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GeForce 9800 GX2: 3DMark06

Over the next few pages, we'll focus our attention on the new GeForce 9800 GX2.  For our GPU benchmarks, we tested the GeForce 9800 GX2, and all of the other GeForces for that matter, on the ASUS Striker II Extreme.  The ATI Radeon HD 3870 X2, however, was tested on the X48-based ASUS P5E3 Premium.

Futuremark 3DMark06
Synthetic DirectX Gaming


3DMark06 is the most recent addition to the 3DMark franchise. This version differs from 3Dmark05 in a number of ways, and 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 that number 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.

According to 3DMark06's overall score, the GeForce 9800 GX2 performs just below the Radeon HD 3870 X2, but well ahead of any single-GPU setup.  Of course, 3DMark06 performance doesn't always translate into higher performance in actual though, so we'll see how the card does in the real-world a little later.

If we tunnel into the overall 3DMark06 results, we see how each card performed in the individual Shader Model tests.  As you can see, in the SM 2.0 tests, the Radeon had a marked advantage that dwindles away in the more taxing SM 3.0 and HDR tests.

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