Test System and 3DMark06 Results
HOW WE CONFIGURED THE TEST SYSTEM: We tested all of the graphics cards used in this article on an MSI P6N Diamond nForce 680i SLI motherboard powered by a Core 2 Duo E6300 processor and 2GB of low-latency Corsair RAM. The first thing we did when configuring our test systems was enter into the BIOS and set all values to their "optimized" or "performance" default settings. Then we manually configured the memory timings and disabled any integrated peripherals that wouldn't be put to use. The hard drive was then formatted, and Windows Vista Ultimate was installed. When the installation was complete we fully updated the OS, and installed the latest DX10 redist and various hotfixes along with the necessary drivers and applications.
Video Cards -
Hard Drive -
Video Drivers -
Synthetic (DX) -
Windows Vista Ultimate
NVIDIA Forceware v169.25
ATI Catalyst v7.12
Half Life 2: Episode 2*
Company of Heroes
Enemy Territory: Quake Wars 1.2*
PT Boats: Knights of the Sea
* - Custom Test
(HH Exclusive demo)
Performance Comparisons with 3DMark06 v1.1.0 Details: www.futuremark.com/products/3dmark06
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. 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.
Although the 8800 GTX has greater memory bandwidth than the newer 8800 GTS 512, the card's higher core and memory clock speeds propel the GTS to the head of the pack in most of the 3DMark06 testing, and it ends up with a 68 point lead overall. The GeForce cards, in general, were better performers with regards to HDR rendering, while Shader Model 2 went in favor of the ATI Radeon HD 3870. The slower clocked HD 3850 was between 15-25% behind in all of the tests.