Our Test Systems & 3DMark06

HOW WE CONFIGURED THE TEST SYSTEMS: We tested all of the graphics cards used in this article on an nForce 680i SLI motherboard powered by a Core 2 Duo E6400 dual-core processor and 1GB of low-latency Corsair RAM. The first thing we did when configuring the test system was enter the BIOS and set all values to their 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 XP Pro with SP2 and the April '07 DX9 update was installed. When the installation was complete, we then 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 also 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 System
Dual Core Test-bed

Processor -

Motherboard -

Video Cards -

Memory -

Audio -

Hard Drive

Hardware Used:
Core 2 Duo E6400 (2.13GHz)

nForce 680i SLI

PNY XLR8 GeForce 8800 GTX OC
GeForce 8800 Ultra
GeForce 8800 GTX
GeForce 7900 GT

Radeon X1950 XT

1024MB Corsair PC2-8500C3
2 X 512MB

Integrated on board

Western Digital "Raptor"

74GB - 10,000RPM - SATA

OS -
Chipset Drivers -
DirectX -

Video Drivers

Synthetic (DX) -
DirectX -
DirectX -
DirectX -
DirectX -
OpenGL -

OpenGL -
Relevant Software:
Windows XP Pro SP2
nForce Drivers v9.53
DirectX 9.0c (April '07 Redist.)

NVIDIA Forceware v158.22
ATI Catalyst v7.5

Benchmarks Used:
FarCry v1.4 *
F.E.A.R. v1.08
Half Life 2: Episode 1*
Prey v1.2*
Quake 4 v1.4*

* - Custom Test (HH Exclusive demo)

Performance Comparisons with 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. 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.




Our 3DMark benchmarks show that the PNY XLR8 8800 GTX OC is no slouch. It clearly out performs the vanilla 8800 GTX and puts up a good fight against the 8800 Ultra, just barely edging it out to take first place overall. A quick look at the Shader Model 2.0 test reveals that the XLR8's highly overclocked core gave it the edge over the Ultra. However, the Ultra's higher shader clock enabled it to oust the XLR8 in the Shader Model 3.0 test. This is a great start for the XLR8 but 3DMark is a synthatic benchmark.

Tags:  GTX, pny, XLR8, GT

Related content