Test System Setup
When it comes to testing video boards, you have to take a look at what the board was designed to do. This usually falls into two categories; gaming or CAD. Since we're talking about a performance gaming board here, we'll be looking primarily at how it performs in both synthetic and real-world gaming tests.
To accommodate these goals, we're going to run a series of tests that consist of the following utilities and programs:
Quake III Arena
Unreal Tournament 2004 (full version)
All utilities and games have been patched to their most recent versions with the exception of Quake III Arena. I still use the original released version since anything after the first couple of patches forces the loss of the use of the standard Demo files. Color depth for all tests will be conducted at 32-bit so we can see those true colors in all their glory.
The test system will be running Windows XP Professional with DirectX 9.0c and SP1 installed as well as all critical updates in place. I am using the latest mainboard drivers as well as Catalyst v5.7 for the video board.
ABIT AV8 Motherboard (Supplied by ABIT)
AMD Athlon 64 FX-53 Processor (Supplied by Newegg.com)
2x 512MB Mushkin PC3500 "Redline" Memory (Supplied by Mushkin)
Thermaltake PurePower 480-watt Butterfly (Supplied by Thermaltake)
Western Digital 80GB SATA Hard Drive
Version and / or Patch Used: v3.0
Developer Homepage: http://www.massive.de
Product Homepage: http://www.aquamark3.com
AquaMark 3 is the latest installment of the AquaMark benchmark suite. This newer benchmark is much more powerful and demands much more from both the system and the graphics card. If there is any weakness in the system or 3D components, AquaMark 3 will find them.
While not a huge difference in overall scores, the X850 series shows higher results from the AquaMark 3 benchmarking utility. This particular benchmark is known to be graphic board dependent so any increase here is a good thing.
How much does it cost?