DirectX 9 Performance

Below you can see our plot of the DirectX9 components.

9600 Pro 400 600 4 1 2 128 1600 200 9155 100.0% 100.0% 100.0% 100.0%
DirectX 9
GF 6800UE 450 1200 16 1 6 256 7200 675 36621 450.0% 400.0% 337.5% 475.0%
X800 XT PE 520 1120 16 1 6 256 8320 780 34180 520.0% 373.3% 390.0% 470.6%
X800 XT PE 520 1120 16 1 6 256 8320 780 34180 520.0% 373.3% 390.0% 470.6%
X800 XT 500 1000 16 1 6 256 8000 750 30518 500.0% 333.3% 375.0% 443.1%
GF 6800U 400 1100 16 1 6 256 6400 600 33569 400.0% 366.7% 300.0% 426.7%
X800 GT? 425 900 16 1 6 256 6800 638 27466 425.0% 300.0% 318.8% 382.7%
GF 6800GT 350 1000 16 1 6 256 5600 525 30518 350.0% 333.3% 262.5% 378.3%
X800 Pro 475 900 12 1 6 256 5700 713 27466 356.3% 300.0% 356.3% 371.3%
X800 Pro 475 900 12 1 6 256 5700 713 27466 356.3% 300.0% 356.3% 371.3%
X800 SE? 425 800 8 1 6 256 3400 638 24414 212.5% 266.7% 318.8% 292.6%
X700 XT? 500 1000 8 1 6 128 4000 750 15259 250.0% 166.7% 375.0% 290.3%
GF 6800 325 700 12 1 5 256 3900 406 21362 243.8% 233.3% 203.1% 272.1%
GF 6800 325 700 12 1 5 256 3900 406 21362 243.8% 233.3% 203.1% 272.1%
GF 6600GT 500 1000 8 1 3 128 4000 375 15259 250.0% 166.7% 187.5% 241.7%
GF 6800LE 320 700 8 1 5 256 2560 400 21362 160.0% 233.3% 200.0% 237.3%
GF 6800LE 320 700 8 1 5 256 2560 400 21362 160.0% 233.3% 200.0% 237.3%
9800 XT 412 730 8 1 4 256 3296 412 22278 206.0% 243.3% 206.0% 218.4%
GFFX 5950U 475 950 4 2 3 256 3800 356 28992 237.5% 316.7% 178.1% 207.5%
9800 Pro 256 380 700 8 1 4 256 3040 380 21362 190.0% 233.3% 190.0% 204.4%
9800 Pro 128 380 680 8 1 4 256 3040 380 20752 190.0% 226.7% 190.0% 202.2%
GFFX 5900U 450 850 4 2 3 256 3600 338 25940 225.0% 283.3% 168.8% 191.8%
GFFX 5900 400 850 4 2 3 256 3200 300 25940 200.0% 283.3% 150.0% 179.4%
9700 Pro 325 620 8 1 4 256 2600 325 18921 162.5% 206.7% 162.5% 177.2%
9800 325 600 8 1 4 256 2600 325 18311 162.5% 200.0% 162.5% 175.0%
9800 SE 256 380 680 4 1 4 256 1520 380 20752 95.0% 226.7% 190.0% 170.6%
GFFX 5900XT/SE 400 700 4 2 3 256 3200 300 21362 200.0% 233.3% 150.0% 165.3%
9800 "Pro" 380 680 8 1 4 128 3040 380 10376 190.0% 113.3% 190.0% 164.4%
GFFX 5800U 500 1000 4 2 2 128 4000 250 15259 250.0% 166.7% 125.0% 153.5%
9700 275 540 8 1 4 256 2200 275 16479 137.5% 180.0% 137.5% 151.7%
GF 6600 300 550 8 1 3 128 2400 225 8392 150.0% 91.7% 112.5% 141.7%
9800 SE 128 325 580 8 1 4 128 2600 325 8850 162.5% 96.7% 162.5% 140.6%
GFFX 5700U GDDR3 475 950 4 1 3 128 1900 356 14496 118.8% 158.3% 178.1% 129.0%
GFFX 5700U 475 900 4 1 3 128 1900 356 13733 118.8% 150.0% 178.1% 126.6%
X600 XT 500 740 4 1 2 128 2000 250 11292 125.0% 123.3% 125.0% 124.4%
GFFX 5800 400 800 4 2 2 128 3200 200 12207 200.0% 133.3% 100.0% 122.8%
9500 Pro 275 540 8 1 4 128 2200 275 8240 137.5% 90.0% 137.5% 121.7%
9600 XT 500 600 4 1 2 128 2000 250 9155 125.0% 100.0% 125.0% 116.7%
9600 Pro 400 600 4 1 2 128 1600 200 9155 100.0% 100.0% 100.0% 100.0%
X600 Pro 400 600 4 1 2 128 1600 200 9155 100.0% 100.0% 100.0% 100.0%
GFFX 5700 425 500 4 1 3 128 1700 319 7629 106.3% 83.3% 159.4% 98.9%
9500 275 540 4 1 4 128 1100 275 8240 68.8% 90.0% 137.5% 98.8%
GFFX 5600U FC 400 800 4 1 1 128 1600 100 12207 100.0% 133.3% 50.0% 80.3%
9600 325 400 4 1 2 128 1300 163 6104 81.3% 66.7% 81.3% 76.4%
X300 325 400 4 1 2 128 1300 163 6104 81.3% 66.7% 81.3% 76.4%
GFFX 5600U 350 700 4 1 1 128 1400 88 10681 87.5% 116.7% 43.8% 70.2%
9600 SE 325 400 4 1 2 64 1300 163 3052 81.3% 33.3% 81.3% 65.3%
X300 SE 325 400 4 1 2 64 1300 163 3052 81.3% 33.3% 81.3% 65.3%
GFFX 5200U 325 650 4 1 1 128 1300 81 9918 81.3% 108.3% 40.6% 65.2%
9550 250 400 4 1 2 128 1000 125 6104 62.5% 66.7% 62.5% 63.9%
GFFX 5700LE 250 400 4 1 3 128 1000 188 6104 62.5% 66.7% 93.8% 63.2%
GFFX 5600 325 500 4 1 1 128 1300 81 7629 81.3% 83.3% 40.6% 58.1%
9550 SE 250 400 4 1 2 64 1000 125 3052 62.5% 33.3% 62.5% 52.8%
GFFX 5500 270 400 4 1 1 128 1080 68 6104 67.5% 66.7% 33.8% 47.6%
GFFX 5200 250 400 4 1 1 128 1000 63 6104 62.5% 66.7% 31.3% 45.5%
GFFX 5600XT 235 400 4 1 1 128 940 59 6104 58.8% 66.7% 29.4% 43.9%
GFFX 5200LE 250 400 4 1 1 64 1000 63 3052 62.5% 33.3% 31.3% 36.0%
* RAM clock is the effective clock speed, so 250 MHz DDR is listed as 500 MHz.
** Textures/Pipeline is the maximum number of texture lookups per pipeline.
*** NVIDIA says their GFFX cards have a "vertex array", but in practice it generally functions as indicated.
**** Single-texturing fill rate = core speed * pixel pipelines
+ Multi-texturing fill rate = core speed * maximum textures per pipe * pixel pipelines
++ Vertex rates can vary by implementation. The listed values reflect the manufacturers' advertised rates.
+++ Bandwidth is expressed in actual MB/s, where 1 MB = 1024 KB = 1048576 Bytes.
++++ Relative performance is normalized to the Radeon 9600 pro, but these values are at best a rough estimate.

There are numerous footnotes that are worth pointing out, just in case some people missed them. For starters, the memory bandwidth is something that many people may not like. Normally, all companies list MB/s and GB/s calculating MB as one million bytes and GB as one billion bytes. That's incorrect, but since everyone does it, it begins to not matter. However, in this chart, real MB/s values are listed, so they will all be lower than what the graphics card makers advertise.

Fill rate can also be calculated in various ways, and for ATI's older Radeon cards (the DX7 models), they could apply three textures per pipeline per pass, or so they claimed. Two of the texture lookups, however, had to use the same texture, which made it a little less useful. Anyway, these are all purely theoretical numbers, and it is almost impossible to say how accurate they are in the real world without some specialized tools. To date, no one has created "real world" tools that measure these values, and they probably never will, so we are stuck with synthetic benchmarks at best. Basically, don't take the fill rate scores too seriously.

You can read the remaining footnotes above, and they should be self-explanatory. We just wanted to clarify those two points up front, and they apply to all of the performance charts. Now, on to the comments specifically related to DirectX 9.

The most important thing to point out first is that this chart has an additional weighting. This is due to the discrepancies in features and performance that exist among the various models of DirectX 9 hardware. The biggest concern is the theoretical performance of the GeForce FX cards. Most people should know this by now, but simply put the FX cards do not manage to live up to expectations at all when running DirectX 9 code. In DirectX 8.1 and earlier, the theoretical performance is a relatively accurate reflection of the real world, but overall the cards are far from perfect. We felt that the initial sorting was so unrealistic that a further weighting of the scores was in order, however you can view the unweighted chart if you wish. Newer features help improve performance at the same clock speed for cards as well, for example the optimizations to the memory controller in the GF6 line make the 6800 vanilla a faster card in almost all cases compared to the FX5950U and 9800 Pro cards. In fact, the GF6 cards are really only beaten by the X800 cards, and that's still not always the case.

The weighting used was relatively simple (and arbitrary). After averaging the fill rate, bandwidth and vertex rate scores, we multiply the result by a weighting factor.

NV3x Series: 0.85
R3xx Series: 1.00
R4xx Series: 1.10
NV4x Series: 1.20

This gives a rough approximation of how the features and architectural differences play out. Also note that certain chips lack some of the more specialized hardware optimizations, so while theoretical performance of the 5200U appears better than the 5600 and 5700LE, in most situations it ends up slower. Similarly, the X600 Pro and X300 chips should beat the 9600 Pro and 9600 chips in real performance, as the RV370 and RV380 probably contain a few optimizations and enhancements. They are also PCI Express parts, but that is not something to really worry about. PCI Express, at least for the time being, seems to be of little impact in actual performance - sometimes it's a little faster, sometimes it's a little slower. If you're looking at buying a PCIe based system for the other parts, that's fine, but we recommend that you don't waste your money on such an expensive system solely for PCIe - by the time PCIe really has a performance lead, today's systems will need upgrading anyway.

If you refer back to the earlier charts, you will notice that the X600 and X300 do not include any of the SM2.0b features. This is not a mistake - only the forthcoming X700 cards will bring the new features to ATI's mid-range cards. This is in contrast to the 6600 cards, which are functionally identical to the 6800 cards, only with fewer pipelines. The X700 is likely to have a performance advantage over the 6600 in many situations, as it will have a full six vertex pipelines compared to three vertex pipelines on the 6600. Should the 6800LE become widely available, however, it could end up the champion of the $200 and under segment, as the 256-bit memory bus may be more important than clock speeds. Having more than 25 GB/s of memory bandwidth does not always help performance without extremely fast graphics cores, but having less than 16 GB/s can slow things down. We'll find out how things play out in a few months.

The need, for speed Bring on the Crazy Eighty Eight!
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  • MODEL 3 - Wednesday, September 8, 2004 - link

    A lot of mistakes for a professional hardware review site the size of Anandtech.I will only mention the de facto mistakes since I have doubts for more.I am actually surprised about the amount of mistakes in this article.I mean since I live in Greece (not the center of the world in 3d technology or hardware market) I always thought that the editors in the best hardware review sites of the world (like Anandtech) have at least the basic knowledge related to technology and they make research and doublecheck if their articles are correct.I mean they get paid, right?I mean if I can find so easily their mistakes (I have no technology related degree although I was purchase and product manager in the best Greek IT companies) they must be doing something very,very wrong indeed.Now onto the mistakes:
    ATI :
    X700 6 vertex pipelines: Actually this is no mistake since I have no information about this new part but it seems strange if X700 will have the same (6) vertex pipelines as X800XT.I guess more logical would be half as many (3) (like 6800Ultra-6600GT) or double as many as X600 (4).We will see.
    Radeon VE 183/183: The actual speed was 166/166SDR 128bit for ATI parts and as low as 143/143 for 3rd party bulk part
    Radeon 7000 PCI 166/333 The actual speed was 166/166SDR 128bit for ATI parts and as low as 143/143 for 3rd party bulk part (note that anandtech suggests 166DDR and the correct is 166 SDR)
    Radeon 7000 AGP 183/366 32/64(MB): The actual speed was 166/166SDR for ATI parts and as low as 143/143 for 3rd party bulk part (note that anandtech suggests 166DDR and the correct is 166 SDR) also at launch and for a whole year (if ever) it didn't exist a 64MB part
    Radeon 7200 64bit ram bus: The 7200 was exactly the same as Radeon DDR so the ram bus width was 128bit
    ATI has unofficial DX 9 with SM2.0b support: Actually ATI has official DX 9.0b support and Microsoft certified this "in between" version of DX9.When they enable their 2.0b feutures they don't fail WHQL compliance since 2.0b is official microsoft version (get it?).Feutures like 3Dc normal map compression are activated only in open GL mode but 3Dc compression is not part of DX9.0b.
    NVIDIA:
    GF 6800LE with 8 pixel pipelines has according to Anandtech 5 vertex pipelines: Actually this is no mistake since I have no information about this part but since 6800GT/Ultra is built with four (4) quads with 4 pixel pipelines each isn't more logical the 6800LE with half the quads to have half the pixel (8) AND half (3) the vertex pipelines?
    GFFX 5700 3 vertex pipelines: GFFX 5700 has half the number of pixel AND vertex pipelines of 5900 so if you convert the vertex array of 5900 into 3 vertex pipes (which is correct) then the 5700 would have 1,5
    GF4 4600 300/600: The actual speed is 300/325DDR 128bit
    GF2MX 175/333: The actual speed is 175/166SDR 128bit
    GF4MX series 0.5 vertex shader: Actually the GF4MX series had twice the amount of vertex shaders of GF2 so the correct number of vertex shader is 1
    According to Anandtech, the GF3 cards only show a slight performance increase over the GF2 Ultra, and that is only in more recent games : Actually GF3 (Q1 01) was based in 0,18 nm technology and the yields was extremely low.In reality GF3 parts in acceptable quantity came in Q3 01 with GF3Ti series 0,15 nm technology .If you check the performance in open GL games at and after Q3 01 and DX8 games at and after Q3 02 you will clearly see GF3 to have double the performance of GF2 clock for clock (GF3Ti500 Vs GF2Ultra)

    Now, the rest of the article is not bad and I also appreciate the effort.
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Wednesday, September 8, 2004 - link

    Sorry, ViRGE - I actually took your suggestion to heart and updated page 3 initially, since you are right about it being more common. However, I forgot to modify the DX7 performance charts. There are probably quite a few other corrections that should be made as well.... Reply
  • ViRGE - Tuesday, September 7, 2004 - link

    Jared, like I said, you're technically right about how the GF2 MX could be outfitted with either 128bit SDR or 64bit SDR/DDR, but you said it yourself that the cards were mostly 128bit SDR. Obviously any change won't have an impact, but in my humble opinion, it would be best to change the GF2 MX to better represent what historically happened, so that if someone uses this chart as a reference for a GF2 MX, they're more likely to be getting the "right" data. Reply
  • BigLan - Tuesday, September 7, 2004 - link

    Good job with the article

    Love the office reference...

    "Can I put it in my mouth?"
    Reply
  • darth_beavis - Tuesday, September 7, 2004 - link

    Sorry, now it's suddenly working. I don't know what my problem is (but I'm sure it's hard to pronounce). Reply
  • darth_beavis - Tuesday, September 7, 2004 - link

    Actually it looks like none of them have labels. Is anandtech not mozilla compatible or something. Just use jpgs pleaz. Reply
  • darth_beavis - Tuesday, September 7, 2004 - link

    Why is there no descriptions for the columns on the graph on pg 2. Are just supposed to guess what the numbers mean? Reply
  • JarredWalton - Tuesday, September 7, 2004 - link

    Yes, Questar, laden with errors. All over the place. Thanks for pointing them out so that they could be corrected. I'm sure that took you quite some time.

    Seriously, though, point them out (other than omissions, as making a complete list of every single variation of every single card would be difficult at best) and we will be happy to correct them provided that they actually are incorrect. And if you really want a card included, send the details of the card, and we can add that as well.

    Regarding the ATI AIW (All In Wonder, for those that don't know) cards, they often varied from the clock and RAM speeds of the standard chips. Later models may have faster RAM or core speeds, while earlier models often had slower RAM and core speeds.
    Reply
  • blckgrffn - Tuesday, September 7, 2004 - link

    Questar - if you don't like it, leave. The article clearly stated its bounds and did a great job. My $.02 - the 7500 AIW is 64 meg DDR only, unsure of the speed however. Do you want me to check that out? Reply
  • mikecel79 - Tuesday, September 7, 2004 - link

    #22 The Geforce256 was released in October of 1999 so this is roughly the last 5 years of chips from ATI and Nvidia. If it were to include all other manufacturers it would be quite a bit longer.

    How about examples of this article being "laden or errors" instead of just stating it.
    Reply

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