MSI RX800: Radeon X800 XT (PCI Express)

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Our Test System, 3DMark05 & Final Fantasy XI

HOW WE CONFIGURED THE TEST SYSTEM: We tested the MSI RX800XT-VTD256E on a DFI LANPARTY 925X-T2 Intel i925X chipset-based motherboard, powered by an Intel Pentium 4 560 3.6GHz CPU. The first thing we did when configuring this test system was enter the 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 Intel chipset drivers, then we installed all of the necessary drivers for the rest of our components and removed Windows Messenger from the system. Auto-Updating, System Restore, and Drive Indexing were then 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
Intel Powered Screamer
Processor -

Motherboard -

Video Cards -

Memory -

Audio -

Hard Drive -

Optical Drive -

Other -

Operating System -
Chipset Drivers -
DirectX -

Video Drivers

Intel Pentium 4 560 3.6GHz

DFI LANPARTY 925X-T2 Motherboard
i925X Chipset


Sapphire Radeon X800 XT
GeForce 6600 GT
ATI Radeon X700 XT

1024MB Kingston HyperX PC5400

Integrated Intel Azalia Hi-Def Audio

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

Lite-On 16X DVD-ROM

3.5" Floppy Drive

Windows XP Professional SP2 (Fully Patched)
Intel INF v6.0.1.1008
DirectX 9.0c

ATI Catalyst v4.10
NVIDIA Forceware v66.81
Performance Comparisons With 3DMark05
Futuremark's Latest - The Jury is Still Out...

3DMark05 is the latest installment in a long line of synthetic 3D graphics benchmarks, dating back to late 1998.  3DMark99 came out in October 1998, and was followed by the very popular DirectX 7 benchmark, 3DMark2000, roughly two years later.  The DirectX 8.1 compliant 3DMark2001 was released shortly thereafter, and it too was a very popular tool used by many hardcore gamers.  3DMark03, however, wasn't quite as well received thanks in no small part to the disapproval of graphics giant NVIDIA.  With 3DMark05 though, Futuremark hopes to win back some of their audience, with a very advanced DirectX 9 benchmarking tool.  We ran 3DMark05's default test (1024x768) on all of the cards we tested and have the overall results for you posted below...

Important Note: We did not have a PCI Express GeForce 6800 Ultra available for testing, so we had to compromise and use a GeForce 6800 GT for comparison purposes.  The 6800 GT's core and memory are clocked lower than a 6800 Ultra's and it's less expensive than the RX800. The GeForce 6800 Ultra is the RX800 more direct competitor, but we had to make due with the hardware that was available at the time of publication.  Please keep that in mind when reviewing our performance results. A GeForce 6800 Ultra would have performed higher than the 6800 GT.

The jury is still out on 3DMark05, but in a recent poll a significant amount of our readers asked us to include it in future graphics card reviews, and we're not about to disappoint anyone!  The RX800 topped the chart with a score of 4883, followed closely behind by Sapphire's X800 XT, which is essentially the same video card.  The GeForce 6800 Ultra finished a not-so-distant third, about 6.5% behind the RX800.  As expected, the mid-range X700 XT finished well behind the other cards.

Performance Comparisons With Final Fantasy XI Benchmark 2 v1.01
A Classic Console Franchise On The PC

Final Fantasy XI
The Final Fantasy franchise is well known to console gamers, but Squaresoft has since made the jump to the PC with a MMORPG version of this classic. The Final Fantasy XI benchmark runs through multiple scenes from the game and displays a final score every time a full cycle of the demo is completed. Although the demo is meant to check an entire system's readiness to play the game, the number of frames rendered scales when different video cards are used. Lower scores indicate some frames were dropped to complete the demo in the allotted time. The scores below were taken with the demo set to its "High Resolution" option (1024x768) with anti-aliasing disabled.

All of the cards we tested performed within a few percentage points of one another in the relatively lite-duty Final Fantasy XI benchmark.  With no anti-aliasing or advanced shader effects, and a relatively low resolution of 1024x768, this benchmark doesn't tax today's high-end video cards nearly as much as some other popular benchmarking tools. Nevertheless, the MSI RX800 did come out on top with a score of 6341, roughly 6% higher than the 6800 GT.

Tags:  MSI, Radeon, PC, Pre, MS, PCI Express, XP, pci, express, XT, X8

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