Author: Matthew Kemp (kempez)
Hardware Acquired: Powercolor
How we tested
With the pure speed of cards out on the market at the moment I tend to focus on gameplay in my reviews. I will play each of the test suite games on as high settings as I could possibly play them at while maintaining a frame rate that is enjoyable to play at. If the quality of the gaming looks the same at different settings then I will choose the setting with the best FPS. This differs from game to game and person to person but I play a lot of games and have played with a lot of graphics cards so I hope that I can impart a decent opinion.
To offset this angle I also run a test suite of 3dMark03, 05 and 06. These will give you some numbers on what the cards perform like at stock speeds, for comparison. I also ran 3dMark06 after overclocking the cards - to see how much of an effect the overclocking will make. Overclocking was performed using the "Overdrive" facility in ATI's drivers.
For this high-end card I am using an overclocked Core2Duo E6600 running at 3.33GHz. Hopefully this will rule out as much bottleneck caused by the processor as possible.
Intel Core2Duo E6600 @ 3.33GHz
Asus P5W Dh Deluxe
GSkill PC2 6400 running at SPD (CAS 5) due to motherboard restrictions
HDD: OS - 160gb Hitachi Deskstar SATA II
HDD: Gaming - 2 x 40gb Hitachi Deskstars in RAID 0
Sound: HDA Digital X-Mystique
Power: PCP&C 510 SLi
Case: Lian Li PC75b Project <<|Black3D|>>
For installation I have installed the card as usual with the normal PCI-E power dongle. Checked that the card is seated correctly and powered on. I am using a clean install of Windows XP Professional SP2 with all the latest patches.
For the X1950XT-X I am using modified drivers provided by Powercolor, adopted from the ATI Catalyst 6.8's.
For the nVidia cards I am using nVidia's latest official forceware drivers - 91.31.
Powercolor X1950XT-X. clock Speed: 650. Memory speed: 2000 (1000)
I am using some reference numbers from my previous reviews on the following cards. Please note these were done on an AMD Opteron system clocked at 2.8GHz and so the figures are not 100% directly comparible.
Club3d 7900GTX 512mb. Clock Speed: 650. Memory Speed: 1600 (800)
Sapphire X1900XTX 512mb. Clock Speed: 650. Memory Speed: 1550 (775).