I never knew working an average of 18 hours a day and sleeping every other night could be so incredibly enjoyable. These past two weeks have been so full of benchmarking and analysis that I hardly have time to breathe. Of course, when people come up to me and tell me "man, I wish I could play games for a living too," I can't help but laugh out loud. I tell them: its not about games, it's about trying to understand the hardware. Of course, that is my kind of fun. The only problem is that I don't get to see what the picture looks like until I benchmark games for 50 hours.

When we sat down to start working on this series, I was very excited. I know that it's taken a long time to try to get the whole picture out in the open, but we wanted to be very thorough. Some of the motivation behind Part 1 was to give everyone an idea how these two cards perform vs. mid/high end cards that are already out. We wanted to give a basis for comparison so that numbers between 9800XT and NV38 had some way to relate back to what we already know. So now we can get on with trying to push these to their limits and beyond. The only other card we will be testing in Part 2 is the GeForce FX 5900 Ultra with both 52.14 and publicly available 45.23 WHQL drivers. We will also be doing a separate article on ATI's Catalyst 3.8 drivers when they are released.

This time around we tested at 1280x1024 (or 960 in some cases), and 1600x1200. At each of these resolutions we tested with AA and AF off and on when possible. Some games brought both cards to their knees, while others provided little more than a bump in the road. There is an incredible amount of information in this article so you may want to set aside some time to digest it all. We've done one unconventional test that will at least be a very good point of discussion, and there are plenty of surprises within.

The series is far from over and the next thing on the plate is a value/mid-range roundup to show you some cards that are actually feasible to purchase.

We hope you will enjoy reading this as much as we did putting it together.

An even more updated Test Suite
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  • Anonymous User - Wednesday, October 08, 2003 - link

    #67 I think the lightsaber glow is horrible on the Nvidia cards. They glow shines THROUGH the players head. Looks to me like a bug. I like the ATI saber much better.
    (Most peoples heads aren't empty, so light does not shine trough. Maybe your experience is different? ;-)))

    #76 Couldn't agree more. The blurry AA in aquamark is crystal clear even in those tiny images. So how could the authors possible miss that and proclaim that there is no IQ issues? Especially since they have looked at the fullscreen images and spend days on the article?

    Also you can immediately see in all the small images that in general AA is better on the ATI card. This is nothing new, and not considered cheating by Nvidia. It's just that most know that there is a quality difference.
    But shouldn't that at least be mentioned in an article that is focused on image quality?

    Why no screenshots on splinter cell? We should just believe the authors on that? With the aquamark pictures they have shown that we can't take their word for it. So I'd really like to see those screenshots too. Same for EVE.

    And I was really suprised that they didn't know that the water issue in NWN was NOT Ati's fault. They claim that they have surfed forums on NWN issues. In that case they should have known that. (one look at rage3d would have been enough)

    And on top of this the TRAOD part. It seems they typed more text on TROAD then they did in the entire rest of the article. No wonder that people frown at the TROAD part.

    All in all, I can see that much work went into the article, but I feel that it could have been much better.
    As it is now it is left to the reader to find the image issues in the small pictures. But I would expect the author to point me to the image issues.
    Reply
  • Anonymous User - Wednesday, October 08, 2003 - link

    #74, conclusions are one thing, objective journalism is another.
    There are clear differences in even the small and relatively badly chosen images posted with the article, yet all we get to read is "there are no IQ issues".

    Thus, either the authors of the article are not competent enough (maybe they were simply too tired after the testing...) , or they are intentionally ignoring the differences.
    Reply
  • Iger - Wednesday, October 08, 2003 - link

    I just can't stay aside and not to thank the authors. The job they've done in this article is amazing, and the site was and will be my all-time favourite! Thank you! :) Reply
  • Malichite - Wednesday, October 08, 2003 - link

    I am extremely confused with the posts here. Many ATI guys seem to think AT unfairly favored the nVidia cards. Did we read the same article? In the end I came away with the opinion that while the new Det 52.xx help, things may get better for nVidia, the ATI is still a better choice today. Did I miss something?

    Additionally for all the guys claiming TR:AOD is a great game. Yeah, we all know only the truely *great* games pull a %51 rating over on www.gamerankings.com (based on 21 media reviews).
    Reply
  • Anonymous User - Wednesday, October 08, 2003 - link

    Just what kind of world do we live in before a guy has to say why he's not a fanboy before they express their opinion, anyway? The worst part is, you people who do this, you're completely justified in your actions, because if you don't explain why you're not an ATi/nVidia fanboy then people call you one.

    God.. can't we argue without calling others fanboys for once?
    Reply
  • Anonymous User - Wednesday, October 08, 2003 - link

    i forgot to add the j/k part... i dont want you taking my poor attempt at humor the wrong way... ;)

    anyways, i dont know what all the commotion is about.. shouldnt u (ATI-folk) be happy that nvidia is making vast improvements?

    i would feel sympathetic for people who THOUGHT they wasted $400+ dollars on a card that didn't seem to deliver the performance it promised...
    Reply
  • Anonymous User - Wednesday, October 08, 2003 - link

    What kind of biased crappy unproffesional review shows percentage drops for enabeling ps 2.0 without showing framerates? if fps are around 30 to begin with the % of fps drop makes no difference cause the game is rendered unplayable! and who benchmarks beta drivers not available to the public on hardware not yet anounced?this reeks with $ payoff and seems like anadtech have thrown thier integrity to waste.I wish that on the 10th when nvidia anounces the nv38 they also release these drivers to the public than some seious review site can actually test the hardware
    (and software, forgive my skeptisicm but nVidia sure earned it this past year) and show us what nVidia is bringing to the graphic's field.
    Disapointed by nVidia and now by Anandtech
    Reply
  • Anonymous User - Wednesday, October 08, 2003 - link

    sure u do... ;) Reply
  • Anonymous User - Wednesday, October 08, 2003 - link

    Not everyone talking about IQ differences here is a fanboy.

    Look at the images at the bottom of the Aquamark 3 IQ page (highest quality AA, 8xAF). The nVidia 52.14 image is blurred, much detail is lost especially around the explosion. The Catalyst 3.7 image is way sharper, yet its AA is smoother (look at the car body above the wheels), and it loses much less detail around the explosion. The differences are much more than "barely noticeable".

    The tiny images don't give much credit to the article, though.

    (Before anyone calls me az ATI fanboy: I have a GeForce FX 5600 dual DVI.)
    Reply
  • Anonymous User - Wednesday, October 08, 2003 - link

    TR: AOD is a terrible game, most people just like it because it's such a hot spot for all this benchmarking shite.

    At times like this, I'm glad I use a Matrox Millenium II! .. okay, kidding, but still.
    Reply

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