ATi Radeon X800 XT & X800 Pro - Heart Burn For The NV40

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HH Test System Specs And ShaderMark 2.0

Take a quick peek at our system specs here, to get a feel for the type of platform we tested on and the relative performance you can expect, versus a similarly configured system.

HotHardware's Test System Specs
Pentium 4 3.2GHz and 1GB of DDR DRAM
Intel Pentium 4 3.2GHz

i875P "Canterwood" Chipset

Graphics Cards: 
ATi Radeon X800 XT
ATi Radeon X800 Pro
ATi Radeon 9800XT
NVIDIA GeForce 6800 Ultra

NVIDIA GeForce 6800 Ultra +
NVIDIA GeForce 6800 GT

NVIDIA GeForce FX 5950 Ultra

Intel Chipset Drivers

ATi Catalyst Beta 8.01
(X800 Cards Only)
ATi Catalyst 4.4
NVIDIA Forceware 60.73
NVIDIA Forceware 61.11
(Far Cry and Wolf ET only)
System Memory:
1024MB Kingston HyperX PC3500 CAS 2

On Board Audio: 
Integrated C-Media Audio

Hard Drive: 
Western Digital "Raptor"
36GB - 10,000RPM - SATA

Optical Drive: 
Lite-On 16X DVD-ROM

3.5" Floppy Dri

NVIDIA's Last Second Arrivals

With only a couple of days notice, NVIDIA contacted us and asked us to take a look at two new derivatives of the GeForce 6800.  Pictured left here, is the GeForce 6800 Ultra "Extreme" and GeForce 6800GT.  The GF 6800 Extreme should be considered a "golden sample" type of card, with its GPU speed binned out to 450MHz, as opposed to the stock Ultra 400MHz core.  The GT card is also a 16 Pixel Pipeline based product, with slightly slower core and memory speeds at 350MHz/1GHz.  We should also point out that NVIDIA also sent in new drivers (version 61.11) for these two cards.  However, in the interest of time, we were only able to re-run our Wolfenstein ET and Far Cry benchmarks with these new drivers.  NVIDIA informed us that these two game engines, would be impacted most be the new driver set and other titles would see only small gains.  They also pointed out a "Z-Cull" bug in their old 60.72 drivers, that has been fixed in Far Cry and as such the new driver improves performance greatly in this game.  Unfortunately, with these new drivers, AA ended up being broken and we had to toss out our Far Cry numbers for the GT and Ultra Extreme cards.

The rest of our benchmarks were run with the 60.72 driver on the GeForce 6800 Ultra and the 61.11 drivers for the 6800 GT and 6800 Ultra Extreme cards, since that driver was required to run the newer cards.  All told, this last ditch effort was very reminiscent of the somewhat sneaky move Intel pulled last year with the introduction of the Pentium 4 Extreme Edition, during AMD's Athlon 64 launch.  We assume that there is certainly no coincidence with the "Extreme" branding on the high end 6800 Ultra model.


Performance Comparisons With ShaderMark v2.0 (Build 1e)
Synthetic DX9 HLSL Shader Benchmarks

ShaderMark v2.0
For most of our recent articles, we've stuck to using games, or benchmarks based on actual game engines, to test video cards. The problem with using this approach, is that some advanced 3D features may not be fully tested, because game engines sometimes tend to lack the newest features available with cutting edge graphics hardware. In an effort to reveal raw shader performance, which is nearly impossible to do with the games on the market today, we've incorporated ToMMTi-System's ShaderMark v2.0 into our benchmarking suite. ShaderMark is a Direct 9.0 pixel shader benchmark that exclusively uses code written in Microsoft's High Level Shading Language (HLSL).

Full ShaderMark v2.0 Results Detail
Click image for full view

There's a lot of data to analyze in ShaderMark 2.0 and we're certainly not going to try and graph it out for you, so please pardon the eye chart here.  However, as you can see the Radeon X800 XT takes the overwhelming majority of the scores here, besting even the GeForce 6800 Ultra Extreme (labled with a "6800+" in our chart), by significant margins in many areas.  The X800 Pro can't quite keep pace with the similarly priced GeForce 6800GT however, most likely due to its 4 pixel pipe deficit, versus the 16 pipe NVIDIA card.

Tags:  ATI, Radeon, ATI Radeon, heart, art, XT, pro, RT, EA, BU, X8, AR, burn

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