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3Digest: September 2007

October 11, 2007



Monthly drivers report and popular 3D
accelerators comparison

The 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 and Vista in the past month.

This issue is dedicated to drivers released from the 15th of August 2007 to the 15th of September 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 88th issue of 3Digest.

September 2007

From this issue on we remove SCCT and SS2 tests results obtained without HDR. We've also added a few new graphics cards to our list.

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 operating systems installed:

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

We also used the 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 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 GDDR3 1.4ns (800/1400 MHz)
  10. PCI-E-ATI RADEON HD 2600 XT 256MB GDDR4 0.9ns (800/2200 MHz)
  11. PCI-E-ATI RADEON HD 2900 XT 512MB GDDR3 1.0ns (743/1660 MHz)
  12. PCI-E-ATI RADEON HD 2900 XT 1024MB GDDR3 0.8ns (743/2000 MHz)
  13. PCI-E-NVIDIA GeForce 8500 GT 256MB GDDR2 2.5ns (450/800 MHz)
  14. PCI-E-NVIDIA GeForce 8600 GT 256MB GDDR3 1.2ns (560/1560 MHz)
  15. PCI-E-NVIDIA GeForce 8600 GTS 256MB GDDR3 1.0ns (720/2200 MHz)
  16. PCI-E-NVIDIA GeForce 7900 GS 256MB GDDR3 1.4ns (450/1320 MHz)
  17. PCI-E-NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GTS 320MB GDDR3 1.2ns (512/1600 MHz)
  18. PCI-E-NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GTS 640MB GDDR3 1.2ns (512/1600 MHz)
  19. PCI-E-NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GTX 768MB GDDR3 1.1ns (575/1800 MHz)
  20. PCI-E-NVIDIA GeForce 8800 Ultra 768MB GDDR3 0.8ns (612/2160 MHz)
  21. PCI-E-NVIDIA GeForce 8800 Ultra 768MB GDDR3 0.8ns (655/2250 MHz)
  22. PCI-E-NVIDIA GeForce 8800 Ultra SLI 2x768MB GDDR3 0.8ns (2x612/2160 MHz)

Archive (graphics cards, information for which is no longer updated)

3. September 2007 news and current matters

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

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



  • 3.2. This month we used 163.69/67 drivers for NVIDIA-based card summaries, 7.8/9 drivers for ATI-based card summaries.

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

And now 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 new 3DMark06 tests (ATI CATALYST 7.8/9, NVIDIA ForceWare 163.67/69).


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. HD 2600 XT 256MB, 800/1400
240
352
121
02. 8600 GT 256MB, 560/1560
240
354
129
03. 8800 GTS 320MB, 512/1600
233
595
345
04. HD 2600 PRO 256MB, 700/1400
232
334
110
05. 8800 GTS 640MB, 512/1600
222
682
440
06. 8800 GTX 768MB, 575/1800
213
803
610
07. X1300 XT 256MB 500/800
212
229
57
08. X1950 PRO 256MB, 580/1400
210
373
149
09. 8600 GTS 256MB, 720/2200
209
414
201
10. 8800 Ultra 768MB, 655/2250
207
876
720
11. HD 2600 XT 256MB, 800/2200
207
369
155
12. HD 2900 XT 512MB, 750/1660
205
639
419
13. HD 2600 PRO 256MB, 600/1000
199
301
100
14. 8800 Ultra 768MB, 612/2160
195
827
700
15. X1650 PRO 256MB 590/1380
190
257
80
16. 8500 GT 256MB, 450/800
186
248
82
17. HD 2400 XT 256MB, 700/1600
176
234
73
18. X1950 PRO 512MB, 575/1370
175
399
195
19. HD 2900 XT 1024MB, 750/2000
172
669
530
20. 8800 Ultra SLI 2x768MB, 612/2160
128
996
1400
21. X1950 XTX 512MB, 650/2000
123
471
368
22. 7900 GS 256MB, 450/1320
116
259
129
23. 7600 GT 256MB, 560/1400
102
229
118


GENERAL usability rating

# Card Usability rating Prospect rating Approx. price
01. HD 2600 XT 256MB, 800/1400
994
728
121
02. HD 2600 PRO 256MB, 700/1400
970
687
110
03. 8600 GT 256MB, 560/1560
948
719
129
04. 8800 GTS 320MB, 512/1600
904
1200
345
05. X1950 PRO 256MB, 580/1400
852
765
149
06. HD 2600 XT 256MB, 800/2200
851
763
155
07. X1300 XT 256MB 500/800
843
459
57
08. 8600 GTS 256MB, 720/2200
841
847
201
09. HD 2600 PRO 256MB, 600/1000
841
622
100
10. HD 2900 XT 512MB, 750/1660
829
1304
419
11. 8800 GTS 640MB, 512/1600
824
1331
440
12. 8800 GTX 768MB, 575/1800
777
1553
610
13. X1650 PRO 256MB 590/1380
770
521
80
14. 8800 Ultra 768MB, 655/2250
763
1702
720
15. 8500 GT 256MB, 450/800
730
500
82
16. HD 2400 XT 256MB, 700/1600
726
480
73
17. 8800 Ultra 768MB, 612/2160
720
1609
700
18. X1950 PRO 512MB, 575/1370
719
815
195
19. HD 2900 XT 1024MB, 750/2000
686
1348
530
20. X1950 XTX 512MB, 650/2000
506
963
368
21. 8800 Ultra SLI 2x768MB, 612/2160
474
1939
1400
22. 7900 GS 256MB, 450/1320
418
492
129
23. 7600 GT 256MB, 560/1400
361
433
118

Prospect rating

GAMING ONLY prospect rating

# Card Usability rating Prospect rating Approx. price
01. 8800 Ultra SLI 2x768MB, 612/2160
128
996
1400
02. 8800 Ultra 768MB, 655/2250
207
876
720
03. 8800 Ultra 768MB, 612/2160
195
827
700
04. 8800 GTX 768MB, 575/1800
213
803
610
05. 8800 GTS 640MB, 512/1600
222
682
440
06. HD 2900 XT 1024MB, 750/2000
172
669
530
07. HD 2900 XT 512MB, 750/1660
205
639
419
08. 8800 GTS 320MB, 512/1600
233
595
345
09. X1950 XTX 512MB, 650/2000
123
471
368
10. 8600 GTS 256MB, 720/2200
209
414
201
11. X1950 PRO 512MB, 575/1370
175
399
195
12. X1950 PRO 256MB, 580/1400
210
373
149
13. HD 2600 XT 256MB, 800/2200
207
369
155
14. 8600 GT 256MB, 560/1560
240
354
129
15. HD 2600 XT 256MB, 800/1400
240
352
121
16. HD 2600 PRO 256MB, 700/1400
232
334
110
17. HD 2600 PRO 256MB, 600/1000
199
301
100
18. 7900 GS 256MB, 450/1320
116
259
129
19. X1650 PRO 256MB 590/1380
190
257
80
20. 8500 GT 256MB, 450/800
186
248
82
21. HD 2400 XT 256MB, 700/1600
176
234
73
22. 7600 GT 256MB, 560/1400
102
229
118
23. X1300 XT 256MB 500/800
212
229
57


GENERAL prospect rating

# Card Usability rating Prospect rating Approx. price
01. 8800 Ultra SLI 2x768MB, 612/2160
474
1939
1400
02. 8800 Ultra 768MB, 655/2250
763
1702
720
03. 8800 Ultra 768MB, 612/2160
720
1609
700
04. 8800 GTX 768MB, 575/1800
777
1553
610
05. HD 2900 XT 1024MB, 750/2000
686
1348
530
06. 8800 GTS 640MB, 512/1600
824
1331
440
07. HD 2900 XT 512MB, 750/1660
829
1304
419
08. 8800 GTS 320MB, 512/1600
904
1200
345
09. X1950 XTX 512MB, 650/2000
506
963
368
10. 8600 GTS 256MB, 720/2200
841
847
201
11. X1950 PRO 512MB, 575/1370
719
815
195
12. X1950 PRO 256MB, 580/1400
852
765
149
13. HD 2600 XT 256MB, 800/2200
851
763
155
14. HD 2600 XT 256MB, 800/1400
994
728
121
15. 8600 GT 256MB, 560/1560
948
719
129
16. HD 2600 PRO 256MB, 700/1400
970
687
110
17. HD 2600 PRO 256MB, 600/1000
841
622
100
18. X1650 PRO 256MB 590/1380
770
521
80
19. 8500 GT 256MB, 450/800
730
500
82
20. 7900 GS 256MB, 450/1320
418
492
129
21. HD 2400 XT 256MB, 700/1600
726
480
73
22. X1300 XT 256MB 500/800
843
459
57
23. 7600 GT 256MB, 560/1400
361
433
118



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

7.1. Game bugs archive

Game quality archive

8. Game Quality Control

Game Quality Control Section



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 provided by HIPER




                               The Dell 3007WFP monitor was provided by NVIDIA





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



11.09.2007

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