The Competition

ATI has been very aggressive as of late, and we have been quite happy with what we have seen so far. After their circuit design setback with the X1800 last year, ATI really turned things around and offered the X1900 lineup in rather quick succession. Before today, the X1900 was clearly the king of the hill in all things graphics. With the new RD580 chipset from ATI offering 2x x16 PCI Express slots, Crossfire is looking better than ever as well. The comparison at the high end is very exciting: it's never been a better time to be a graphics enthusiast with tons of excess money.

At the same time, the midrange is heating up as well. With prices on the X1600 looking good, the new pressure on NVIDIA from ATI's upcoming X1800 GTO (which we unfortunately don't have), and solid products like the 6800 GS and 7800 GT already out there, the 7600 GT is a welcome addition in price/performance.

So we can get a good idea of what we will be working with, we are providing tables comparing the features of the high end cards and mid range cards we will be testing from NVIDIA and ATI. CrossFire and SLI will be looked at as well.

NVIDIA Graphics Card Specifications
  Vert Pipes Pixel Pipes Raster Pipes Core Clock Mem Clock Mem Size (MB) Mem Bus (bits) Price
GeForce 7900 GTX 8 24 16 650 800 512 256 ~$500+
GeForce 7900 GT 8 24 16 450 660 256 256 ~$325
GeForce 7800 GTX 512 8 24 16 550 850 512 256 $600+
GeForce 7800 GTX 8 24 16 430 600 256 256 $450
GeForce 7800 GT 8 20 16 400 500 256 256 $300
GeForce 7600 GT 5 12 8 560 700 256 128 ~$200
GeForce 6800 GS 5 12 8 425 500 256 256 $180

ATI Graphics Card Specifications
  Vert Pipes Pixel Pipes Raster Pipes Core Clock Mem Clock Mem Size (MB) Mem Bus (bits) Price
Radeon X1900 XTX 8 48 16 650 775 512 256 $600+
Radeon X1900 XT 8 48 16 625 725 512 256 $500
Radeon X1600 XT 5 12 4 590 690 256 128 $150

We will also be including SLI and CrossFire setups for these cards in all cases but for the X1600 XT. Unfortunately, during testing one of our X1600 cards decided to roll over and die (such is the price of working with engineering samples and prerelease products). The other card we would love to have included is the X1800 GTO which has 12 pixel pipes and is clocked similarly to the X1800 XL. As we mentioned previously, ATI didn't get a card to us for testing.

For our comparison, we have decided to test all applications with 4xAA and 8xAF in all tests but Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory. For Splinter Cell we are testing with SM3.0 options enabled and AA disabled as the game doesn't allow both to be set while playing. With all of this power available, our opinion is that AA is worth enabling in just about any situation. The visual quality benefit, even at high resolutions, is well worth it.

NVIDIA's Die Shrink: The 7900 and 7600 The Test and Power


View All Comments

  • redlotus - Thursday, March 9, 2006 - link

    Where the heck is the X3: Reunion rolling demo benchmark? I was all geeked when AT reviewed it and said "it will make a fine addition to our round of benchmarks." Well then when the heck are you going to start using it? I have yet to see it being used for any of the articles posted since the review. Reply
  • DerekWilson - Thursday, March 9, 2006 - link

    We really will be including X3 in our benchmarks ^_^;;

    The benchmark does take quite a long time and we needed to optimize our performance testing in order to make sure we could get the article up for the launch.

    As I have mentioned, we will be doing a follow up article, and I will look into including the X3 demo.

    Derek Wilson
  • 5150Joker - Thursday, March 9, 2006 - link

    Check out these discrepancies with Anandtech's review, boy has this site been going downhill lately:

    From your older review:">

    Then today's review:">

    How did the XTX Crossfire lose 11 FPS with a very mild bump in resolution? Worst yet, their editors didn't even mention which drivers they used for their review.
  • Cygni - Friday, March 10, 2006 - link


    Check out these discrepancies with Anandtech's review, boy has this site been going downhill lately:

    Wow, its like numbers change with different motherboards, chipsets, and driver revisions. ALRET THE PRESS!
  • Spinne - Thursday, March 9, 2006 - link

    That is really odd. I'd expect the numbers to swing a little, but 11 fps is 25% of 44fps. Could they be using different benchmarks? Atleast they aren't simply using the numbers from the X1900 review and are actually retesting stuff. Reply
  • DerekWilson - Thursday, March 9, 2006 - link

    We retested with an updated motherboard (RD580) and an updated driver (CAT 6.2).

    We used the same test for F.E.A.R. (the built in performance test).

    I'm not sure why performance would drop in this case.
  • DerekWilson - Thursday, March 9, 2006 - link

    I've been looking into this, and we also are now using F.E.A.R. 1.03 rather than 1.02 which we used last time.

    I retested the x1900 xtx crossfire and got the same results. I'm really not sure what happened with this, but I'll keep poking around.
  • munky - Thursday, March 9, 2006 - link

    FEAR is one game where the x1900's have had a big lead over the 7800's, and your results from today just done make sense. How does a x1900xtx get 59fps at 1280x1024, when the gtx512 also get 59 and the 7900gtx ges 63? Comapare it to the results from another site -"> At 1280x960 they place the xtx at 57fps, the 7900gtx at 46, and the gtx512 at 44, which are more inline with the results I have seen before. Reply
  • DigitalFreak - Thursday, March 9, 2006 - link

    There is a known bug in the current drivers that causes a performance drop with the 7900GTX in FEAR. Check our HardOCP's preview, where they use the updated driver from Nvidia. FEAR scores are the same or higher than the 1900XT(x) Reply
  • DerekWilson - Thursday, March 9, 2006 - link

    We went back and updated our performance numbers with the afore mentioned driver fix.

    NVIDIA released it to the press late in the weekend, but we felt the performance increase was important enough to retest with the new driver.

    I haven't read Scott's article at the Tech Report yet, so I don't know what driver he used.

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