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i3DSpeed, January 2008

Added test results for ATI RADEON HD 3870 X2 2x512MB graphics card.

February 11, 2008



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 #3 (92) is dedicated to drivers released from December 15, 2007 to January 15, 2008.

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.

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) CPU;
  • Gigabyte GA-X38-DQ6 motherboard on Intel X38 chipset;
  • 2 GB DDR2 SDRAM Corsair 1066MHz (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.

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.

In the brackets: ROP/TMU clock rate / shader unit clock rate / 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 3870 X2 2x512MB GDDR3 1.0ns (825/825/1800 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)

Graphics card archive

3. January 2008 news

Added new graphics cards (marked "NEW").

  • 3.1. The following drivers were released from December 15, 2007 to January 15, 2008:


  • 3.2. This month we used 169.28 drivers for NVIDIA-based card summaries; 8.1 drivers for ATI-based card summaries.

4. Charts of graphics card 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 i3DSpeed 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.

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

5. Rating 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 8.1, NVIDIA ForceWare 169.28.

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.

Usability Rating:

Gaming-only usability rating

# Card Usability rating Prospect rating Approx. price
01. 8800 GT 512MB, 700/1674/2000
158
499
378
02. 8800 GT 512MB, 600/1512/1800
154
474
350
03. HD 2900 PRO 512MB, 600/600/1600
146
373
225
04. HD 3850 256MB, 670/670/1660
138
367
239
05. HD 3870 512MB, 775/775/2250
136
429
309
06. 8800 GTS 512MB, 650/1620/1940
133
507
456
07. HD 3850 512MB, 720/720/1800
128
402
300
08. 8800 GTX 768MB, 575/1350/1800
104
519
591
09. HD 3870 X2 2x512MB, 825/825/1800
104
535
600
10. HD 2600 XT 256MB, 800/800/1400
100
196
103
11. 8600 GTS 256MB, 720/1440/2200
98
236
159
12. 8800 Ultra 768MB, 655/1660/2250
96
569
750
13. HD 2900 XT 512MB, 750/750/1660
95
422
438
14. HD 2600 XT 256MB, 800/800/2200
93
220
138
15. 8800 Ultra 768MB, 612/1512/2160
92
547
733
16. HD 2900 XT 1024MB, 750/750/2000
91
452
510
17. 8800 GTS 640MB, 512/1188/1600
90
430
480
18. HD 2600 PRO 256MB, 700/700/1400
90
185
95
19. HD 2600 PRO 256MB, 600/700/1000
89
172
76
20. 8600 GT 256MB, 560/1120/1560
87
192
109
21. 8800 GTS 320MB, 512/1188/1600
84
340
393
22. 8500 GT 256MB, 450/900/800
75
159
72
23. HD 2400 XT 256MB, 700/700/1600
70
148
66

General usability rating

# Card Usability rating Prospect rating Approx. price
01. 8800 GT 512MB, 700/1674/2000
758
1135
378
02. HD 2900 PRO 512MB, 600/600/1600
757
873
225
03. 8800 GT 512MB, 600/1512/1800
740
1075
350
04. HD 3850 256MB, 670/670/1660
705
856
239
05. HD 3870 512MB, 775/775/2250
683
985
309
06. HD 3850 512MB, 720/720/1800
649
933
300
07. 8800 GTS 512MB, 650/1620/1940
633
1145
456
08. HD 2600 XT 256MB, 800/800/1400
570
485
103
09. 8600 GTS 256MB, 720/1440/2200
538
575
159
10. HD 3870 X2 2x512MB, 825/825/1800
531
1255
600
11. HD 2600 PRO 256MB, 700/700/1400
526
456
95
12. HD 2600 PRO 256MB, 600/700/1000
521
422
76
13. HD 2600 XT 256MB, 800/800/2200
512
536
138
14. 8600 GT 256MB, 560/1120/1560
489
467
109
15. 8800 GTX 768MB, 575/1350/1800
482
1153
591
16. HD 2900 XT 512MB, 750/750/1660
480
978
438
17. HD 2900 XT 1024MB, 750/750/2000
447
1029
510
18. 8800 Ultra 768MB, 655/1660/2250
445
1266
750
19. 8800 GTS 640MB, 512/1188/1600
437
973
480
20. 8800 GTS 320MB, 512/1188/1600
433
819
393
21. 8800 Ultra 768MB, 612/1512/2160
429
1219
733
22. 8500 GT 256MB, 450/900/800
406
371
72
23. HD 2400 XT 256MB, 700/700/1600
396
349
66

Prospect Rating

Gaming-only prospect rating

# Card Usability rating Prospect rating Approx. price
01. 8800 Ultra 768MB, 655/1660/2250
96
569
750
02. 8800 Ultra 768MB, 612/1512/2160
92
547
733
03. HD 3870 X2 2x512MB, 825/825/1800
104
535
600
04. 8800 GTX 768MB, 575/1350/1800
104
519
591
05. 8800 GTS 512MB, 650/1620/1940
133
507
456
06. 8800 GT 512MB, 700/1674/2000
158
499
378
07. 8800 GT 512MB, 600/1512/1800
154
474
350
08. HD 2900 XT 1024MB, 750/750/2000
91
452
510
09. 8800 GTS 640MB, 512/1188/1600
90
430
480
10. HD 3870 512MB, 775/775/2250
136
429
309
11. HD 2900 XT 512MB, 750/750/1660
95
422
438
12. HD 3850 512MB, 720/720/1800
128
402
300
13. HD 2900 PRO 512MB, 600/600/1600
146
373
225
14. HD 3850 256MB, 670/670/1660
138
367
239
15. 8800 GTS 320MB, 512/1188/1600
84
340
393
16. 8600 GTS 256MB, 720/1440/2200
98
236
159
17. HD 2600 XT 256MB, 800/800/2200
93
220
138
18. HD 2600 XT 256MB, 800/800/1400
100
196
103
19. 8600 GT 256MB, 560/1120/1560
87
192
109
20. HD 2600 PRO 256MB, 700/700/1400
90
185
95
21. HD 2600 PRO 256MB, 600/700/1000
89
172
76
22. 8500 GT 256MB, 450/900/800
75
159
72
23. HD 2400 XT 256MB, 700/700/1600
70
148
66

General prospect rating

# Card Usability rating Prospect rating Approx. price
01. 8800 Ultra 768MB, 655/1660/2250
445
1266
750
02. HD 3870 X2 2x512MB, 825/825/1800
531
1255
600
03. 8800 Ultra 768MB, 612/1512/2160
429
1219
733
04. 8800 GTX 768MB, 575/1350/1800
482
1153
591
05. 8800 GTS 512MB, 650/1620/1940
633
1145
456
06. 8800 GT 512MB, 700/1674/2000
758
1135
378
07. 8800 GT 512MB, 600/1512/1800
740
1075
350
08. HD 2900 XT 1024MB, 750/750/2000
447
1029
510
09. HD 3870 512MB, 775/775/2250
683
985
309
10. HD 2900 XT 512MB, 750/750/1660
480
978
438
11. 8800 GTS 640MB, 512/1188/1600
437
973
480
12. HD 3850 512MB, 720/720/1800
649
933
300
13. HD 2900 PRO 512MB, 600/600/1600
757
873
225
14. HD 3850 256MB, 670/670/1660
705
856
239
15. 8800 GTS 320MB, 512/1188/1600
433
819
393
16. 8600 GTS 256MB, 720/1440/2200
538
575
159
17. HD 2600 XT 256MB, 800/800/2200
512
536
138
18. HD 2600 XT 256MB, 800/800/1400
570
485
103
19. 8600 GT 256MB, 560/1120/1560
489
467
109
20. HD 2600 PRO 256MB, 700/700/1400
526
456
95
21. HD 2600 PRO 256MB, 600/700/1000
521
422
76
22. 8500 GT 256MB, 450/900/800
406
371
72
23. HD 2400 XT 256MB, 700/700/1600
396
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 TAGAN,
Dell 3007WFP monitor kindly provided by NVIDIA.


Andrey Vorobiev (anvakams@ixbt.com)
February 11, 2008

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