The Test

Our test platform is the same as the one we used in our recent articles. Necessarily departing from our norm, this round of testing is performed under the 32-bit version of Windows Vista. We used the latest beta drivers we could get our hands on from both AMD and NVIDIA. Here's a breakdown of the platform:

Performance Test Configuration:
CPU: Intel Core 2 Extreme X6800 (2.93GHz/4MB)
Motherboard: ASUS P5W-DH
Chipset: Intel 975X
Chipset Drivers: Intel 8.2.0.1014
Hard Disk: Seagate 7200.7 160GB SATA
Memory: Corsair XMS2 DDR2-800 4-4-4-12 (1GB x 2)
Video Card: Various
Video Drivers: ATI Catalyst 8.38.9.1-rc2
NVIDIA ForceWare 162.18
Desktop Resolution: 1280 x 800 - 32-bit @ 60Hz
OS: Windows Vista x86


We were also able to obtain a beta version of FRAPS from Beepa in order to record average framerates in DirectX 10 applications. Without this, we were previously limited to only testing applications that generate statistics for us. Armed with a DX10 capable version of FRAPS, we can now also take a look at the performance of DX10 SDK samples and other demos that don't include built in frame counters.

For now, though, we are sticking with real world performance. We'll be looking at Call of Juarez, Company of Heroes, and Lost Planet: Extreme Condition. Except for Call of Juarez, we will be looking at DirectX 9 and DirectX 10 path performance. The Call of Juarez benchmark explicitly highlights the enhanced features of their DX10 path, and they don't offer an equivalent benchmark for DX9. If there is demand for Call of Juarez benchmarking down the road, we may look at using FRAPS in both DX9 and DX10 versions. Lost Planet testing required the use of our DX10 version of FRAPS, but Company of Heroes testing was performed using the same method previously available (the performance test in the graphics options section).

In addition to looking at each game on its own, we will take a look at how DX9 and DX10 performance compare overall. Performance scaling with and without AA under each API as well as relative performance of cards under each API will be analyzed.

Index Call of Juarez
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  • DerekWilson - Thursday, July 05, 2007 - link

    this is true -- our current information shows that AMD does relatively worse than NVIDIA when compared under DX10 than under DX9. Reply
  • rADo2 - Thursday, July 05, 2007 - link

    "there are applications where the 2900 xt does outperform its competition" - where? 2900XT has 22FPS, 8800GTX 24FPS nad 8800ULTRA 26FPS. Despite "crippled for NVIDIA" / "paid by ATI" I see still green camp to outperform ATI.

    And in Lost Planet NVIDIA has 2x (!) better performance.

    It is not even worth considering ATI for purchase.
    Reply
  • smitty3268 - Thursday, July 05, 2007 - link

    Read the comment again: The point is that the 2900XT does not compete against the 8800GTX, it competes against the 8800GTS, which it did outperform in that test.

    It certainly isn't the fastest card available, but I could also make a statement like "The GeForce7300Go outperforms it's competition" without saying it's the fastest thing available. I'm just saying it beats the cards in a similar price range.
    Reply
  • KeithTalent - Thursday, July 05, 2007 - link

    Um, what about price? Last time I checked the 8800GTX still costs about $150 more than the 2900XT. I will not even bring up the Ultra which is still way overpriced.

    So for $150 less you get a card that competes with the GTX some of the time and is more than capable of playing most games maxed out at high resolution. That is why the 2900XT is worth considering for purchase.

    KT

    Reply
  • rADo2 - Thursday, July 05, 2007 - link

    Problem is, 2900XT is many times NOT playable. Its performance is sometimes close to NVIDIA, sometimes 2x lower. And this applies for both DX9 and DX10. With 60+ games I own, I can assume ATI would "suck" on 30 of them.

    Look at Lost Planet with AA, 22FPS versus 40-50FPS is a huge difference in playability. On 8800GTX/ULTRA you can play even at 1920x1200 (30FPS), with 2900XT even 1280x1024 is giving you problems.
    Reply
  • KeithTalent - Thursday, July 05, 2007 - link

    Well I have two of them and they work more than fine on every single game I have tried so far, including demos, betas, and a couple of older games (using Catalyst 7.6).

    Lost Planet is a POS port anyway, but when I ran the test benchmark in DX9 with Crossfired 2900XTs I had frames well above 40 with everything maxed at 1920x1200 so I am somewhat confused by the numbers here. I will have to wait until I am home to see my exact numbers, but they were much higher than what was presented here. Maybe there is something wonky with the beta drivers?

    I'll post back tonight once I have verified my numbers.

    KT

    Reply
  • DerekWilson - Thursday, July 05, 2007 - link

    We didn't use the demo benchmark, and the release version (afaik) does not include an updated version of the benchmark either.

    For the Lost Planet test, we had to use FRAPS running through the snow. This will absolutely give lower performance, as the benchmark runs through a couple in door scenes as well with higher framerates.

    I mentioned FRAPS on the test page, but I'll add to the Lost Planet section the method we used for testing.
    Reply
  • defter - Thursday, July 05, 2007 - link

    Do Intel CPUs outperform currently AMD or not? After all, $200 AMD CPU is about as fast as $200 Intel CPU....

    It's natural that slower parts have good price/peformance ratio compared to competition since otherwise nobody would buy them. However, this has nothing to do which one fastest...

    Reply
  • KeithTalent - Thursday, July 05, 2007 - link

    Not sure what you are getting at, I was responding to this ridiculous statement:

    quote:

    It is not even worth considering ATI for purchase.


    Which is completely untrue, because price can be a big consideration.

    With respect to CPUs, if you spend an extra $50 - $100 for the better Intel processor, you are getting exponentially better performance (I know this from experience), while if you spend $150 more for a GTX, you are getting only marginally better performance.

    KT
    Reply

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