ATI Radeon X1950 Pro with Native CrossFire

Article Index

Our Test Systems and 3DMark06

HOW WE CONFIGURED THE TEST SYSTEMS: We tested the NVIDIA based cards used in this article on an Asus A8N32-SLI nForce 4 SLIX16 chipset based motherboard. The ATI powered cards, however, were tested on an A8R32-MVP motherboard based on the CrossFire Xpress 3200 chipset. Both systems used the same AMD Athlon 64 FX-60 dual-core processor and 2GB of RAM. The first thing we did when configuring these test systems was enter each BIOS and loaded their "High Performance Defaults."  The hard drives were then formatted, and Windows XP Pro was installed. When the installation was complete, we 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 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.

The HotHardware Test Systems
AMD Athlon 64 FX Powered

Processor -

Motherboard -

Video Cards -

Memory -

Audio -

Hard Driv
e -


Hardware Used:
AMD Athlon 64 FX-60 (2.6GHz x 2)

Asus A8N32-SLI
nForce4 SLIX16 chipset

Asus A8R32-MVP
ATI CrossFire Xpress 3200

GeForce 7900 GTX (x2)

GeForce 7950 GT (x2)
GeForce 7900 GT
GeForce 7900 GS
Radeon X1950 Pro (x2)
Radeon X1950 XTX (x2)
Radeon X1900 XT 256MB

2048MB Corsair XMS PC3200 RAM

Integrated on board

Western Digital "Raptor"

74GB - 10,000RPM - SATA

Operating System -
Chipset Drivers -
DirectX -

Video Drivers

Synthetic (DX) -
DirectX -
DirectX -
DirectX -
OpenGL -
Relevant Software:
Windows XP Professional SP2
nForce Drivers v6.86
DirectX 9.0c (August Redist.)

NVIDIA Forceware v91.45

ATI Catalyst v6.8/6.9B

Benchmarks Used:
3DMark06 v1.0.2
FarCry v1.33*
F.E.A.R. v1.07
Half Life 2: Episode 1*

* - Custom Test (HH Exclusive demo)
Performance Comparisons with 3DMark06 v1.0.2

3DMark06 is the latest addition to the 3DMark franchise. This version differs from 3Dmark05 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.

We've broken up our graphs into two sections in an effort to make them a bit easier to read. The top portion of each graph consists of all the single GPU configurations we tested and the bottom half is made up of all the multi-GPU configurations.

As you can see, the new Radeon X1950 Pro performs about on-par with a GeForce 7900 GT in a single-GPU setup, and just behind the 256MB Radeon X1900 XT.  In native CrossFire mode, the X1950 Pros trail the other configurations we tested, but keep in mind the X1950 Pros are also the least expensive of the bunch.

When we break down the individual results from the 3DMark06 benchmark, we see the X1950 Pro trailing all of its NVIDIA powered counterparts in the Shader Model 2.0 test, with the exception of the GeForce 7900 GS which finished 130 point behind.

The same basic trend that was seen in the Shader Model 2.0 test, holds true in the HDR/Shader Model 3.0 tests as well. Although the X1950 Pro still trailed most of its competition here, its lead over the GeForce 7900 GS increased to over 300 points.

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