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3Digest, August 2007

September 11, 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 July 2007 to the 15th of August 2007. 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 87th issue of 3Digest.

August 2007

For this issue and on we have replaced the F.E.A.R. benchmark with the World In Conflict beta DX10 tests under MS Windows Vista.

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 has the following OS installed:

  • Windows XP Professional Service Pack 2, DirectX 9.0c,
  • Windows Vista Ultimate 32bit, DirectX 10;

We used theDell 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 XT 256MB DDR2 2.0ns (500/900 MHz)
  2. PCI-E-ATI RADEON X1650 PRO 256MB DDR 1.4ns (590/1380 MHz)
  3. PCI-E-ATI RADEON X1950 PRO 256MB GDDR3 1.4ns (580/1400 MHz)
  4. PCI-E-ATI RADEON X1950 PRO 512MB GDDR3 1.4ns (573/1360 MHz)
  5. PCI-E-ATI RADEON X1950 XTX 512MB GDDR4 0.9ns (650/2000 MHz)
  6. PCI-E-ATI RADEON HD 2400 XT 256MB GDDR3 1.2ns (700/1600 MHz)
  7. PCI-E-ATI RADEON HD 2600 PRO 256MB GDDR2 2.0ns (600/1000 MHz)
  8. PCI-E-ATI RADEON HD 2600 PRO 256MB GDDR3 1.2ns (700/1400 MHz)
  9. PCI-E-ATI RADEON HD 2600 XT 256MB GDDR4 0.9ns (800/2200 MHz)
  10. PCI-E-ATI RADEON HD 2900 XT 512MB GDDR3 1.0ns (743/1660 MHz)
  11. PCI-E-NVIDIA GeForce 7600GT 256MB GDDR3 1.4ns (560/1400 MHz)
  12. PCI-E-NVIDIA GeForce 8500 GT 256MB GDDR2 2.5ns (450/800 MHz)
  13. PCI-E-NVIDIA GeForce 8600 GT 256MB GDDR3 1.2ns (560/1560 MHz)
  14. PCI-E-NVIDIA GeForce 8600 GTS 256MB GDDR3 1.0ns (720/2200 MHz)
  15. PCI-E-NVIDIA GeForce 7900 GS 256MB GDDR3 1.4ns (450/1320 MHz)
  16. PCI-E-NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GTS 320MB GDDR3 1.2ns (512/1600 MHz)
  17. PCI-E-NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GTS 640MB GDDR3 1.2ns (512/1600 MHz)
  18. PCI-E-NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GTX 768MB GDDR3 1.1ns (575/1800 MHz)
  19. PCI-E-NVIDIA GeForce 8800 Ultra 768MB GDDR3 0.8ns (612/2160 MHz)
  20. PCI-E-NVIDIA GeForce 8800 Ultra SLI 2x768MB GDDR3 0.8ns (2x612/2160 MHz)

Archive (graphics cards, information on which is no longer updated)

3. August 2007 news and the current matters

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

  • 3.1. The following drivers were released from July 15, 2007 to August 15, 2007:



  • 3.2. This month we used 163.44 drivers for NVIDIA-based card summaries, 7.8 drivers for ATI-based card summaries.

4. Summary diagrams of graphics cards performance with the latest drivers for August 2007.

All willing to see the complete results in Excel 2003 format can download this RAR 3.0 or 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-x, HD 2900 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.

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 7.8, NVIDIA ForceWare 163.44).


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

# Card Usability rating Prospect rating Approx. price
01. 8600 GT 256MB, 560/1560
285
391
129
02. 8800 GTS 320MB, 512/1600
275
655
345
03. HD 2600 PRO 256MB, 700/1400
273
363
110
04. X1950 PRO 256MB, 580/1400
270
424
149
05. X1300 XT 256MB 500/800
259
252
57
06. 8800 GTS 640MB, 512/1600
256
736
440
07. 8600 GTS 256MB, 720/2200
251
459
201
08. X1650 PRO 256MB 590/1380
246
309
80
09. 8800 GTX 768MB, 575/1800
245
867
610
10. HD 2900 XT 512MB, 750/1660
244
702
419
11. HD 2600 XT 256MB, 800/2200
242
403
155
12. HD 2600 PRO 256MB, 600/1000
237
327
100
13. X1950 PRO 512MB, 575/1370
224
449
195
14. 8800 Ultra 768MB, 612/2160
224
892
700
15. 8500 GT 256MB, 450/800
222
273
82
16. HD 2400 XT 256MB, 700/1600
208
255
73
17. 7900 GS 256MB, 450/1320
172
313
129
18. X1950 XTX 512MB, 650/2000
159
534
368
19. 7600 GT 256MB, 560/1400
145
274
118
20. 8800 Ultra SLI 2x768MB, 612/2160
117
960
1400


GENERAL usability rating

# Card Usability rating Prospect rating Approx. price
01. HD 2600 PRO 256MB, 700/1400
864
649
110
02. 8600 GT 256MB, 560/1560
860
687
129
03. 8800 GTS 320MB, 512/1600
817
1147
345
04. X1950 PRO 256MB, 580/1400
815
746
149
05. X1300 XT 256MB 500/800
779
439
57
06. 8600 GTS 256MB, 720/2200
766
813
201
07. HD 2600 XT 256MB, 800/2200
756
721
155
08. HD 2600 PRO 256MB, 600/1000
753
587
100
09. HD 2900 XT 512MB, 750/1660
749
1242
419
10. X1650 PRO 256MB 590/1380
741
532
80
11. 8800 GTS 640MB, 512/1600
738
1261
440
12. 8800 GTX 768MB, 575/1800
692
1472
610
13. X1950 PRO 512MB, 575/1370
683
791
195
14. 8500 GT 256MB, 450/800
663
478
82
15. HD 2400 XT 256MB, 700/1600
650
454
73
16. 8800 Ultra 768MB, 612/2160
641
1525
700
17. X1950 XTX 512MB, 650/2000
483
939
368
18. 7900 GS 256MB, 450/1320
453
510
129
19. 7600 GT 256MB, 560/1400
383
445
118
20. 8800 Ultra SLI 2x768MB, 612/2160
357
1688
1400

Prospect Rating:

GAMING ONLY prospect rating

# Card Usability rating Prospect rating Approx. price
01. 8800 Ultra SLI 2x768MB, 612/2160
117
960
1400
02. 8800 Ultra 768MB, 612/2160
224
892
700
03. 8800 GTX 768MB, 575/1800
245
867
610
04. 8800 GTS 640MB, 512/1600
256
736
440
05. HD 2900 XT 512MB, 750/1660
244
702
419
06. 8800 GTS 320MB, 512/1600
275
655
345
07. X1950 XTX 512MB, 650/2000
159
534
368
08. 8600 GTS 256MB, 720/2200
251
459
201
09. X1950 PRO 512MB, 575/1370
224
449
195
10. X1950 PRO 256MB, 580/1400
270
424
149
11. HD 2600 XT 256MB, 800/2200
242
403
155
12. 8600 GT 256MB, 560/1560
285
391
129
13. HD 2600 PRO 256MB, 700/1400
273
363
110
14. HD 2600 PRO 256MB, 600/1000
237
327
100
15. 7900 GS 256MB, 450/1320
172
313
129
16. X1650 PRO 256MB 590/1380
246
309
80
17. 7600 GT 256MB, 560/1400
145
274
118
18. 8500 GT 256MB, 450/800
222
273
82
19. HD 2400 XT 256MB, 700/1600
208
255
73
20. X1300 XT 256MB 500/800
259
252
57


GENERAL prospect rating

# Card Usability rating Prospect rating Approx. price
01. 8800 Ultra SLI 2x768MB, 612/2160
357
1688
1400
02. 8800 Ultra 768MB, 612/2160
641
1525
700
03. 8800 GTX 768MB, 575/1800
692
1472
610
04. 8800 GTS 640MB, 512/1600
738
1261
440
05. HD 2900 XT 512MB, 750/1660
749
1242
419
06. 8800 GTS 320MB, 512/1600
817
1147
345
07. X1950 XTX 512MB, 650/2000
483
939
368
08. 8600 GTS 256MB, 720/2200
766
813
201
09. X1950 PRO 512MB, 575/1370
683
791
195
10. X1950 PRO 256MB, 580/1400
815
746
149
11. HD 2600 XT 256MB, 800/2200
756
721
155
12. 8600 GT 256MB, 560/1560
860
687
129
13. HD 2600 PRO 256MB, 700/1400
864
649
110
14. HD 2600 PRO 256MB, 600/1000
753
587
100
15. X1650 PRO 256MB 590/1380
741
532
80
16. 7900 GS 256MB, 450/1320
453
510
129
17. 8500 GT 256MB, 450/800
663
478
82
18. HD 2400 XT 256MB, 700/1600
650
454
73
19. 7600 GT 256MB, 560/1400
383
445
118
20. X1300 XT 256MB 500/800
779
439
57



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

7.1. Game bugs archive

Game quality archive

8. Game Quality Control

Game Quality Control



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




Andrey Vorobiev (anvakams@ixbt.com)
Danil Gridasov (degust@ixbt.com)








10.08.2007


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