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i3DSpeed: December 2007

December 31, 2007



Monthly drivers report and popular 3D
accelerators comparison

The i3DSpeed, a project of iXBT.com and Digit-Life.com, is dedicated to informing you about performance of a large number of graphics cards under Windows XP and Vista.

This issue is dedicated to drivers released from the 15th of November to the 15th of December 2007. Traditionally, we offer you summaries of performance of the popular graphics cards, and also inform you about the best price/performance deals in the market.

Issue #2(91)

December 2007

We have changed the testbed configuration; added RADEON HD 2900 XT CrossFire and GeForce 8800 GTS 512MB test results.

Contents

  1. Testbed configurations and test software
  2. Tested videocards list
  3. i3DSpeed News
  4. Test summary diagrams and digest bottom line
  5. 3D accelerator rating calculations for the end of the month



1. Testbed configuration



  • Intel Core2 Duo (775 Socket) based machine
    • Intel Core2 Extreme QX9650 (3000 MHz) (L2=8192K) CPU;
    • Gigabyte GA-X38-DQ6 motherboard on Intel X38;
    • 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.

Operating systems:

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

Monitor: 30" Dell 3007WFP (30").

Benchmark list


2. Graphics cards

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

In the brackets: core clock rate; ROP/TMU, core clock rate; shader unit, effective memory clock rate):

  1. PCI-E-ATI RADEON HD 2400 XT 256MB GDDR3 1.2ns (700/700/1600 MHz)
  2. PCI-E-ATI RADEON HD 2600 PRO 256MB GDDR2 2.0ns (600/600/1000 MHz)
  3. PCI-E-ATI RADEON HD 2600 PRO 256MB GDDR3 1.2ns (700/700/1400 MHz)
  4. PCI-E-ATI RADEON HD 2600 XT 256MB GDDR3 1.4ns (800/800/1400 MHz)
  5. PCI-E-ATI RADEON HD 2600 XT 256MB GDDR3 1.0ns (830/830/1920 MHz)
  6. PCI-E-ATI RADEON HD 2600 XT 256MB GDDR4 0.9ns (800/800/2200 MHz)
  7. PCI-E-ATI RADEON HD 2900 PRO 512MB GDDR3 1.0ns (600/600/1600 MHz)
  8. PCI-E-ATI RADEON HD 3850 256MB GDDR3 1.0ns (670/670/1660 MHz)
  9. PCI-E-ATI RADEON HD 3850 512MB GDDR3 1.0ns (720/720/1800 MHz)
  10. PCI-E-ATI RADEON HD 3870 512MB GDDR4 0.8ns (775/775/2250 MHz)
  11. PCI-E-ATI RADEON HD 2900 XT 512MB GDDR3 1.0ns (743/743/1660 MHz)
  12. PCI-E-ATI RADEON HD 2900 XT CrossFire 2x512MB GDDR3 1.0ns (2x743/743/1660 MHz)
  13. PCI-E-ATI RADEON HD 2900 XT 1024MB GDDR3 0.8ns (743/743/2000 MHz)
  14. PCI-E-NVIDIA GeForce 8500 GT 256MB GDDR2 2.5ns (450/900/800 MHz)
  15. PCI-E-NVIDIA GeForce 8600 GT 256MB GDDR3 1.2ns (560/1120/1560 MHz)
  16. PCI-E-NVIDIA GeForce 8600 GTS 256MB GDDR3 1.0ns (720/1440/2200 MHz)
  17. PCI-E-NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GT 512MB GDDR3 1.0ns (600/1512/1800 MHz)
  18. PCI-E-NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GT 512MB GDDR3 1.0ns (700/1674/2000 MHz)
  19. PCI-E-NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GTS 320MB GDDR3 1.2ns (512/1188/1600 MHz)
  20. PCI-E-NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GTS 512MB GDDR3 1.0ns (650/1620/1940 MHz)
  21. PCI-E-NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GTS 640MB GDDR3 1.2ns (512/1188/1600 MHz)
  22. PCI-E-NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GTX 768MB GDDR3 1.1ns (575/1350/1800 MHz)
  23. PCI-E-NVIDIA GeForce 8800 Ultra 768MB GDDR3 0.8ns (612/1512/2160 MHz)
  24. PCI-E-NVIDIA GeForce 8800 Ultra 768MB GDDR3 0.8ns (655/1620/2250 MHz)

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

3. December 2007 News

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

  • 3.1. The following drivers were released from November 15, 2007 to December 15, 2007:



  • 3.2. This month we used 169.21/25 drivers for NVIDIA-based card summaries, 7.12 drivers for ATI-based card summaries.

4. Summary charts of graphics cards performance with the latest drivers

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 like textures, lighting, etc.) Besides, newbies should read separate reviews dedicated to new products. There are just two major GPU vendors: ATI (recently merged with AMD under its brand) and NVIDIA. Thus, all information is generally separated in two parts. We also publish monthly i3D-Speed articles (one of which you are reading now) that sum up all comparisons of graphics cards for various price ranges. In the February 2007 issue we analyzed dependence of modern graphics cards on processors without antialiasing and anisotropic filtering. Similar tests with AA and AF were conducted in March 2007.

Now let's see the charts and make conclusions.

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

Calculations are based on gaming benchmark results as well as the results from the new 3DMark06 tests (ATI CATALYST 7.12, NVIDIA ForceWare 169.21/25).


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 Extreme QX9650-based testbed.

"Usability" Rating:

GAMING ONLY usability rating

# Card Usability rating Prospect rating Approx. price
01. 8800 GT 512MB, 600/1512/1800
151
473
355
02. 8800 GT 512MB, 700/1674/2000
151
500
398
03. HD 2900 PRO 512MB, 600/600/1600
146
372
225
04. HD 3850 512MB, 720/720/1800
144
402
266
05. HD 3850 256MB, 670/670/1660
132
367
249
06. HD 3870 512MB, 775/775/2250
131
428
321
07. 8800 GTS 512MB, 650/1620/1940
121
508
500
08. 8600 GTS 256MB, 720/1440/2200
99
235
157
09. 8800 GTX 768MB, 575/1350/1800
98
520
630
10. HD 2600 XT 256MB, 800/800/1400
96
196
107
11. HD 2900 XT 512MB, 750/750/1660
94
421
438
12. HD 2600 XT 256MB, 800/800/2200
93
221
138
13. 8800 Ultra 768MB, 655/1660/2250
92
568
780
14. 8800 GTS 640MB, 512/1188/1600
90
431
480
15. HD 2900 XT 1024MB, 750/750/2000
90
450
510
16. HD 2600 PRO 256MB, 700/700/1400
87
185
98
17. 8800 Ultra 768MB, 612/1512/2160
86
548
782
18. 8600 GT 256MB, 560/1120/1560
84
192
113
19. HD 2600 PRO 256MB, 600/700/1000
84
172
81
20. 8800 GTS 320MB, 512/1188/1600
84
341
393
21. 8500 GT 256MB, 450/900/800
77
159
70
22. HD 2400 XT 256MB, 700/700/1600
71
148
66
23. HD 2900 XT CrossFire 2x512MB, 750/750/1660
64
495
876


GENERAL usability rating

# Card Usability rating Prospect rating Approx. price
01. HD 2900 PRO 512MB, 600/600/1600
756
871
225
02. HD 3850 512MB, 720/720/1800
730
933
266
03. 8800 GT 512MB, 600/1512/1800
728
1075
355
04. 8800 GT 512MB, 700/1674/2000
722
1136
398
05. HD 3850 256MB, 670/670/1660
675
858
249
06. HD 3870 512MB, 775/775/2250
657
985
321
07. 8800 GTS 512MB, 650/1620/1940
577
1148
500
08. HD 2600 XT 256MB, 800/800/1400
549
484
107
09. 8600 GTS 256MB, 720/1440/2200
544
573
157
10. HD 2600 XT 256MB, 800/800/2200
513
537
138
11. HD 2600 PRO 256MB, 700/700/1400
509
455
98
12. HD 2600 PRO 256MB, 600/700/1000
489
421
81
13. HD 2900 XT 512MB, 750/750/1660
479
976
438
14. 8600 GT 256MB, 560/1120/1560
472
468
113
15. 8800 GTX 768MB, 575/1350/1800
454
1154
630
16. HD 2900 XT 1024MB, 750/750/2000
445
1024
510
17. 8800 GTS 640MB, 512/1188/1600
436
972
480
18. 8800 GTS 320MB, 512/1188/1600
433
820
393
19. 8800 Ultra 768MB, 655/1660/2250
428
1265
780
20. 8500 GT 256MB, 450/900/800
418
371
70
21. 8800 Ultra 768MB, 612/1512/2160
402
1221
782
22. HD 2400 XT 256MB, 700/700/1600
397
349
66
23. HD 2900 XT CrossFire 2x512MB, 750/750/1660
325
1168
876

Prospect rating:

Gaming-only prospect rating

# Card Usability rating Prospect rating Approx. price
01. 8800 Ultra 768MB, 655/1660/2250
92
568
780
02. 8800 Ultra 768MB, 612/1512/2160
86
548
782
03. 8800 GTX 768MB, 575/1350/1800
98
520
630
04. 8800 GTS 512MB, 650/1620/1940
121
508
500
05. 8800 GT 512MB, 700/1674/2000
151
500
398
06. HD 2900 XT CrossFire 2x512MB, 750/750/1660
64
495
876
07. 8800 GT 512MB, 600/1512/1800
151
473
355
08. HD 2900 XT 1024MB, 750/750/2000
90
450
510
09. 8800 GTS 640MB, 512/1188/1600
90
431
480
10. HD 3870 512MB, 775/775/2250
131
428
321
11. HD 2900 XT 512MB, 750/750/1660
94
421
438
12. HD 3850 512MB, 720/720/1800
144
402
266
13. HD 2900 PRO 512MB, 600/600/1600
146
372
225
14. HD 3850 256MB, 670/670/1660
132
367
249
15. 8800 GTS 320MB, 512/1188/1600
84
341
393
16. 8600 GTS 256MB, 720/1440/2200
99
235
157
17. HD 2600 XT 256MB, 800/800/2200
93
221
138
18. HD 2600 XT 256MB, 800/800/1400
96
196
107
19. 8600 GT 256MB, 560/1120/1560
84
192
113
20. HD 2600 PRO 256MB, 700/700/1400
87
185
98
21. HD 2600 PRO 256MB, 600/700/1000
84
172
81
22. 8500 GT 256MB, 450/900/800
77
159
70
23. HD 2400 XT 256MB, 700/700/1600
71
148
66


General prospect rating

# Card Usability rating Prospect rating Approx. price
01. 8800 Ultra 768MB, 655/1660/2250
428
1265
780
02. 8800 Ultra 768MB, 612/1512/2160
402
1221
782
03. HD 2900 XT CrossFire 2x512MB, 750/750/1660
325
1168
876
04. 8800 GTX 768MB, 575/1350/1800
454
1154
630
05. 8800 GTS 512MB, 650/1620/1940
577
1148
500
06. 8800 GT 512MB, 700/1674/2000
722
1136
398
07. 8800 GT 512MB, 600/1512/1800
728
1075
355
08. HD 2900 XT 1024MB, 750/750/2000
445
1024
510
09. HD 3870 512MB, 775/775/2250
657
985
321
10. HD 2900 XT 512MB, 750/750/1660
479
976
438
11. 8800 GTS 640MB, 512/1188/1600
436
972
480
12. HD 3850 512MB, 720/720/1800
730
933
266
13. HD 2900 PRO 512MB, 600/600/1600
756
871
225
14. HD 3850 256MB, 670/670/1660
675
858
249
15. 8800 GTS 320MB, 512/1188/1600
433
820
393
16. 8600 GTS 256MB, 720/1440/2200
544
573
157
17. HD 2600 XT 256MB, 800/800/2200
513
537
138
18. HD 2600 XT 256MB, 800/800/1400
549
484
107
19. 8600 GT 256MB, 560/1120/1560
472
468
113
20. HD 2600 PRO 256MB, 700/700/1400
509
455
98
21. HD 2600 PRO 256MB, 600/700/1000
489
421
81
22. 8500 GT 256MB, 450/900/800
418
371
70
23. HD 2400 XT 256MB, 700/700/1600
397
349
66




We thank companies that provided us with graphics cards and other equipment:

TUL (PowerColor) Russia
Chaintech Russia
Zotac,
BFG Russia and Mikhail Proshletsov,

EVGA Russia and Victoria Nikolaeva,
Foxconn Russia and Alexander Troukhachev,
MSI Russia,
Gainward,

HIS and Vitaly Milov,
NVIDIA Russia,
AMD Russia,
Sapphire Technology Russia,
ASUStek Russia,



PSU kindly provided by HIPER




                               Dell 3007WFP monitor kindly provided by NVIDIA







Andrey Vorobiev (anvakams@ixbt.com)


06.01.2008



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