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i3DSpeed, March 2008

Added test results for GeForce 9800 GTX, GeForce 9800 GX2

April 14, 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 #5 (94)

March 2008

Added test results for GeForce 9800 GTX, GeForce 9800 GX2.

We remind you that the benchmark list will be updated in the next issue of i3DSpeed. Some readers were not pleased with lots of CRYSIS-based benchmarks, but we still believe, and comprehensive studies confirm, that this game is an ideal suite for measuring potential of graphics cards. It also features all 3D graphics innovations, so we conduct tests in both DX9 and DX10 modes on two different levels. According to our experience, graphics cards behave 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 512MB GDDR3 1.0ns (650/1620/1940 MHz)
  20. PCI-E-NVIDIA GeForce 9800 GTX 512MB GDDR3 0.8ns (675/1688/2200 MHz)
  21. PCI-E-NVIDIA GeForce 9800 GX2 2x512MB GDDR3 1.0ns (600/1512/2000 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

3. March 2008 news and current matters

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

4. Summary graphics card performance charts for the latest drivers available at the moment of testing in March 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, you may want to 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 and 8800 series

Secondly, in our 3D graphics section you can read about the basics of 3D. Besides, you may want to read 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 take a look at the chart and make conclusions. (Due to technical issues, 9800 GX2 memory clock rate is incorrectly specified as "1800 MHz." It should read "2000 MHz.")

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 8.3, NVIDIA ForceWare 174.74.


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
287
500
205
02. 9600 GT 512MB, 650/1625/1800
281
466
180
03. 8800 GS 384MB, 680/1674/1600
240
420
193
04. 8800 GTS 512MB, 650/1620/1940
236
536
279
05. HD 3870 512MB, 850/850/2380
211
447
227
06. HD 2900 PRO 512MB, 600/600/1600
200
365
164
07. HD 3850 256MB, 670/670/1660
198
359
166
08. HD 3870 512MB, 775/775/2250
184
418
226
09. HD 3850 512MB, 720/720/1800
181
392
210
10. 9800 GTX 512MB, 675/1688/2200
152
551
450
11. 8800 GTX 768MB, 575/1350/1800
134
543
495
12. 8600 GTS 256MB, 720/1440/2200
128
247
132
13. HD 3870 X2 2x512MB, 825/825/1800
128
522
484
14. HD 3650 256MB, 725/725/1600
122
205
95.4
15. HD 2600 XT 256MB, 800/800/1400
119
191
86
16. 9800 GX2 2x512MB, 600/1512/1800
117
601
757
17. 8600 GT 256MB, 560/1120/1560
114
200
90
18. HD 2600 PRO 256MB, 700/700/1400
114
180
75
19. HD 2600 XT 256MB, 800/800/2200
110
214
116
20. 8500 GT 256MB, 450/900/800
108
167
54
21. HD 2600 PRO 256MB, 600/700/1000
104
168
65
22. 8800 Ultra 768MB, 612/1512/2160
95
572
757
23. HD 2400 XT 256MB, 700/700/1600
92
144
50


General usability rating

# Card Usability rating Prospect rating Approx. price
01. 8800 GT 512MB, 600/1512/1800
1351
1123
205
02. 9600 GT 512MB, 650/1625/1800
1330
1041
180
03. 8800 GS 384MB, 680/1674/1600
1151
964
193
04. 8800 GTS 512MB, 650/1620/1940
1097
1194
279
05. HD 3870 512MB, 850/850/2380
1039
1027
227
06. HD 2900 PRO 512MB, 600/600/1600
1038
861
164
07. HD 3850 256MB, 670/670/1660
1018
845
166
08. HD 3870 512MB, 775/775/2250
932
970
226
09. HD 3850 512MB, 720/720/1800
927
920
210
10. 9800 GTX 512MB, 675/1688/2200
706
1224
450
11. 8600 GTS 256MB, 720/1440/2200
691
597
132
12. HD 2600 XT 256MB, 800/800/1400
682
477
86
13. HD 3650 256MB, 725/725/1600
680
505
95.4
14. HD 2600 PRO 256MB, 700/700/1400
666
449
75
15. HD 3870 X2 2x512MB, 825/825/1800
658
1237
484
16. 8600 GT 256MB, 560/1120/1560
631
485
90
17. 8800 GTX 768MB, 575/1350/1800
613
1197
495
18. HD 2600 PRO 256MB, 600/700/1000
609
415
65
19. HD 2600 XT 256MB, 800/800/2200
607
527
116
20. 8500 GT 256MB, 450/900/800
576
385
54
21. 9800 GX2 2x512MB, 600/1512/1800
548
1382
757
22. HD 2400 XT 256MB, 700/700/1600
522
344
50
23. 8800 Ultra 768MB, 612/1512/2160
438
1260
757

Prospect rating

Gaming-only prospect rating

# Card Usability rating Prospect rating Approx. price
01. 9800 GX2 2x512MB, 600/1512/1800 117 601 757
02. 8800 Ultra 768MB, 612/1512/2160 95 572 757
03. 9800 GTX 512MB, 675/1688/2200 152 551 450
04. 8800 GTX 768MB, 575/1350/1800 134 543 495
05. 8800 GTS 512MB, 650/1620/1940 236 536 279
06. HD 3870 X2 2x512MB, 825/825/1800 128 522 484
07. 8800 GT 512MB, 600/1512/1800 287 500 205
08. 9600 GT 512MB, 650/1625/1800 281 466 180
09. HD 3870 512MB, 850/850/2380 211 447 227
10. 8800 GS 384MB, 680/1674/1600 240 420 193
11. HD 3870 512MB, 775/775/2250 184 418 226
12. HD 3850 512MB, 720/720/1800 181 392 210
13. HD 2900 PRO 512MB, 600/600/1600 200 365 164
14. HD 3850 256MB, 670/670/1660 198 359 166
15. 8600 GTS 256MB, 720/1440/2200 128 247 132
16. HD 2600 XT 256MB, 800/800/2200 110 214 116
17. HD 3650 256MB, 725/725/1600 122 205 95.4
18. 8600 GT 256MB, 560/1120/1560 114 200 90
19. HD 2600 XT 256MB, 800/800/1400 119 191 86
20. HD 2600 PRO 256MB, 700/700/1400 114 180 75
21. HD 2600 PRO 256MB, 600/700/1000 104 168 65
22. 8500 GT 256MB, 450/900/800 108 167 54
23. HD 2400 XT 256MB, 700/700/1600 92 144 50


General prospect rating

# Card Usability rating Prospect rating Approx. price
01. 9800 GX2 2x512MB, 600/1512/1800
548
1382
757
02. 8800 Ultra 768MB, 612/1512/2160
438
1260
757
03. HD 3870 X2 2x512MB, 825/825/1800
658
1237
484
04. 9800 GTX 512MB, 675/1688/2200
706
1224
450
05. 8800 GTX 768MB, 575/1350/1800
613
1197
495
06. 8800 GTS 512MB, 650/1620/1940
1097
1194
279
07. 8800 GT 512MB, 600/1512/1800
1351
1123
205
08. 9600 GT 512MB, 650/1625/1800
1330
1041
180
09. HD 3870 512MB, 850/850/2380
1039
1027
227
10. HD 3870 512MB, 775/775/2250
932
970
226
11. 8800 GS 384MB, 680/1674/1600
1151
964
193
12. HD 3850 512MB, 720/720/1800
927
920
210
13. HD 2900 PRO 512MB, 600/600/1600
1038
861
164
14. HD 3850 256MB, 670/670/1660
1018
845
166
15. 8600 GTS 256MB, 720/1440/2200
691
597
132
16. HD 2600 XT 256MB, 800/800/2200
607
527
116
17. HD 3650 256MB, 725/725/1600
680
505
95.4
18. 8600 GT 256MB, 560/1120/1560
631
485
90
19. HD 2600 XT 256MB, 800/800/1400
682
477
86
20. HD 2600 PRO 256MB, 700/700/1400
666
449
75
21. HD 2600 PRO 256MB, 600/700/1000
609
415
65
22. 8500 GT 256MB, 450/900/800
576
385
54
23. HD 2400 XT 256MB, 700/700/1600
522
344
50


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)
April 14, 2008

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