780
    937
    240
    (--)
    05. 7300 GT 256MB, 350/666
    2765
    542
    85
    (04)
    06. 7600 GT 256MB, 560/1400
    2728
    798
    179
    (02)
    08. 7900 GS 256MB, 540/1500
    2572
    978
    280
    (--)
    09. 6600 DDR2 256MB 350/800
    2485
    498
    79
    (13)
    10. 7600 GS 512MB, 550/950
    2472
    709
    160
    (--)
    11. 6800 XT 256MB 425/1000
    2464
    633
    125
    (06)
    12. X1900 GT 256MB 575/1200
    2426
    890
    255
    (10)
    13. 6800 GS 256MB 425/1000
    2395
    714
    162
    (05)
    14. 7900 GT 256MB, 450/1320
    2348
    948
    290
    (08)
    16. X1800 GTO 256MB 500/1000
    2201
    796
    225
    (18)
    17. X1300 XT 256MB 500/800
    2188
    537
    107
    (09)
    18. 7950 GT 512MB 550/1400
    2179
    1013
    350
    (--)
    19. X1900 XT 512MB, 625/1450
    2162
    1049
    383
    (14)
    20. X1650 PRO 256MB 590/1380
    2140
    626
    146
    (07)
    21. 7900 GTX 512MB, 650/1600
    2019
    1068
    415
    (16)
    22. X1800 XL 256MB 500/1000
    1978
    874
    300
    (15)
    23. X1300 PRO 256MB, 600/800
    1962
    465
    91
    (11)
    24. 6800 GT 256MB 350/1000
    1908
    717
    205
    (12)
    25. X1800 XT 512MB 625/1500
    1900
    983
    389
    (17)
    26. X1900 XTX 512MB, 650/1550
    1828
    1070
    468
    (19)
    27. 7800 GTX 256MB, 430/1200
    1658
    929
    395
    (20)
    28. 7800 GTX 512MB, 550/1700
    1602
    1047
    504
    (24)
    29. X1300 256MB, 450/550
    1586
    382
    77
    (22)
    30. BFG 7950GX2 2x512MB, 500/1200
    1539
    1175
    640
    (21)
    31. X1900 XT 256MB, 625/1450
    1530
    853
    360
    (--)
    32. X1950 XTX 512MB, 650/2000
    1481
    1096
    600
    (25)
    33. X1300 512MB, 450/500
    1322
    401
    101
    (23)
    34. 7900 GTX SLI 2x512MB, 650/1600
    1318
    1244
    830
    (26)
    35. 7950GX2 SLI 2x2x512MB, 500/1200
    833
    1234
    1280
    (27)


  • GENERAL usability rating

    # Card Usability Rating Prospect Rating Price Old #
    02. X1900 XT 512MB, 625/1450
    2355
    1530
    383
    (04)
    03. X1900 GT 256MB 575/1200
    2150
    1183
    255
    (03)
    05. X1900 XTX 512MB, 650/1550
    2002
    1562
    468
    (07)
    06. X1300 XT 256MB 500/800
    1978
    726
    107
    (02)
    07. X1800 XT 512MB 625/1500
    1918
    1384
    389
    (09)
    08. X1650 PRO 256MB 590/1380
    1913
    837
    146
    (01)
    09. 7300 GT 256MB, 500/1400
    1863
    749
    120
    (05)
    10. X1800 GTO 256MB 500/1000
    1821
    1020
    225
    (12)
    11. X1300 PRO 256MB, 600/800
    1722
    621
    91
    (06)
    12. 7300 GT 256MB, 350/666
    1706
    602
    85
    (13)
    13. 7600 GS 256MB, 400/800
    1700
    694
    113
    (08)
    14. 7900 GS 256MB, 450/1320
    1659
    978
    223
    (--)
    15. X1950 XTX 512MB, 650/2000
    1634
    1602
    600
    (14)
    16. 7600 GT 256MB, 560/1400
    1632
    865
    179
    (10)
    17. X1800 XL 256MB 500/1000
    1596
    1106
    300
    (11)
    18. 7600 GS 512MB, 550/950
    1542
    790
    160
    (--)
    19. 7900 GS 256MB, 540/1500
    1531
    1053
    280
    (--)
    20. 7900 GS 256MB, 480/1400
    1517
    969
    240
    (--)
    21. X1300 256MB, 450/550
    1407
    512
    77
    (17)
    22. 6800 XT 256MB 425/1000
    1404
    676
    125
    (19)
    23. 7900 GT 256MB, 450/1320
    1384
    1020
    290
    (18)
    24. 7900 GTX 512MB, 650/1600
    1383
    1225
    415
    (20)
    25. 6800 GS 256MB 425/1000
    1381
    761
    162
    (15)
    26. X1300 512MB, 450/500
    1379
    581
    101
    (16)
    27. 6600 DDR2 256MB 350/800
    1375
    530
    79
    (24)
    28. 7950 GT 512MB 550/1400
    1348
    1108
    350
    (--)
    29. X1900 XT 256MB, 625/1450
    1344
    1119
    360
    (--)
    30. BFG 7950GX2 2x512MB, 500/1200
    1118
    1386
    640
    (21)
    31. 6800 GT 256MB 350/1000
    1069
    753
    205
    (22)
    32. 7800 GTX 512MB, 550/1700
    1068
    1186
    504
    (25)
    33. 7800 GTX 256MB, 430/1200
    991
    1005
    395
    (23)
    34. 7900 GTX SLI 2x512MB, 650/1600
    977
    1481
    830
    (26)
    35. 7950GX2 SLI 2x2x512MB, 500/1200
    587
    1425
    1280
    (27)

    Prospect rating (the previous rating is in parenthesis):

    1. GAMING ONLY prospect rating

      # Card Usability Rating Prospect Rating Price Old #
      01. 7900 GTX SLI 2x512MB, 650/1600
      1318
      1244
      830
      (02)
      02. 7950GX2 SLI 2x2x512MB, 500/1200
      833
      1234
      1280
      (01)
      03. BFG 7950GX2 2x512MB, 500/1200
      1539
      1175
      640
      (03)
      04. X1950 XTX 512MB, 650/2000
      1481
      1096
      600
      (04)
      05. X1900 XTX 512MB, 650/1550
      1828
      1070
      468
      (05)
      06. 7900 GTX 512MB, 650/1600
      2019
      1068
      415
      (06)
      07. X1900 XT 512MB, 625/1450
      2162
      1049
      383
      (07)
      08. 7800 GTX 512MB, 550/1700
      1602
      1047
      504
      (08)
      09. 7950 GT 512MB 550/1400
      2179
      1013
      350
      (--)
      10. X1800 XT 512MB 625/1500
      1900
      983
      389
      (09)
      11. 7900 GS 256MB, 540/1500
      2572
      978
      280
      (--)
      12. 7900 GT 256MB, 450/1320
      2348
      948
      290
      (10)
      14. 7900 GS 256MB, 480/1400
      2780
      937
      240
      (--)
      15. 7800 GTX 256MB, 430/1200
      1658
      929
      395
      (11)
      16. 7900 GS 256MB, 450/1320
      2802
      908
      223
      (--)
      17. X1900 GT 256MB 575/1200
      2426
      890
      255
      (12)
      18. X1800 XL 256MB 500/1000
      1978
      874
      300
      (13)
      19. X1900 XT 256MB, 625/1450
      1530
      853
      360
      (--)
      20. 7600 GT 256MB, 560/1400
      2728
      798
      179
      (14)
      21. X1800 GTO 256MB 500/1000
      2201
      796
      225
      (15)
      23. 6800 GT 256MB 350/1000
      1908
      717
      205
      (16)
      24. 6800 GS 256MB 425/1000
      2395
      714
      162
      (17)
      25. 7600 GS 512MB, 550/950
      2472
      709
      160
      (--)
      26. 7300 GT 256MB, 500/1400
      3185
      694
      120
      (18)
      27. 7600 GS 256MB, 400/800
      2793
      634
      113
      (19)
      28. 6800 XT 256MB 425/1000
      2464
      633
      125
      (20)
      29. X1650 PRO 256MB 590/1380
      2140
      626
      146
      (21)
      30. 7300 GT 256MB, 350/666
      2765
      542
      85
      (23)
      31. X1300 XT 256MB 500/800
      2188
      537
      107
      (22)
      32. 6600 DDR2 256MB 350/800
      2485
      498
      79
      (24)
      33. X1300 PRO 256MB, 600/800
      1962
      465
      91
      (25)
      34. X1300 512MB, 450/500
      1322
      401
      101
      (26)
      35. X1300 256MB, 450/550
      1586
      382
      77
      (27)


    2. GENERAL prospect rating

      # Card Usability Rating Prospect Rating Price Old #
      01. X1950 XTX 512MB, 650/2000
      1634
      1602
      600
      (01)
      02. X1900 XTX 512MB, 650/1550
      2002
      1562
      468
      (02)
      03. X1900 XT 512MB, 625/1450
      2355
      1530
      383
      (03)
      04. 7900 GTX SLI 2x512MB, 650/1600
      977
      1481
      830
      (05)
      05. 7950GX2 SLI 2x2x512MB, 500/1200
      587
      1425
      1280
      (04)
      06. BFG 7950GX2 2x512MB, 500/1200
      1118
      1386
      640
      (06)
      07. X1800 XT 512MB 625/1500
      1918
      1384
      389
      (07)
      09. 7900 GTX 512MB, 650/1600
      1383
      1225
      415
      (09)
      10. 7800 GTX 512MB, 550/1700
      1068
      1186
      504
      (10)
      11. X1900 GT 256MB 575/1200
      2150
      1183
      255
      (08)
      12. X1900 XT 256MB, 625/1450
      1344
      1119
      360
      (--)
      13. 7950 GT 512MB 550/1400
      1348
      1108
      350
      (--)
      14. X1800 XL 256MB 500/1000
      1596
      1106
      300
      (11)
      15. 7900 GS 256MB, 540/1500
      1531
      1053
      280
      (--)
      16. X1800 GTO 256MB 500/1000
      1821
      1020
      225
      (12)
      17. 7900 GT 256MB, 450/1320
      1384
      1020
      290
      (13)
      19. 7800 GTX 256MB, 430/1200
      991
      1005
      395
      (14)
      20. 7900 GS 256MB, 450/1320
      1659
      978
      223
      (--)
      21. 7900 GS 256MB, 480/1400
      1517
      969
      240
      (--)
      22. 7600 GT 256MB, 560/1400
      1632
      865
      179
      (15)
      23. X1650 PRO 256MB 590/1380
      1913
      837
      146
      (16)
      24. 7600 GS 512MB, 550/950
      1542
      790
      160
      (--)
      25. 6800 GS 256MB 425/1000
      1381
      761
      162
      (17)
      26. 6800 GT 256MB 350/1000
      1069
      753
      205
      (18)
      27. 7300 GT 256MB, 500/1400
      1863
      749
      120
      (20)
      28. X1300 XT 256MB 500/800
      1978
      726
      107
      (19)
      29. 7600 GS 256MB, 400/800
      1700
      694
      113
      (21)
      30. 6800 XT 256MB 425/1000
      1404
      676
      125
      (22)
      31. X1300 PRO 256MB, 600/800
      1722
      621
      91
      (23)
      32. 7300 GT 256MB, 350/666
      1706
      602
      85
      (24)
      33. X1300 512MB, 450/500
      1379
      581
      101
      (25)
      34. 6600 DDR2 256MB 350/800
      1375
      530
      79
      (27)
      35. X1300 256MB, 450/550
      1407
      512
      77
      (26)



    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. 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:
    Foxconn Russia,
    MSI Russia,
    Gainward,







    HIS (and personally Peter Yueng)
    NVIDIA Russia,
    ATI Technologies Russia,
    Sapphire Technology Russia,
    ASUStek Russia,
    Gigabyte Russia,
    AOpen Russia,
    Bench'emAll! (and personally Alexander Kondratyuk AKA Render for helping us optimize bechmarking).



    PSU for the testbed was kindly provided by HIPER




                                   Testbed motherboard kindly provided by






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








    Andrey Vorobiev (anvakams@ixbt.com)



    10.09.2006


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