ATI Radeon X1800 GTO

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Test System and 3DMark06

HOW WE CONFIGURED THE TEST SYSTEMS: We tested our NVIDIA cards on an Asus A8N32-SLI Deluxe nForce 4 SLIX16 chipset based motherboard. However, the ATI cards were tested on an Asus A8R32-MVP Deluxe motherboard based on the CrossFire Xpress 3200 chipset. Both systems used the same AMD Athlon 64 FX-55 processor and 1GB of low-latency Corsair XMS RAM. The first thing we did when configuring these test systems was enter each BIOS and loaded the "High Performance Defaults."  The hard drive was then formatted, and Windows XP Professional with SP2 was installed. When the installation was complete, we installed the latest chipset drivers available, 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 also 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.

Important** - For our testing purposes, we chose to test the $249 Radeon X1800 GTO against its main competition. As of today, that competition consists of the $179 - $229 NVIDIA GeForce 7600 GT and the $299 NVIDIA GeForce 7900 GT. Ideally, we would have included a ~$349 Radeon X1800 XL with its 16 pipelines to balance things out. However, we received word of this product launch less than a week ago and did not have enough time or resources to complete testing with that card, on top of imminent NVIDIA launches and Intel IDF presentations. Regardless, the cards tested do an excellent job of framing the Radeon X1800 GTO and aid in determining which graphics card presents the ideal balance of price and performance.

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)

Asus A8N32-SLI
nForce4 SLIX16 chipset

Asus A8R32-MVP Deluxe
ATI CrossFire Express 3200

Radeon X1800 GTO

Radeon X1600 XT
Radeon X1600 Pro
GeForce 7900 GT
GeForce 7600 GT

1024MB Corsair XMS PC3200 RAM

Integrated on board

Western Digital "Raptor"

36GB - 10,000RPM - SATA

Operating System -
Chipset Drivers -
DirectX -

Video Drivers

Synthetic (DX) -
DirectX -

DirectX -
DirectX -
OpenGL -
Relevant Software:
Windows XP Professional SP2
nForce Drivers v6.82
DirectX 9.0c

NVIDIA Forceware v84.17

ATI Catalyst v6.2

Benchmarks Used:
3DMark06 v1.0.2
FarCry v1.33*
Half Life 2*
Quake 4*

* - Custom Test (HH Exclusive demo)

Performance Comparisons with 3DMark06 v1.0.2

Futuremark recently launched a brand-new version of their popular benchmark, 3DMark06. The new version of the benchmark is updated in a number of ways, and now 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 the number of instructions 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.

Looking at the results from 3DMark06, we see a very close battle between the $249 Radeon X1800 GTO and the cheaper $179 - $229 GeForce 7600 GT. With each card scoring roughly 3000 points, we are realizing that there is some serious performance to be had for this price range. However, the surprise in the group comes from the score of the $299 GeForce 7900 GT as its showing is a clear 1,000 points above the other top contenders.

Tags:  ATI, Radeon, x1, ATI Radeon, GT, 180

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