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May 2007 3Digest

June 1, 2007



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 April 2007 to the 15th of May 2007. Traditionally our 3Digest informs you about the best price/performance ratios available in the market. Another very important part of any 3Digest is cards' 3D graphics quality shown on the example of a wide selection of games.

It's our 84th issue of 3Digest.

May 2007

Added benchmarks of GeForce 8500 GT, GeForce 8600 GT, RADEON HD 2900 XT.

Attention! This digest contains benchmarking results for PCI-E cards only! The final AGP benchmarking was conducted in March 2006!

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



  • Intel Core2 Duo (775 Socket) based machine
    • Intel Core2 Duo Extreme X6800 (2930 MHz) (L2=4096K) CPU;
    • EVGA nForce 680i SLI motherboard on NVIDIA nForce 680i;
    • 2GB DDR2 SDRAM Corsair 1142MHz (CAS (tCL)=5; RAS to CAS delay (tRCD)=5; Row Precharge (tRP)=5; tRAS=15);
    • WD Caviar SE WD1600JD 160GB SATA HDD.

The testbed features Windows XP Professional Service Pack 2, DirectX 9.0c, Dell 3007WFP monitor. (30").

The list of benchmarks is here

2. Graphics card list

Below is a list of graphics cards that we tested linked to the respective 3Digest feature description pages.

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

Cards 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 X1650 XT 256MB DDR 1.4ns (600/1400 MHz)
  7. PCI-E-ATI RADEON X1650 XT 256MB DDR 1.2ns (625/1530 MHz)
  8. PCI-E-ATI RADEON X1950 PRO 256MB GDDR3 1.4ns (580/1400 MHz)
  9. PCI-E-ATI RADEON X1950 PRO 256MB GDDR3 1.2ns (635/1480 MHz)
  10. PCI-E-ATI RADEON X1950 PRO 512MB GDDR3 1.4ns (573/1360 MHz)
  11. PCI-E-ATI RADEON X1900 XT 256MB GDDR3 1.2ns (625/1450 MHz)
  12. PCI-E-ATI RADEON X1900 XT 512MB GDDR3 1.2ns (625/1450 MHz)
  13. PCI-E-ATI RADEON X1900 XTX 512MB GDDR3 1.1ns (650/1550 MHz)
  14. PCI-E-ATI RADEON X1950 XTX 512MB GDDR4 0.9ns (650/2000 MHz)
  15. PCI-E-ATI RADEON X1950 XT 512MB GDDR4 0.9ns (625/1800 MHz)
  16. PCI-E-ATI RADEON HD 2900 XT 512MB GDDR3 1.0ns (743/1660 MHz)
  17. PCI-E-NVIDIA GeForce 7600GT 256MB GDDR3 1.4ns (560/1400 MHz)
  18. PCI-E-NVIDIA GeForce 7600GS 256MB GDDR2 2.5ns (400/800 MHz)
  19. PCI-E-NVIDIA GeForce 7600GS 512MB GDDR2 2.0ns (550/950 MHz)
  20. PCI-E-NVIDIA GeForce 8500 GT 256MB GDDR2 2.5ns (450/800 MHz)
  21. PCI-E-NVIDIA GeForce 8500 GT 256MB GDDR3 1.2ns (600/1200 MHz)
  22. PCI-E-NVIDIA GeForce 8600 GT 256MB GDDR3 1.2ns (560/1560 MHz)
  23. PCI-E-NVIDIA GeForce 8600 GTS 256MB GDDR3 1.0ns (675/2000 MHz)
  24. PCI-E-NVIDIA GeForce 8600 GTS 256MB GDDR3 1.0ns (720/2200 MHz)
  25. PCI-E-NVIDIA GeForce 7900 GS 256MB GDDR3 1.4ns (450/1320 MHz)
  26. PCI-E-NVIDIA GeForce 7950 GT 512MB GDDR3 1.4ns (550/1400 MHz)
  27. PCI-E-NVIDIA GeForce 7950 GT 256MB GDDR3 1.4ns (600/1430 MHz)
  28. PCI-E-NVIDIA GeForce 7950 GX2 2x512MB GDDR3 1.4ns (500/1200 MHz)
  29. PCI-E-NVIDIA GeForce 7950 GX2 SLI 2x2x512MB GDDR3 1.4ns (4x500/1200 MHz)
  30. PCI-E-NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GTS 320MB GDDR3 1.2ns (512/1600 MHz)
  31. PCI-E-NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GTS 640MB GDDR3 1.2ns (512/1600 MHz)
  32. PCI-E-NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GTX 768MB GDDR3 1.1ns (575/1800 MHz)
  33. PCI-E-NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GTX 768MB GDDR3 1.1ns (625/2000 MHz)
  34. PCI-E-NVIDIA GeForce 8800 Ultra 768MB GDDR3 0.8ns (612/2160 MHz)
  35. PCI-E-NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GTX SLI 2x768MB GDDR3 1.1ns (2x575/1800 MHz)

Archive (graphics cards, information on which is no longer updated)

3. May 2007 news and matters

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

4. Summary graphics card performance charts for the latest drivers available at the moment of testing in May 2007

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

If you are familiar with 3D graphics, you will be able to draw all the conclusions yourself after looking at the charts provided. Those interested in our judgement of test results should see reviews dedicated to specific GPUs (see our 3D graphics section). And for newbies and those who has just started choosing a graphics card we'll provide some more detailed explanations.

First of all, you should take a look at our brief references of modern graphics card series and their respective GPUs. Note clock rates, shader support and pipeline architecture.



Reference for ATI RADEON X1300-1600-1800-1900 series

Reference for NVIDIA GeForce 7300-7600-7800-7900-8800 series

Secondly, in our 3D graphics section all newbies can read about the basics of 3D (this knowledge will be required anyway, because you'll surely try to adjust some game settings: textures, lighting, etc.) Besides, newbies should read separate reviews dedicated to new products. There are just two GPU vendors: ATI (recently merged with AMD under its brand) and NVIDIA. Thus, all information is generally separated in two parts.

Thirdly, let's see the charts and make conclusions.

  • 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 work or has worked incorrectly with this card.
  • We must especially underline the bad quality of WinXP drivers for NVIDIA 8800 series. For example, they do not allow DVI scalability of resolution. Besides, SLI still doesn't work in Call Of Juarez. Therefore SLI configurations have performance results even lower than those of single cards in these tests.
  • If you imagine a line connecting ends of columns representing test results on a chart, you can judge if a game is critical to a card or a CPU. If this curve is "convex" and many cards perform similarly, it means at this resolution and under this load performance is bottlenecked by system resources, not graphics card potential. If, vice versa, the curve is "concave" and performance drops quickly as card potential reduces, it means the game puts heavy load on graphics cards and depends exclusively on their potential.

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 7.4, NVIDIA ForceWare 160.02).


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 the HIGHEST resolution available in games was used to calculate prospect ratings.
  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.

Core2 Duo X6800 based testbed:

"Usability" Rating:

GAMING ONLY usability rating

01. X1950 PRO 256MB, 580/1400
701
690
164
02. X1900 XT 512MB, 625/1450
700
825
218
03. X1900 XTX 512MB, 650/1550
688
851
234
04. 8800 GTS 320MB, 512/1600
675
1043
355
05. X1900 XT 256MB, 625/1450
665
787
211
06. X1950 XT 512MB, 625/1800
632
870
260
07. X1950 PRO 512MB, 575/1370
618
730
200
08. 8600 GT 256MB, 560/1560
604
588
146
09. X1950 PRO 256MB, 635/1485
592
711
205
10. X1650 PRO 256MB 590/1380
581
428
83
11. 8800 GTS 640MB, 512/1600
573
1089
452
12. X1650 XT 256MB, 600/1400
559
527
130
13. 8800 GTX 768MB, 575/1800
557
1293
611
14. X1300 XT 256MB 500/800
551
359
64
15. EVGA 8800 GTX 768MB, 625/2000
548
1363
674
16. X1650 XT 256MB, 625/1540
545
549
144
17. HD 2900 XT 512MB, 750/1660
542
1181
541
18. 8500 GT 256MB, 600/1200
537
503
115
19. 8600 GTS 256MB, 675/2000
488
700
237
20. 8600 GTS 256MB, 720/2200
462
712
260
21. X1950 XTX 512MB, 650/2000
446
880
380
22. 8500 GT 256MB, 450/800
431
433
107
23. 8800 Ultra 768MB, 612/2160
413
1375
909
24. X1300 PRO 256MB, 600/800
390
299
63
25. 8800 GTX SLI 2x768MB, 575/1800
356
1570
1222
26. 7600 GT 256MB, 560/1400
339
398
117
27. 7600 GS 256MB, 400/800
314
326
85
28. 7900 GS 256MB, 450/1320
312
466
169
29. 7950 GT 256MB 600/1430
288
532
232
30. X1300 256MB, 450/550
282
243
60
31. 7600 GS 512MB, 550/950
270
364
124
32. 7950 GT 512MB 550/1400
262
523
249
33. X1300 512MB, 450/500
253
252
71
34. BFG 7950GX2 2x512MB, 500/1200
170
634
519
35. 7950GX2 SLI 2x2x512MB, 500/1200
101
724
1038


GENERAL usability rating

01. 8800 GTS 320MB, 512/1600
1697
1664
355
02. X1950 PRO 256MB, 580/1400
1692
1080
164
03. X1900 XT 512MB, 625/1450
1672
1285
218
04. X1900 XTX 512MB, 650/1550
1643
1325
234
05. X1900 XT 256MB, 625/1450
1591
1225
211
06. X1950 XT 512MB, 625/1800
1515
1362
260
07. X1950 PRO 512MB, 575/1370
1496
1148
200
08. 8800 GTS 640MB, 512/1600
1433
1742
452
09. X1650 PRO 256MB 590/1380
1432
675
83
10. X1950 PRO 256MB, 635/1485
1428
1111
205
11. 8800 GTX 768MB, 575/1800
1393
2061
611
12. HD 2900 XT 512MB, 750/1660
1388
1910
541
13. 8600 GT 256MB, 560/1560
1388
900
146
14. 8500 GT 256MB, 600/1200
1376
813
115
15. EVGA 8800 GTX 768MB, 625/2000
1372
2178
674
16. X1300 XT 256MB 500/800
1344
563
64
17. X1650 XT 256MB, 600/1400
1339
820
130
18. X1650 XT 256MB, 625/1540
1315
860
144
19. 8600 GTS 256MB, 675/2000
1163
1090
237
20. 8500 GT 256MB, 450/800
1101
700
107
21. 8600 GTS 256MB, 720/2200
1093
1106
260
22. X1950 XTX 512MB, 650/2000
1065
1370
380
23. 8800 Ultra 768MB, 612/2160
1025
2184
909
24. X1300 PRO 256MB, 600/800
944
465
63
25. 8800 GTX SLI 2x768MB, 575/1800
920
2543
1222
26. 7600 GT 256MB, 560/1400
751
596
117
27. 7600 GS 256MB, 400/800
694
487
85
28. 7900 GS 256MB, 450/1320
685
695
169
29. X1300 256MB, 450/550
678
379
60
30. 7950 GT 256MB 600/1430
637
797
232
31. X1300 512MB, 450/500
625
400
71
32. 7600 GS 512MB, 550/950
600
547
124
33. 7950 GT 512MB 550/1400
580
783
249
34. BFG 7950GX2 2x512MB, 500/1200
390
966
519
35. 7950GX2 SLI 2x2x512MB, 500/1200
244
1135
1038

"Prospect" Rating:

GAMING ONLY prospect rating

01. 8800 GTX SLI 2x768MB, 575/1800
356
1570
1222
02. 8800 Ultra 768MB, 612/2160
413
1375
909
03. EVGA 8800 GTX 768MB, 625/2000
548
1363
674
04. 8800 GTX 768MB, 575/1800
557
1293
611
05. HD 2900 XT 512MB, 750/1660
542
1181
541
06. 8800 GTS 640MB, 512/1600
573
1089
452
07. 8800 GTS 320MB, 512/1600
675
1043
355
08. X1950 XTX 512MB, 650/2000
446
880
380
09. X1950 XT 512MB, 625/1800
632
870
260
10. X1900 XTX 512MB, 650/1550
688
851
234
11. X1900 XT 512MB, 625/1450
700
825
218
12. X1900 XT 256MB, 625/1450
665
787
211
13. X1950 PRO 512MB, 575/1370
618
730
200
14. 7950GX2 SLI 2x2x512MB, 500/1200
101
724
1038
15. 8600 GTS 256MB, 720/2200
462
712
260
16. X1950 PRO 256MB, 635/1485
592
711
205
17. 8600 GTS 256MB, 675/2000
488
700
237
18. X1950 PRO 256MB, 580/1400
701
690
164
19. BFG 7950GX2 2x512MB, 500/1200
170
634
519
20. 8600 GT 256MB, 560/1560
604
588
146
21. X1650 XT 256MB, 625/1540
545
549
144
22. 7950 GT 256MB 600/1430
288
532
232
23. X1650 XT 256MB, 600/1400
559
527
130
24. 7950 GT 512MB 550/1400
262
523
249
25. 8500 GT 256MB, 600/1200
537
503
115
26. 7900 GS 256MB, 450/1320
312
466
169
27. 8500 GT 256MB, 450/800
431
433
107
28. X1650 PRO 256MB 590/1380
581
428
83
29. 7600 GT 256MB, 560/1400
339
398
117
30. 7600 GS 512MB, 550/950
270
364
124
31. X1300 XT 256MB 500/800
551
359
64
32. 7600 GS 256MB, 400/800
314
326
85
33. X1300 PRO 256MB, 600/800
390
299
63
34. X1300 512MB, 450/500
253
252
71
35. X1300 256MB, 450/550
282
243
60


GENERAL prospect rating

01. 8800 GTX SLI 2x768MB, 575/1800
920
2543
1222
02. 8800 Ultra 768MB, 612/2160
1025
2184
909
03. EVGA 8800 GTX 768MB, 625/2000
1372
2178
674
04. 8800 GTX 768MB, 575/1800
1393
2061
611
05. HD 2900 XT 512MB, 750/1660
1388
1910
541
06. 8800 GTS 640MB, 512/1600
1433
1742
452
07. 8800 GTS 320MB, 512/1600
1697
1664
355
08. X1950 XTX 512MB, 650/2000
1065
1370
380
09. X1950 XT 512MB, 625/1800
1515
1362
260
10. X1900 XTX 512MB, 650/1550
1643
1325
234
11. X1900 XT 512MB, 625/1450
1672
1285
218
12. X1900 XT 256MB, 625/1450
1591
1225
211
13. X1950 PRO 512MB, 575/1370
1496
1148
200
14. 7950GX2 SLI 2x2x512MB, 500/1200
244
1135
1038
15. X1950 PRO 256MB, 635/1485
1428
1111
205
16. 8600 GTS 256MB, 720/2200
1093
1106
260
17. 8600 GTS 256MB, 675/2000
1163
1090
237
18. X1950 PRO 256MB, 580/1400
1692
1080
164
19. BFG 7950GX2 2x512MB, 500/1200
390
966
519
20. 8600 GT 256MB, 560/1560
1388
900
146
21. X1650 XT 256MB, 625/1540
1315
860
144
22. X1650 XT 256MB, 600/1400
1339
820
130
23. 8500 GT 256MB, 600/1200
1376
813
115
24. 7950 GT 256MB 600/1430
637
797
232
25. 7950 GT 512MB 550/1400
580
783
249
26. 8500 GT 256MB, 450/800
1101
700
107
27. 7900 GS 256MB, 450/1320
685
695
169
28. X1650 PRO 256MB 590/1380
1432
675
83
29. 7600 GT 256MB, 560/1400
751
596
117
30. X1300 XT 256MB 500/800
1344
563
64
31. 7600 GS 512MB, 550/950
600
547
124
32. 7600 GS 256MB, 400/800
694
487
85
33. X1300 PRO 256MB, 600/800
944
465
63
34. X1300 512MB, 450/500
625
400
71
35. X1300 256MB, 450/550
678
379
60



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:
"Zotac",
"BFG Russia" and personally Mikhail Proshletsov,
"EVGA Russia" and personally Victoria Nikolaeva,
Foxconn Russia,
MSI Russia,
Gainward,

HIS (and personally Peter Yueng)
"NVIDIA Russia",
AMD Russia,
"Sapphire Technology Russia",
"ASUStek Russia",



The PSU for the testbed was kindly provided by HIPER




                               The Dell 3007WFP monitor was kindly provided by NVIDIA





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





Andrey Vorobiev (anvakams@ixbt.com)
22.05.2007


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