Test System Setup
Processor(s): AMD Athlon X2 3800+ (NOT supplied by AMD)
Motherboard(s): ASUS A8N SLI Premium (Supplied by ASUS)
Memory: 2 X 512MB Mushkin PC4000 DDR (Supplied by Mushkin)
Hard Disk(s): WD Raptor 74GB 10,000RPM SATA (Supplied by Western Digital)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows XP Professional SP1
Drivers: nVidia Forceware 78.01 and DX9c
We have finally with much pleasure got our hands on a brand new AMD Athlon X2 3800+ (Editor's Note: mind you, with no thanks to AMD - we had to find our own way of getting one while Intel just keeps throwing processors at us) so we can start removing some of the CPU bottleneck that we find we get when running an SLI 7800 GTX combination on an Intel processor. While we don't necessarily favor one over the other, both manufactures have their place on the market where they fit in best at the moment and AMD processors do offer better gaming performance.
With our new processor we have a new motherboard and the ASUS A8N SLI Premium (nForce4 SLI AMD) is the board of choice. With a bucket load of features, extra room between the PCI E slots, it was the perfect companion for the SLI 7800 GTX setup and the ONLY companion to the ASUS 7800GTX T.O.P as we needed the extra space between the slots due to the larger than normal coolers on the ASUS cards. Keep in mind the coolers are larger than usual (much wider than reference cards) so make sure if you're going to be running SLI, your motherboard will properly fit both cards.
With that out of the way, let's move onto the testing and see how the ASUS 7800 GTX T.O.P model compares against a regular 7800 GTX.
Version and / or Patch Used: Build 360
Developer Homepage: http://www.futuremark.com
Product Homepage: http://www.futuremark.com/products/3dmark03/
By combining full DX8 and partial DX9 support with completely new tests and graphics over the previous version, 3DMark03 continues the legacy of being the industry standard 3D benchmark.
Please Note: Due to recent events with the 3DMark03 series, we are adding results purely for those who are still in favor of 3DMark03. These results should not be taken too seriously and are only added for interest sakes.
At the lower resolution we can see quite a big jump in the single card solution when compared to a stock 7800 GTX. Similar numbers carry through on both the SLI setup and the higher resolution tests.
As you'd probably expect, we also see the SLI solution offering quite a noticeable score difference when compared to the single card solution.
Version and / or Patch Used: Build 120
Developer Homepage: http://www.futuremark.com
Product Homepage: http://www.futuremark.com/products/3dmark05/
3DMark05 is the latest version in the popular 3DMark "Gamers Benchmark" series. It includes a complete set of DX9 benchmarks which tests Shader Model 2.0 and higher.
For more information on the 3DMark05 benchmark, we recommend you read our preview here.
3DMark05 at the higher resolutions really benefits from the increased core and memory speed. While the difference can be seen at the lower resolution, it's not until we get to the higher resolution where it becomes really apparent. We can also see that the increase from single card to SLI is a lot greater at the higher resolution.
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