Diamond Viper Radeon HD 2900 XT 1GB
Our Test Systems and 3DMark06
HOW WE CONFIGURED THE TEST SYSTEMS: We tested all of the graphics cards used in this article on either an EVGA nForce 680i SLI motherboard (NVIDIA GPUs) or an Intel D975XBX2 board (ATI GPUs) powered by a Core 2 Extreme X6800 dual-core processor and 2GB of low-latency Corsair RAM. The first thing we did when configuring the test system was enter the BIOS and set all values to their "optimized" default settings. Then we manually configured the memory timings and disabled any integrated peripherals that wouldn't be put to use. The hard drive was then formatted, and Windows XP Pro with SP2 and the April '07 DX9 update was installed. When the installation was complete, we then installed the latest chipset drivers available, installed all of the other drivers necessary for the rest of our components, and removed Windows Messenger from the system. Auto-Updating and System Restore were also disabled, the hard drive was defragmented, and a 1024MB permanent page file was created on the same partition as the Windows installation. Lastly, we set Windows XP's Visual Effects to "best performance," installed all of the benchmarking software, and ran the tests.
Video Cards -
Hard Drive -
Chipset Drivers -
Video Drivers -
Synthetic (DX) -
|Relevant Software: |
Windows XP Pro SP2
nForce Drivers v9.53
DirectX 9.0c (April '07 Redist.)
NVIDIA Forceware v158.19
ATI Catalyst v7.9
Half Life 2: Episode 1*
* - Custom Test (HH Exclusive demo)
3DMark06 is the most recent addition to the 3DMark franchise. This version differs from 3Dmark05 in a number of ways, and includes not only Shader Model 2.0 tests, but Shader Model 3.0 and HDR tests as well. Some of the assets from 3DMark05 have been re-used, but the scenes are now rendered with much more geometric detail and the shader complexity is vastly increased as well. Max shader length in 3DMark05 was 96 instructions, while 3DMark06 ups that number to 512. 3DMark06 also employs much more lighting and there is extensive use of soft shadows. With 3DMark06, Futuremark has also updated how the final score is tabulated. In this latest version of the benchmark, SM 2.0 and HDR / SM3.0 tests are weighted and the CPU score is factored into the final tally as well.
Despite having much faster memory and double the frame buffer, the Viper Radeon HD 2900 XT 1GB just missed the mark set by the 512MB Radeon HD 2900 XT in 3DMark06's overall score. The reason behind the discrepancy is revealed as we dig a little deeper into the result.
As you can see the Viper Radeon HD 2900 XT 1GB came in just behind the 512MB card in the Shader Model 2.0 test and by slightly ahead of it in the more taxing Shader Model 3.0 and HDR test, but due to the way scores are weighted in 3DMark06 the overall result shows a win for the 512MB card.