Sapphire Radeon X1950 XTX

Our Test Systems and 3DMark06

HOW WE CONFIGURED THE TEST SYSTEMS: We tested the graphics cards featured in this article on an EVGA nForce 680i SLI motherboard, powered by an Intel Core 2 Extreme X6800 processor and 2GB of low-latency Corsair XMS DDR2 RAM. The first thing we did when configuring the test system was enter its BIOS and load its "High Performance Defaults."  The system's hard drive was then formatted, and Windows XP Pro SP2 was installed. When the installation was complete, we 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 Systems
Intel Core 2 Extreme Powered

Processor -

Motherboard -

Video Cards -

Memory -

Audio -

Hard Driv
e -


Hardware Used:
Core 2 Extreme X6800 (2.93GHz)

EVGA nForce 680i SLI

NVIDIA nForce 680i SLI
GeForce 8800 GTX

GeForce 8800 GTS
GeForce 7900 GTX
GeForce 7950 GX2
Radeon X1950 XTX
Sapphire Radeon X1950 XTX

2GB Corsair XMS2 PC6400 RAM

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 Professional SP2
nForce Drivers v6.86
DirectX 9.0c (August Redist.)

NVIDIA Forceware v96.94

ATI Catalyst v6.12

Benchmarks Used:
3DMark06 v1.0.2
FarCry v1.4*
Need For Speed: Carbon*
F.E.A.R. v1.08
Half Life 2: Episode 1*
Quake 4*

* - Custom Test (HH Exclusive demo)
Performance Comparisons with 3DMark06 v1.0.2

Futuremark recently launched a brand-new version of their popular benchmark, 3DMark06. The new version of the benchmark is updated in a number of ways, and now 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 the number of instructions 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.

The Sapphire Radeon X1950 XTX put up a decent number in 3DMark06, but it was overshadowed by dual-GPU powered GeForce 7950 GX2 and newer GeForce 8 Series cards.  In comparison to the GeForce 7900 GTX, which is currently more expensive than the X9150 XTX, the Sapphire card does well.


If we drill down and look specifically at 3DMark06's Shader Model 2.0 and 3.0 tests, we see how the X1950 XTX was able to outpace the 7900 GTX and why is falls victim to NVIDIA's higher-end offerings. SM 2.0 performance was right on par with the 7900 GTX, but the Radeon X1950 XTX's SM 3.0 performance was over 10% higher than the 7900 GTX. The 8800 GTX, however, simply smokes the Radeon, and the 7950 GX2 and 8800 GTS were both significantly more powerful.

Tags:  Radeon, Sapphire, App, x1, SAP, XT, AP

Related content