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i3DSpeed, April 2008

Added test results for RADEON HD 3870 X2 x2 Quad CrossFire.

May 9, 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 #6 (95)

April 2008

Added test results of RADEON HD 3870 X2 x2 Quad CrossFire.

Unfortunately, the promised benchmark update is postponed to the next, May issue. In May we are going to renew the testbed; another reason is the release of 3DMark Vantage. Thus, we decided to make all updates simultaneously along with replacing 3DMark05 with the new 3DMark suite and adding World In Conflict instead of one of DX9 CRYSIS benchmarks. The DX9 CoH and CoJ versions will also be replaced by the respective DX10 versions. Besides, some other updates are expected as well.

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 3850 256MB GDDR3 1.0ns (670/670/1660 MHz)
  8. PCI-E-ATI RADEON HD 3850 512MB GDDR3 1.0ns (720/720/1800 MHz)
  9. PCI-E-ATI RADEON HD 3870 512MB GDDR4 0.8ns (775/775/2250 MHz)
  10. PCI-E-ATI RADEON HD 3870 512MB GDDR4 0.8ns (850/850/2380 MHz)
  11. PCI-E-ATI RADEON HD 3870 X2 2x512MB GDDR3 1.0ns (825/825/1800 MHz)
  12. PCI-E-ATI RADEON HD 3870 X2 x2 Quad CrossFire 4x512MB 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. April 2008 news and matters

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

  • 3.1. Latest drivers by the end of the reporting period:

  • 3.2. This month we used 174.74 drivers for NVIDIA-based card summaries, 8.4 drivers for ATI-based card summaries.

4. Summary charts of graphics card performance with the latest drivers available at the moment of testing in April 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.

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. ATI RADEON X1300-1600-1800-1900 Reference
NVIDIA GeForce 7300-7600-7800-7900 Reference

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 are based on gaming benchmark results as well as the results from 3DMark06 new tests (ATI CATALYST 8.4, 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.

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
225
458
227
06. HD 3850 256MB, 670/670/1660
211
367
166
07. HD 3870 512MB, 775/775/2250
196
428
226
08. HD 3850 512MB, 720/720/1800
194
402
210
09. 9800 GTX 512MB, 675/1688/2200
152
551
450
10. HD 3870 X2 2x512MB, 825/825/1800
136
535
484
11. 8800 GTX 768MB, 575/1350/1800
134
543
495
12. HD 3650 256MB, 725/725/1600
130
209
95
13. 8600 GTS 256MB, 720/1440/2200
128
247
132
14. HD 2600 XT 256MB, 800/800/1400
127
194
86
15. HD 2600 PRO 256MB, 700/700/1400
121
184
75
16. HD 2600 XT 256MB, 800/800/2200
117
219
116
17. 9800 GX2 2x512MB, 600/1512/2000
117
601
757
18. 8600 GT 256MB, 560/1120/1560
114
200
90
19. HD 2600 PRO 256MB, 600/700/1000
110
171
65
20. 8500 GT 256MB, 450/900/800
108
167
54
21. HD 2400 XT 256MB, 700/700/1600
98
147
50
22. 8800 Ultra 768MB, 612/1512/2160
95
572
757
23. HD 3870 X2 CF 4x512, 825/825/1800
88
654
968

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
1089
1047
227
06. HD 3850 256MB, 670/670/1660
1066
860
166
07. HD 3870 512MB, 775/775/2250
976
989
226
08. HD 3850 512MB, 720/720/1800
971
938
210
09. HD 3650 256MB, 725/725/1600
714
513
95
10. HD 2600 XT 256MB, 800/800/1400
713
484
86
11. 9800 GTX 512MB, 675/1688/2200
706
1224
450
12. HD 2600 PRO 256MB, 700/700/1400
695
455
75
13. 8600 GTS 256MB, 720/1440/2200
691
597
132
14. HD 3870 X2 2x512MB, 825/825/1800
689
1260
484
15. HD 2600 XT 256MB, 800/800/2200
636
536
116
16. HD 2600 PRO 256MB, 600/700/1000
636
420
65
17. 8600 GT 256MB, 560/1120/1560
631
485
90
18. 8800 GTX 768MB, 575/1350/1800
613
1197
495
19. 8500 GT 256MB, 450/900/800
576
385
54
20. 9800 GX2 2x512MB, 600/1512/2000
548
1382
757
21. HD 2400 XT 256MB, 700/700/1600
545
348
50
22. 8800 Ultra 768MB, 612/1512/2160
438
1260
757
23. HD 3870 X2 CF 4x512, 825/825/1800
431
1505
968

Prospect rating

Gaming-only prospect rating

# Card Usability rating Prospect rating Approx. price
01. HD 3870 X2 CF 4x512, 825/825/1800
88
654
968
02. 9800 GX2 2x512MB, 600/1512/2000
117
601
757
03. 8800 Ultra 768MB, 612/1512/2160
95
572
757
04. 9800 GTX 512MB, 675/1688/2200
152
551
450
05. 8800 GTX 768MB, 575/1350/1800
134
543
495
06. 8800 GTS 512MB, 650/1620/1940
236
536
279
07. HD 3870 X2 2x512MB, 825/825/1800
136
535
484
08. 8800 GT 512MB, 600/1512/1800
287
500
205
09. 9600 GT 512MB, 650/1625/1800
281
466
180
10. HD 3870 512MB, 850/850/2380
225
458
227
11. HD 3870 512MB, 775/775/2250
196
428
226
12. 8800 GS 384MB, 680/1674/1600
240
420
193
13. HD 3850 512MB, 720/720/1800
194
402
210
14. HD 3850 256MB, 670/670/1660
211
367
166
15. 8600 GTS 256MB, 720/1440/2200
128
247
132
16. HD 2600 XT 256MB, 800/800/2200
117
219
116
17. HD 3650 256MB, 725/725/1600
130
209
95
18. 8600 GT 256MB, 560/1120/1560
114
200
90
19. HD 2600 XT 256MB, 800/800/1400
127
194
86
20. HD 2600 PRO 256MB, 700/700/1400
121
184
75
21. HD 2600 PRO 256MB, 600/700/1000
110
171
65
22. 8500 GT 256MB, 450/900/800
108
167
54
23. HD 2400 XT 256MB, 700/700/1600
98
147
50

General prospect rating

# Card Usability rating Prospect rating Approx. price
01. HD 3870 X2 CF 4x512, 825/825/1800
431
1505
968
02. 9800 GX2 2x512MB, 600/1512/2000
548
1382
757
03. HD 3870 X2 2x512MB, 825/825/1800
689
1260
484
04. 8800 Ultra 768MB, 612/1512/2160
438
1260
757
05. 9800 GTX 512MB, 675/1688/2200
706
1224
450
06. 8800 GTX 768MB, 575/1350/1800
613
1197
495
07. 8800 GTS 512MB, 650/1620/1940
1097
1194
279
08. 8800 GT 512MB, 600/1512/1800
1351
1123
205
09. HD 3870 512MB, 850/850/2380
1089
1047
227
10. 9600 GT 512MB, 650/1625/1800
1330
1041
180
11. HD 3870 512MB, 775/775/2250
976
989
226
12. 8800 GS 384MB, 680/1674/1600
1151
964
193
13. HD 3850 512MB, 720/720/1800
971
938
210
14. HD 3850 256MB, 670/670/1660
1066
860
166
15. 8600 GTS 256MB, 720/1440/2200
691
597
132
16. HD 2600 XT 256MB, 800/800/2200
636
536
116
17. HD 3650 256MB, 725/725/1600
714
513
95
18. 8600 GT 256MB, 560/1120/1560
631
485
90
19. HD 2600 XT 256MB, 800/800/1400
713
484
86
20. HD 2600 PRO 256MB, 700/700/1400
695
455
75
21. HD 2600 PRO 256MB, 600/700/1000
636
420
65
22. 8500 GT 256MB, 450/900/800
576
385
54
23. HD 2400 XT 256MB, 700/700/1600
545
348
50



We thank companies that provided us with graphics cards and other equipment:
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)
May 9, 2008

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