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.
Since we're looking at a very expensive board, we also want to take a hard look at the difference in performance levels of a slightly older design to see if it merits the high cost for an upgrade. With prices for the X800 XT boards hovering in the US$500 range, we need to see if it is really worth shelling out that much money.
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 9.0b and SP1 installed as well as all critical updates in place. I decided to stay away from SP2 and DirectX 9.0c since these are not readily available to the public yet. I realize many readers will already have these updates, but I am trying to make it as easy as possible for others to duplicate my testing methodology so they can compare results with their own systems.
As a final note to system setup, I am using the latest nForce drivers as well as Catalyst v4.7 for both video boards. I decided to stay away from the beta 4.9 version since they tend to favor the X800 over the 9800 Pro and we're looking at this board as an upgrade path.
Since we need to see what we're dealing with from a performance standpoint, we'll go ahead and take a look at the test system too.
Chenming ATX-602 Aluminum Case (Supplied by Hardware Cooling)
DFI LANParty NFII Ultra B (Supplied by DFI)
AMD Athlon XP 2400+ Mobile Processor @ 2305MHz
Swiftech H2O-8600 Water Cooler (Supplied by Swiftech)
512MB OCZ PC3500 Platinum DDR Memory (Supplied by OCZ)
Western Digital 80GB Hard Drive
So what are we waiting for... let's see if this thing is all its cracked up to be!
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- Sapphire X800 XT - Page 1 [Introduction]
- Sapphire X800 XT - Page 2 [In The Box]
- Sapphire X800 XT - Page 3 [The Video Board]
- Sapphire X800 XT - Page 4 [The Video Board ~ Cont.]
- Sapphire X800 XT - Page 5 [Benchmarks - Test System Setup and Methodology]
- Sapphire X800 XT - Page 6 [Benchmarks - Futuremark]
- Sapphire X800 XT - Page 7 [Benchmarks - AquaMark 3]
- Sapphire X800 XT - Page 8 [Benchmarks - Quake III Arena]
- Sapphire X800 XT - Page 9 [Benchmarks - Unreal Tournament 2004]
- Sapphire X800 XT - Page 10 [Benchmarks - Doom 3]
- Sapphire X800 XT - Page 11 [AA/AF Quality]
- Sapphire X800 XT - Page 12 [Overclocking and Conclusion]
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