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3Digest: October 2007

November 10, 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/Vista in the past month.

This issue is dedicated to drivers released from the 15th of September 2007 to the 15th of October 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 89th issue of 3Digest.

October 2007

Attention! It's our last 3Digest that is published in this format. In the future, gaming performance and quality sections will be published as separate articles bi-monthly.

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:

  1. PCI-E-ATI RADEON X1650 PRO 256MB DDR 1.4ns (590/1380 MHz)
  2. PCI-E-ATI RADEON X1950 PRO 256MB GDDR3 1.4ns (580/1400 MHz)
  3. PCI-E-ATI RADEON X1950 PRO 512MB GDDR3 1.4ns (573/1360 MHz)
  4. PCI-E-ATI RADEON X1950 XTX 512MB GDDR4 0.9ns (650/2000 MHz)
  5. PCI-E-ATI RADEON HD 2400 XT 256MB GDDR3 1.2ns (700/1600 MHz)
  6. PCI-E-ATI RADEON HD 2600 PRO 256MB GDDR2 2.0ns (600/1000 MHz)
  7. PCI-E-ATI RADEON HD 2600 PRO 256MB GDDR3 1.2ns (700/1400 MHz)
  8. PCI-E-ATI RADEON HD 2600 XT 256MB GDDR3 1.4ns (800/1400 MHz)
  9. PCI-E-ATI RADEON HD 2600 XT 256MB GDDR4 0.9ns (800/2200 MHz)
  10. PCI-E-ATI RADEON HD 2900 PRO 512MB GDDR3 1.0ns (600/1600 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 8800 GT 512MB GDDR3 1.0ns (600/1800 MHz)
  17. PCI-E-NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GT 512MB GDDR3 1.0ns (700/2000 MHz)
  18. PCI-E-NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GTS 320MB GDDR3 1.2ns (512/1600 MHz)
  19. PCI-E-NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GTS 640MB GDDR3 1.2ns (512/1600 MHz)
  20. PCI-E-NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GTX 768MB GDDR3 1.1ns (575/1800 MHz)
  21. PCI-E-NVIDIA GeForce 8800 Ultra 768MB GDDR3 0.8ns (612/2160 MHz)
  22. PCI-E-NVIDIA GeForce 8800 Ultra 768MB GDDR3 0.8ns (655/2250 MHz)
  23. 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. October 2007 news and matters

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

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



  • 3.2. This month we used 169.04 drivers for NVIDIA-based card summaries, 7.10 drivers for ATI-based card summaries.

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

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 3DMark06 new tests (ATI CATALYST 7.10, NVIDIA ForceWare 169.04.


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. 8800 GT 512MB, 700/2000
278
610
320
02. 8800 GT 512MB, 600/1800
263
559
300
03. HD 2900 PRO 512MB, 600/1600
192
538
320
04. HD 2600 XT 256MB, 800/1400
170
291
121
05. HD 2900 XT 512MB, 750/1660
169
582
419
06. 8600 GT 256MB, 560/1560
162
286
129
07. 8800 GTS 640MB, 512/1600
162
569
440
08. 8800 GTX 768MB, 575/1800
160
676
610
09. HD 2600 PRO 256MB, 700/1400
156
273
110
10. 8800 Ultra 768MB, 655/2250
156
738
720
11. 8800 GTS 320MB, 512/1600
152
455
345
12. X1950 PRO 256MB, 580/1400
151
305
149
13. 8800 Ultra 768MB, 612/2160
148
698
700
14. HD 2600 XT 256MB, 800/2200
147
303
155
15. 8600 GTS 256MB, 720/2200
143
326
201
16. HD 2900 XT 1024MB, 750/2000
143
611
530
17. HD 2600 PRO 256MB, 600/1000
143
251
100
18. X1950 PRO 512MB, 575/1370
141
326
178
19. X1650 PRO 256MB 590/1380
137
218
80
20. 8500 GT 256MB, 450/800
129
215
82
21. HD 2400 XT 256MB, 700/1600
127
202
73
22. 8800 Ultra SLI 2x768MB, 612/2160
94
811
1400
23. X1950 XTX 512MB, 650/2000
90
388
368

GENERAL usability rating

# Card Usability rating Prospect rating Approx. price
01. 8800 GT 512MB, 700/2000
1176
1306
320
02. 8800 GT 512MB, 600/1800
1122
1208
300
03. HD 2900 PRO 512MB, 600/1600
824
1128
320
04. HD 2600 XT 256MB, 800/1400
781
638
121
05. HD 2600 PRO 256MB, 700/1400
740
598
110
06. HD 2900 XT 512MB, 750/1660
727
1225
419
07. 8600 GT 256MB, 560/1560
714
616
129
08. X1950 PRO 256MB, 580/1400
679
665
149
09. 8800 GTS 320MB, 512/1600
673
997
345
10. HD 2600 XT 256MB, 800/2200
671
665
155
11. HD 2600 PRO 256MB, 600/1000
668
549
100
12. 8800 GTS 640MB, 512/1600
663
1175
440
13. 8600 GTS 256MB, 720/2200
640
714
201
14. X1950 PRO 512MB, 575/1370
636
710
178
15. 8800 GTX 768MB, 575/1800
636
1378
610
16. 8800 Ultra 768MB, 655/2250
627
1513
720
17. X1650 PRO 256MB 590/1380
614
466
80
18. HD 2900 XT 1024MB, 750/2000
605
1269
530
19. 8800 Ultra 768MB, 612/2160
595
1432
700
20. HD 2400 XT 256MB, 700/1600
582
433
73
21. 8500 GT 256MB, 450/800
568
454
82
22. X1950 XTX 512MB, 650/2000
408
842
368
23. 8800 Ultra SLI 2x768MB, 612/2160
381
1681
1400

Prospect rating

GAMING ONLY prospect rating

# Card Usability rating Prospect rating Approx. price
01. 8800 Ultra SLI 2x768MB, 612/2160
94
811
1400
02. 8800 Ultra 768MB, 655/2250
156
738
720
03. 8800 Ultra 768MB, 612/2160
148
698
700
04. 8800 GTX 768MB, 575/1800
160
676
610
05. HD 2900 XT 1024MB, 750/2000
143
611
530
06. 8800 GT 512MB, 700/2000
278
610
320
07. HD 2900 XT 512MB, 750/1660
169
582
419
08. 8800 GTS 640MB, 512/1600
162
569
440
09. 8800 GT 512MB, 600/1800
263
559
300
10. HD 2900 PRO 512MB, 600/1600
192
538
320
11. 8800 GTS 320MB, 512/1600
152
455
345
12. X1950 XTX 512MB, 650/2000
90
388
368
13. 8600 GTS 256MB, 720/2200
143
326
201
14. X1950 PRO 512MB, 575/1370
141
326
178
15. X1950 PRO 256MB, 580/1400
151
305
149
16. HD 2600 XT 256MB, 800/2200
147
303
155
17. HD 2600 XT 256MB, 800/1400
170
291
121
18. 8600 GT 256MB, 560/1560
162
286
129
19. HD 2600 PRO 256MB, 700/1400
156
273
110
20. HD 2600 PRO 256MB, 600/1000
143
251
100
21. X1650 PRO 256MB 590/1380
137
218
80
22. 8500 GT 256MB, 450/800
129
215
82
23. HD 2400 XT 256MB, 700/1600
127
202
73

GENERAL prospect rating

# Card Usability rating Prospect rating Approx. price
01. 8800 Ultra SLI 2x768MB, 612/2160
381
1681
1400
02. 8800 Ultra 768MB, 655/2250
627
1513
720
03. 8800 Ultra 768MB, 612/2160
595
1432
700
04. 8800 GTX 768MB, 575/1800
636
1378
610
05. 8800 GT 512MB, 700/2000
1176
1306
320
06. HD 2900 XT 1024MB, 750/2000
605
1269
530
07. HD 2900 XT 512MB, 750/1660
727
1225
419
08. 8800 GT 512MB, 600/1800
1122
1208
300
09. 8800 GTS 640MB, 512/1600
663
1175
440
10. HD 2900 PRO 512MB, 600/1600
824
1128
320
11. 8800 GTS 320MB, 512/1600
673
997
345
12. X1950 XTX 512MB, 650/2000
408
842
368
13. 8600 GTS 256MB, 720/2200
640
714
201
14. X1950 PRO 512MB, 575/1370
636
710
178
15. HD 2600 XT 256MB, 800/2200
671
665
155
16. X1950 PRO 256MB, 580/1400
679
665
149
17. HD 2600 XT 256MB, 800/1400
781
638
121
18. 8600 GT 256MB, 560/1560
714
616
129
19. HD 2600 PRO 256MB, 700/1400
740
598
110
20. HD 2600 PRO 256MB, 600/1000
668
549
100
21. X1650 PRO 256MB 590/1380
614
466
80
22. 8500 GT 256MB, 450/800
568
454
82
23. HD 2400 XT 256MB, 700/1600
582
433
73

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 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",



PSU for the testbed provided by TAGAN

Dell 3007WFP monitor provided by NVIDIA

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






04.11.2007

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