Mid Range Graphics Card CPU scaling

For mid-range cards we've got three from ATI and one from NVIDIA; as we've discovered in previous Half Life 2 articles, NVIDIA's last-generation mid-range cards are only reasonable performers in DirectX 8 mode, and we are conducting a fully DX9 comparison here so that excludes all of them. From ATI we've got the Radeon 9700 Pro, Radeon 9800 Pro and Radeon X700 Pro. We've also included the NVIDIA GeForce 6600GT, which as you will remember from our previous articles, performs very similarly to the GeForce 6800 non-ultra under Half Life 2.

Our mid-range tests were conducted at 1280 x 1024, the target resolution for most mid-range cards.

If you've got any of ATI's mid-range GPUs, you're stuck with severely diminishing returns after about 1.4 - 1.6GHz on the Athlon 64 (< 2800+ range). The GeForce 6600GT is far less GPU bound at 1280 x 1024 (and even at 1024 x 768 although not depicted here), and thus scales relatively well.

High End Graphics Card CPU Scaling Final Words


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  • dderidex - Wednesday, February 2, 2005 - link

    Quick question...

    On the 'cache comparison' on page 5, where they compare an A64 with 1mb cache to an A64 with 512k cache...

    What CPUs are they comparing?

    512k Socket 754 (single channel)
    1mb Socket 754 (single channel


    512k Socket 939 (dual channel)
    1mb Socket 939 (dual channel)


    512k Socket 754 (single channel)
    1mb Socket 939 (dual channel)


    No info is provided, so it's hard to really say what the numbers are showing.
  • doughtree - Tuesday, September 6, 2005 - link

    great article, next game you should do is battlefield 2! Reply
  • dsorrent - Monday, January 31, 2005 - link

    How come in all of the CPU comparisons, the AMD FX-53 is left out of the comparisons? Reply
  • PsharkJF - Monday, January 31, 2005 - link

    That has no bearing to half-life. Nice job, fanboy. Reply
  • levicki - Saturday, January 29, 2005 - link

    Btw, I have Pentium 4 520 and 6600 GT card and I prefer that combo over AMD+ATI anytime. I had a chance to work on AMD and I didn't like it -- no hyperthreading = bad feeling when working with few things at once. With my P4 I can compress DVD to DivX and play Need For Speed Underground 2 without a hitch. I had ATI (Sapphire 9600 Pro) and didn't like that crap too especially when OpenGL and drivers are concerned = too much crashing.
    Intel .vs. AMD -- people can argue for ages about that but my 2 cents are that musicians using Pentium 4 with HT get 0.67 ms latency with latest beta kX drivers for Creative cards and AMD owners get close to 5.8 ms. From a developer point of view Intel is much better choice too due to great support, compiler and documentation. So my next CPU will be LGA775 with EM64T (I already have a compatible mainboard) and not AMD which by the way has troubles with Winchester cores failing Prime 95 at stock speed.
  • Carfax - Saturday, January 29, 2005 - link

    Yeah, developers are so lazy that they will still use x87 for FP rather than SSE2, knowing that the latter will give better performance.

    Thats why the new 64-bit OS from MSoft will be a good thing. It will force developers to use SSE2/SSE3, because they have access to twice as many registers and the OS itself won't recognize x87 for 64-bit operations.
  • Barneyk - Saturday, January 29, 2005 - link

    I would've liked to se some benchmarks on older CPUs to, kinda dissapointed... Reply
  • levicki - Friday, January 28, 2005 - link

    I just wonder how would this test look like if it was made with 6800 Ultra instead with ATI X850 XT.

    Disabling SSE/SSE2 on Athlon and getting the same results as if they were enabled means that game is NOT OPTIMIZED. Using FPU math instead of SSE/SSE2 today is a sin. It could have been 3-4 times faster if they cared about optimizing the code.
  • Phantronius - Friday, January 28, 2005 - link


    Its because the Prescotts wern't better then the Northwoods to begin with, hence why don't see squat performance differences between them.
  • maestroH - Friday, January 28, 2005 - link

    Thx for your reply #56. Apologies for false '@9700pro' statement. Meant to say 'soft-modded with Omega driver to 9700pro'. Cheers. Reply

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