Looking Back Pt. 3: The 6800 Ultra, ForceWare, and the Futureby Ryan Smith on May 11, 2006 4:00 AM EST
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NV40 & The TestComing off of the extremely poor showing of their 5000 series and its associated Detonator drivers, the NV40 design represents an interesting design from NVIDIA born amid the bitter taste of driver scandals and overall inferior performance. NV40 not only brought the introduction of Shader Model 3.0, further blurring the lines between a CPU and a GPU with the addition of more high-level programming abilities, but also reintroduced the world to SLI when the NV40 went to PCI-Express. Overall the NV40 is a very different design than anything preceding it, giving NVIDIA a blank slate from which to work out performance improvements.
It should be noted that our driver selection policy is a little different for NVIDIA than it was with ATI, due to NVIDIA's previously inconsistent official driver release schedule, which did not see official drivers released often enough to fill our intended 2-month gap between driver revisions. Because of this, some of the drivers used in this test are NVIDIA driver releases that were not directly released to the public by NVIDIA itself (e.g. releases by OEMs who received multiple NVIDIA builds). However given the simply enormous number of such drivers, we used only Windows Hardware Quality Labs (WHQL) certified drivers, which means these are drivers NVIDIA was confident enough to release in a final form and submit to testing to Microsoft. Overall these drivers still stick to an approximate 2-month gap, making the results as comparable as possible with our ATI Catalyst results.
What hasn't changed is our primary game list, though we'll be adding a few additional titles with more limiting testing (see page 11). As with the X800 Pro, we'll be conducting extensive testing with the following games:
- X2: The Threat
- Doom 3
- Half-Life 2
- Far Cry
- Battlefield 2
- Final Fantasy XI, Benchmark 2
- Need For Speed Underground 2
- The Chronicles of Riddick
- Serious Sam 2
|Processor:||AMD Athlon 64 3400+(S754)|
|Memory:||2GB DDR400 RAM 2:2:2|
|Hard Drive:||120GB Maxtor DiamondMax Plus 9|
|Power Supply:||Antec TruePower 430W|
All tests were done at 1280x1024 unless otherwise noted.