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 - Tuesday, October 7, 2003 - link

    You need to look at the FSAA each card empolys...go back and look again at the screenies, this time looking at all the jaggis on each card....especially in F1, it doesn't even look like nVidia is using FSAA....while on the ATI, it's smooth ......I don't think it's a driver comparison, just the fact that ATI FSAA is far better at doing the job....At least I think that's what he's talking about..hard to tell any IQ differences when the full size screenies are not working, but poor FSAA kinda jumps out at you (If your'e used to smooth FSAA)

    Also worth noting, nVidia made great jumps in performance in DX9, but nothing that actually used PS2.0 shaders : (
    Reply
  • Anonymous User - Tuesday, October 7, 2003 - link

    #14 Blurred? Are you not wearing your glasses or something? Nice and sharp for me... Reply
  • Anonymous User - Tuesday, October 7, 2003 - link

    of course you do, you're a fanATIc... Reply
  • Anonymous User - Tuesday, October 7, 2003 - link

    I like the way he discounts Tomb raider. Saying it is just not a good game. Thats a matter of opinion. It almost seems like he trys to undermine that game before revealing any benches.

    And the benches for that game are not done in FPS but on percentage lost on PS2.0.

    On first inspection of the graphs it appears that Nvidia is leading in tombraider. But if you look at the blurred print on the graph it does say "lower is better" Very clever!

    Why no FPS in that game?

    Nice information in this review but it almost seems that he is going out of his way to excuse Nvidia.

    I smell a rat in this review.

    Reply
  • Anonymous User - Tuesday, October 7, 2003 - link

    #3, #7: If you take the screens into photoshop and observe the result of their 'difference', you'll see that there's a fairly significant difference between the 45's and 3.7's, but almost no difference whatsoever between the 52's and 3.7's. In most of those screenshots it's impossible to do this since the shots aren't neccessarily from the exact same position each time. Try the ut2k3 ones for example. Also these are jpeg's, so there'll be a little fuzz due to the differences in compression.

    Also, if I need to take two screenshots into photoshop to be able to discern any difference between them, that's really saying alot. And since we can't refer to a reference software shot, it could be ati's driver that's off for all we know.

    In any event I'm pleasantly surprised with nvidia. Their IQ has definitely caught up, and their performance is quickly improving. Hopefully the cat3.8's will pull a similar stunt.
    Reply
  • Anonymous User - Tuesday, October 7, 2003 - link

    No he's just a "fanny"
    Reply
  • AgaBooga - Tuesday, October 7, 2003 - link

    They must have a reason for choosing those drivers. Anandtech has been around long enough for that :)

    The reason is probably along the lines of when they started this benchmarking because they did soooo many games, resolutions, AA and AF levels, times the number of different cards, etc. That takes quite some time. Had they waited for the newer ATI drivers, it may have delayed this article one, or even two weeks till publishing. Also, they did mention they will do a followup articles with the new drivers, so patience is the key here.
    Reply
  • Anonymous User - Tuesday, October 7, 2003 - link

    #8 seems like a fanboy himself Reply
  • dvinnen - Tuesday, October 7, 2003 - link

    well #8, Nvidia was able to do it with the wonder driver, I dn't see why Ati can't Reply
  • Anonymous User - Tuesday, October 7, 2003 - link

    LOL, the ATI fanboys are already coming out of the woodwork. Listen #3 and #7, it's a fact, there is no IQ difference at all between the 50 Dets and the 3.7 CATs. And if you honestly believe you're going to see much of a difference with the CAT 3.8's....you're just stupid. Reply

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