R420 & The Test

As previously mentioned, the R420 occupies an interesting position in ATI's GPU history, as it's neither something completely new, nor is it a complete rehash of a previous GPU. The R300 was a very strong design for ATI, so they had no need to replace the design completely when it only needed to be moderately upgraded to meet ATI's needs. The end result, of course, was additional pipelines, some new features, and expanding the pixel shading abilities of the card past the base Shader Model 2.0 specification. In theory then, the R420 should behave fairly similar to what we saw in the R300.

While the R420 launched when there was already ample and growing support in the marketplace for pixel and vertex shading, virtually all of our games this time around use shaders to some degree. The specific games/benchmarks tested this time were:

  • X2: The Threat
  • Final Fantasy XI, Benchmark 2
  • Doom 3
  • Half-Life 2
  • Far Cry
  • Battlefield 2
  • 3dMark 2005
  • D3DAFTester
Our benchmarking setup for this series remains unchanged, and is once again the following:

Benchmarking Testbed
Processor: AMD Athlon 64 3400+(S754)
Motherboard: Abit KV8-MAX3
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.

Index D3DAFTester


View All Comments

  • breethon - Wednesday, February 22, 2006 - link

    I never download the "FULL" package drivers from ATI. I always use the option "dial up - driver only"(the first of three options under the dial up links). I use atitool for any tweaking. I don't have the CCC (atleast I don't believe I do). Don't let the dial-up words trick you. I pull from ati.com just as fast as the broadband links. Hopefully this helps. Reply
  • archcommus - Wednesday, February 22, 2006 - link

    I'll admit the CCC takes a long time to load and is bloated, but if you disable it from startup and don't mess with the settings much, it's really not that bad. Reply
  • microAmp - Wednesday, February 22, 2006 - link

    If you search the Far Cry forums, there is a way to do a quick save, through the console, IIRC. Reply
  • archcommus - Wednesday, February 22, 2006 - link

    Yes, I wouldn't even bother playing the game without doing that, don't care for repeating things endlessly. Reply
  • wing0 - Wednesday, February 22, 2006 - link

    from all the comparison for 9700Pro, it seems to me that I should stick with my 5.7 cat? Reply
  • Cybercat - Wednesday, February 22, 2006 - link

    I do see a change in the shadows under the dock. I don't know if you could say it's better or worse though. Reply
  • Ryan Smith - Wednesday, February 22, 2006 - link

    That's actually fog. We couldn't get an exactly perfect screenshot because of the rolling fog(though we kept the scene because it does a good job showing everything), so there is a slight difference due to that. There are no differences however due to driver IQ changes. Reply
  • tfranzese - Wednesday, February 22, 2006 - link

    But is the CCC the cause of the increased boot time or is it the .NET Framework in general? I've never given CCC any use personally, just want to be sure that the distinction was made when you took the measurements. Reply
  • Ryan Smith - Wednesday, February 22, 2006 - link

    It was the CCC, the machine already had the .NET framework on it. Reply
  • Scrogneugneu - Wednesday, February 22, 2006 - link

    Yeah, but is the slowdown caused by the CCC itself, or by the .NET components loading because there was a .NET application launched?

    I believe the Framework won't load itself until one application requires it. If the CCC happens to be that application, then there's not much ATI can do about it. However, if it isn't... then they should definitively take a look at that (I'd rater have a better CCC than a "half-a-fps" faster driver).

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