ATI Radeon X1800 XT CrossFire Evaluation

Article Index

Our Test Systems & 3DMark05

HOW WE CONFIGURED THE TEST SYSTEM: We used two different test systems for this article.  We tested our NVIDIA based cards on an Asus A8N32-SLI, nForce 4 SLIX16 chipset based motherboard, powered by an AMD Athlon 64 FX-55 processor and 1GB of low-latency Corsair XMS RAM. However, the ATI based cards were tested on an ATI reference Radeon Xpress 200 motherboard, but with the same processor and RAM. The first thing we did when configuring these test systems was enter each BIOS and load 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.

The HotHardware Test System
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

ATI Reference CrossFire MB
ATI Radeon Xpress 200 CF Edition

GeForce 7800 GTX 512MB (x2)

GeForce 7800 GTX (x2)
Radeon X1800 XT

1024MB Corsair XMS PC3200 RAM
CAS 2

Integrated on board

Western Digital "Raptor"

36GB - 10,000RPM - SATA

Operating System -
Chipset Drivers -
DirectX -



Video Drivers -




Synthetic (DX) -
DirectX -

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

NVIDIA Forceware v81.89

ATI Catalyst v5.13


Benchmarks Used:
3DMark05 v1.2.0
Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory v1.04
F.E.A.R.
FarCry v1.33*
Half Life 2*
Doom 3 v1.3 (Single Player)*
Quake 4*

* - 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. 3DMark05 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.

Both CrossFire configurations performed very well while running the default 3DMark05 test. The X1800 XL CrossFire configuration finished just behind a pair of 256MB GeForce 7800 GTX cards running in SLI mode, while the X1800 XT CrossFire configuration pulled ahead of the same SLI setup by about 500 points. The highest performing configuration here, however, was a pair of 512MB GeForce 7800 GTX cards running in SLI. Although the pair of X1800 XTs was right behind it, finishing the test with a score only 366 points lower than NVIDIA's flagship gaming platform.


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