ATI Radeon X1900 XTX And CrossFire: R580 Is Here

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Test System & ShaderMark v2.1

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, but tested the ATI based cards on an ECS KA1 MVP Radeon Xpress 200 motherboard.  Both systems were powered by an AMD Athlon 64 FX-55 processor and 1GB of low-latency Corsair XMS RAM. The first thing we did when configuring these systems was enter each BIOS and loaded the "High Performance Defaults."  The hard drives were then formatted, and Windows XP Professional with SP2 was installed. When the installation was complete, we installed the 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 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

Radeon X1900 XTX (+ CF Edition)

Radeon X1900 XT
Radeon X1800 XT (+ CF Edition)
GeForce 7800 GTX 512MB (x2)
GeForce 7800 GTX (x2)

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) -
Synthetic (DX) -
DirectX -

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

NVIDIA Forceware v81.98

ATI Catalyst v5.13/v6.1

Benchmarks Used:
ShaderMark v2.1 (Build 1.30a)
3DMark06 v1.0.2
Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory v1.05
F.E.A.R. v1.02
FarCry v1.33*
Half Life 2*
Doom 3 v1.3 (Single Player)*
Quake 4 v1.0.5.2*

* - Custom Test (HH Exclusive demo)

Performance Comparisons with ShaderMark v2.1 (Build 1.30a)
Details:http://www.shadermark.de

Shadermark v2.1
For most of our recent video card-related articles, we've stuck to using games, or benchmarks based on actual game engines, to gauge overall performance. One problem with using this approach exclusively is that some advanced 3D features may not be fully tested, because the game engines currently in use tend not to use the absolute latest features available within cutting-edge graphics hardware. In an effort to reveal raw shader performance, which is nearly impossible to do using only the games on the market today, we've incorporated ToMMTi-System's ShaderMark v2.1 into our benchmarking suite for this article. ShaderMark is a Direct 9.0 pixel shader benchmark that exclusively uses code written in Microsoft's High Level Shading Language (HLSL) to produce its imagery.


ShaderMark Test Conducted @ 1600x1200x85Hz

If you look back at our Radeon X1K family launch article, you'll see that the GeForce 7800 GTX skunked the Radeon X1800 XT in all but six of ShaderMark's performance tests. This time around though, we used the much higher clocked 512MB GeForce 7800 GTX and pitted it up against the new Radeon X1900 XTX.  As you can see, the X1900's 48-pixel shader processors propel's ATI's latest well ahead of NVIDIA's best in all but three tests. Something interesting to note is that in the Dual-Layer tests with Flow Control, ATI actually loses one test by about 17% and wins the other by only 3%, even though ATI has been touting the Radeon X1K's family's ability to handle dynamic flow control as one of the GPU's strong suits.


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