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i3DSpeed, February 2008

February 12, 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.

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 #4 (93)

February 2008

Added test results for RADEON HD 3650, GeForce 8800 GS, GeForce 9600 GT.

In April our list of benchmarks will be updated. Some readers do not like the amount of CRYSIS-based tests, but we believe this game, featuring all current 3D graphics innovations, is an ideal suite for estimating graphics card potential. For this reason we use two CRYSIS levels for benchmarking with DX9 and DX10. According to our experiments, graphics cards perform differently in different scenes.

As more interesting gaming benchmarks arrive, we will be reducing the amount of CRYSIS-based benchmarks (and will gradually stop using the 3Dmark05).

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: Dell 3007WFP (30").

Benchmarks



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 GDDR4 0.9ns (800/800/2200 MHz)
  6. PCI-E-ATI RADEON HD 3650 256MB GDDR3 1.1ns (725/725/1600 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 3870 512MB GDDR4 0.8ns (850/850/2380 MHz)
  12. PCI-E-ATI RADEON HD 3870 X2 2x512MB GDDR3 1.0ns (825/825/1800 MHz)
  13. PCI-E-NVIDIA GeForce 8500 GT 256MB GDDR2 2.5ns (450/900/800 MHz)
  14. PCI-E-NVIDIA GeForce 8600 GT 256MB GDDR3 1.2ns (560/1120/1560 MHz)
  15. PCI-E-NVIDIA GeForce 8600 GTS 256MB GDDR3 1.0ns (720/1440/2200 MHz)
  16. PCI-E-NVIDIA GeForce 9600 GT 512MB GDDR3 1.0ns (650/1625/1800 MHz)
  17. PCI-E-NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GS 384MB GDDR3 1.0ns (680/1674/1600 MHz)
  18. PCI-E-NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GT 512MB GDDR3 1.0ns (600/1512/1800 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)

Archive (graphics cards, information on which is no longer updated)

3. February 2008 news

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

4. Summary charts of graphics cards performance with the latest drivers available in February 2008.

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.

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 8.2, NVIDIA ForceWare 169.28/174.12).


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. 9600 GT 512MB, 650/1625/1800
203
445
230
02. 8800 GT 512MB, 600/1512/1800
167
478
325
03. 8800 GS 384MB, 680/1674/1600
164
401
261
04. HD 2900 PRO 512MB, 600/600/1600
153
358
209
05. 8800 GTS 512MB, 650/1620/1940
138
507
441
06. HD 3870 512MB, 850/850/2380
135
439
345
07. HD 3850 512MB, 720/720/1800
135
386
276
08. HD 3850 256MB, 670/670/1660
134
352
240
09. HD 3870 512MB, 775/775/2250
120
411
340
10. 8800 GTX 768MB, 575/1350/1800
113
519
542
11. 8800 GTS 640MB, 512/1188/1600
111
430
391
12. 8600 GTS 256MB, 720/1440/2200
104
236
150
13. HD 2600 XT 256MB, 800/800/1400
100
188
100
14. 8800 Ultra 768MB, 612/1512/2160
99
547
680
15. HD 3870 X2 2x512MB, 825/825/1800
98
513
618
16. 8800 GTS 320MB, 512/1188/1600
95
340
346
17. HD 3650 256MB, 725/725/1600
92
202
124
18. HD 2600 PRO 256MB, 700/700/1400
90
178
93
19. HD 2600 XT 256MB, 800/800/2200
89
212
140
20. HD 2600 PRO 256MB, 600/700/1000
87
165
76
21. 8600 GT 256MB, 560/1120/1560
83
192
114
22. 8500 GT 256MB, 450/900/800
78
159
69
23. HD 2400 XT 256MB, 700/700/1600
68
142
66


General usability rating

# Card Usability rating Prospect rating Approx. price
01. 9600 GT 512MB, 650/1625/1800
977
1002
230
02. 8800 GT 512MB, 600/1512/1800
800
1081
325
03. HD 2900 PRO 512MB, 600/600/1600
799
849
209
04. 8800 GS 384MB, 680/1674/1600
799
928
261
05. HD 3850 512MB, 720/720/1800
691
907
276
06. HD 3850 256MB, 670/670/1660
689
833
240
07. HD 3870 512MB, 850/850/2380
671
1013
345
08. 8800 GTS 512MB, 650/1620/1940
654
1145
441
09. HD 3870 512MB, 775/775/2250
608
957
340
10. HD 2600 XT 256MB, 800/800/1400
576
471
100
11. 8600 GTS 256MB, 720/1440/2200
571
575
150
12. 8800 GTS 640MB, 512/1188/1600
536
973
391
13. HD 2600 PRO 256MB, 700/700/1400
527
443
93
14. 8800 GTX 768MB, 575/1350/1800
526
1153
542
15. HD 3650 256MB, 725/725/1600
513
500
124
16. HD 2600 PRO 256MB, 600/700/1000
512
410
76
17. HD 3870 X2 2x512MB, 825/825/1800
506
1220
618
18. HD 2600 XT 256MB, 800/800/2200
495
522
140
19. 8800 GTS 320MB, 512/1188/1600
492
819
346
20. 8600 GT 256MB, 560/1120/1560
467
467
114
21. 8800 Ultra 768MB, 612/1512/2160
463
1219
680
22. 8500 GT 256MB, 450/900/800
424
371
69
23. HD 2400 XT 256MB, 700/700/1600
388
339
66

Prospect rating:



Gaming-only prospect rating

# Card Usability rating Prospect rating Approx. price
01. 8800 Ultra 768MB, 612/1512/2160 99 547 680
02. 8800 GTX 768MB, 575/1350/1800 113 519 542
03. HD 3870 X2 2x512MB, 825/825/1800 98 513 618
04. 8800 GTS 512MB, 650/1620/1940 138 507 441
05. 8800 GT 512MB, 600/1512/1800 167 478 325
06. 9600 GT 512MB, 650/1625/1800 203 445 230
07. HD 3870 512MB, 850/850/2380 135 439 345
08. 8800 GTS 640MB, 512/1188/1600 111 430 391
09. HD 3870 512MB, 775/775/2250 120 411 340
10. 8800 GS 384MB, 680/1674/1600 164 401 261
11. HD 3850 512MB, 720/720/1800 135 386 276
12. HD 2900 PRO 512MB, 600/600/1600 153 358 209
13. HD 3850 256MB, 670/670/1660 134 352 240
14. 8800 GTS 320MB, 512/1188/1600 95 340 346
15. 8600 GTS 256MB, 720/1440/2200 104 236 150
16. HD 2600 XT 256MB, 800/800/2200 89 212 140
17. HD 3650 256MB, 725/725/1600 92 202 124
18. 8600 GT 256MB, 560/1120/1560 83 192 114
19. HD 2600 XT 256MB, 800/800/1400 100 188 100
20. HD 2600 PRO 256MB, 700/700/1400 90 178 93
21. HD 2600 PRO 256MB, 600/700/1000 87 165 76
22. 8500 GT 256MB, 450/900/800 78 159 69
23. HD 2400 XT 256MB, 700/700/1600 68 142 66


GENERAL prospect rating

# Card Usability rating Prospect rating Approx. price
01. HD 3870 X2 2x512MB, 825/825/1800
506
1220
618
02. 8800 Ultra 768MB, 612/1512/2160
463
1219
680
03. 8800 GTX 768MB, 575/1350/1800
526
1153
542
04. 8800 GTS 512MB, 650/1620/1940
654
1145
441
05. 8800 GT 512MB, 600/1512/1800
800
1081
325
06. HD 3870 512MB, 850/850/2380
671
1013
345
07. 9600 GT 512MB, 650/1625/1800
977
1002
230
08. 8800 GTS 640MB, 512/1188/1600
536
973
391
09. HD 3870 512MB, 775/775/2250
608
957
340
10. 8800 GS 384MB, 680/1674/1600
799
928
261
11. HD 3850 512MB, 720/720/1800
691
907
276
12. HD 2900 PRO 512MB, 600/600/1600
799
849
209
13. HD 3850 256MB, 670/670/1660
689
833
240
14. 8800 GTS 320MB, 512/1188/1600
492
819
346
15. 8600 GTS 256MB, 720/1440/2200
571
575
150
16. HD 2600 XT 256MB, 800/800/2200
495
522
140
17. HD 3650 256MB, 725/725/1600
513
500
124
18. HD 2600 XT 256MB, 800/800/1400
576
471
100
19. 8600 GT 256MB, 560/1120/1560
467
467
114
20. HD 2600 PRO 256MB, 700/700/1400
527
443
93
21. HD 2600 PRO 256MB, 600/700/1000
512
410
76
22. 8500 GT 256MB, 450/900/800
424
371
69
23. HD 2400 XT 256MB, 700/700/1600
388
339
66


We express gratitude to the following companies:
TUL (PowerColor),
Chaintech,
Zotac,
BFG and Mikhail Proshletsov,
EVGA and Victoria Nikolaeva,
Foxconn and Alexander Troukhachev,
MSI,
Gainward,
HIS and Vitaly Milov,
NVIDIA,
AMD,
Sapphire Technology,
ASUStek.


PSU provided by TAGAN

Monitor provided by NVIDIA


Andrey Vorobiev (anvakams@ixbt.com)


February 12, 2008

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