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Our Test System & 3DMark05

HOW WE CONFIGURED THE TEST SYSTEM: We tested the CrossFire Edition Radeon X850XTs on an ATI reference Radeon Xpress 200 CrossFire Edition chipset based motherboard, powered by an AMD Athlon 64 FX-55 processor and 1GB of low-latency Corsair XMS RAM. The first thing we did when configuring this test system was enter the BIOS and enable multi-GPU support. The hard drive was then formatted, and Windows XP Professional with SP2 was installed. When the installation was complete, we installed the Radeon Xpress chipset drivers, installed all of the other necessary drivers for the rest of our components, and removed Windows Messenger from the system. Auto-Updating and System Restore were then disabled, the hard drive was defragmented, and a 768MB 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.

Note: We tired to use a mis-matched pair of Radeons for testing as well, but the drivers supplied to us by ATI would not recognize any other cards.  Catalyst AI was enabled for all tests.

The HotHardware Test Systems
AMD Athlon 64 FX Powered

Processor -

Motherboard -





Video Cards -




Memory -


Audio -

Hard Driv
e -

 

Hardware Used:
AMD Athlon 64 FX-55 (2.6GHz)

Gigabyte GA-K8NXP-SLI
nForce4 SLI chipset

ATI Reference CrossFire MB
ATI Radeon Xpress 200 CF Edition

ATI Radeon X850XT (x2)

ATI Radeon X800 XL (512MB)
GeForce 7800 GTX (x2)
GeForce 6800 Ultra (x2)

1024MB Corsair XMS PC3200 RAM
CAS 2

Integrated on board (ALC850)

Western Digital "Raptor"

36GB - 10,000RPM - SATA

Operating System -
Chipset Drivers -
DirectX -

Video Drivers
-




Synthetic (DX) -
DirectX -
DirectX -

DirectX -
OpenGL -
OpenGL -
Relevant Software:
Windows XP Professional SP2 (Patched)
nForce Drivers v7.13
DirectX 9.0c

NVIDIA Forceware v77.77

ATI Catalyst v5.9


Benchmarks Used:
3DMark05 v1.2.0
Halo v1.06
Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory v1.04
FarCry v1.33*
Doom 3 v1.3*
Chronicles of Riddick v1.1*

* - Custom Test (HH Exclusive demo)
Performance Comparisons with 3DMark05 v1.2.0
Details: http://www.futuremark.com/products/3dmark05/

3DMark05
3DMark05 is the latest installment in a long line of synthetic 3D graphics benchmarks, dating back to late 1998. 3DMark2005 is a synthetic benchmark that requires a DirectX 9.0 compliant video card, with support for Pixel Shaders 2.0 or higher, to render all of the various modules that comprise the suite. To generate its final "score", 3DMark05 runs three different simulated game tests and uses each test's framerate in the final tabulation. Fillrate, Memory bandwidth, and compute performance especially all have a measurable impact on performance in this benchmark. We ran 3DMark05's default test (1,024 x 768) on all of the cards and configurations we tested, and have the overall results posted for you below.

Running a pair of Radeon X850 XT cards in CrossFire mode had a significant impact on performance in the default 3DMark05 test. The CrossFire rig's overall 3DMark05 score jumped by 4502 points, an increase of over 74%. And as you can see, the CrossFire powered system was able to overtake a pair of GeForce 6800 Ultra cards running in SLI mode.  The GeForce 7800 GTX SLI configuration was a bit too much to handle, however.


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