XFX GF 8800GTX XXX Overclocked Video Card Review :: Test System and Procedures

01-02-2007 · Category: Hardware - Video Cards

By Benjamin Sun

We've finalized our new test platform for video cards for a while. I've decided to expand our test suite to include 8 relatively current games and the two latest 3DMarks. The games list includes: F.E.A.R., Call Of Duty 2, Oblivion, Quake 4 from our previous test suite. The new games include: Dark Messiah Might and Magic, Need For Speed Carbon, Battlefield 2142 and Tomb Raider Legend. I thought I'd go over the test procedures, as the tests are new.

The first addition to our test suite is Tomb Raider Legends. This is the latest game starring Lara Croft in a series that started with the launch of the original Playstation game console many years ago (1994). I chose this game because it uses Pixel Shader 3.0 effects in the Next Generation Content. I use FRAPs to do a walkthrough of the first level of the game from the first broken bridge to the temple with the sliding floor. This offers a lot of gameplay including jumping, shooting and pushing objects.

Battlefield 2142 is the latest game in the Electronics Arts series that started with Battlefield 1942. A squad based FPS that is mainly played online, it nonetheless can be benchmarked. I used the instructions from Hardware Secrets to make a custom demo. Using FRAPs through the timedemo, the benchmark is reproducible to within a percent or two and is a good measure of performance.

Might and Magic is the long running RPG series that started on the Apple II computer many years ago. Since the first game, nine sequels and various spin-offs over the years, Might and Magic has now been brought to the FPS by Ubisoft. I chose Might and Magic due to the use of the Source engine, beautiful graphics and fun. I chose to use FRAPs on the entire Prologue from the first walkthrough to the Crystal Chamber.

Racing games are a long-missing benchmark from most reviews on the net in my opinion. Need For Speed Carbon is the latest game from EA in the long running series. Featuring incredible graphics, multiple courses it is a lot of fun. I decided to use a Sprint course on the Quick Race options to benchmark. I used FRAPs to record a complete run of a race.

The new GeForce 8800GTX cards are the only ones capable of true 8X MSAA at the moment and don't support 6x as the ATI cards do. This is the inauguration of our new test suite with no AA and no AF and 4x AA and 16x AF modes. If ATI releases a card that does similar modes to NVIDIA's with their forthcoming R600, I will compare. For my purposes, 4x AA and 16x AF is ok, as otherwise I'd be comparing one card against no competition.


Test System

  • AMD Athlon FX-62 CPU
  • 2GB Crucial Ballistix DDR2 667 MHz memory
  • 2 74GB Western Digital Raptor SATA HDDs 10000 RPM
  • XFX GF 8800GTX 630M 768M Dual DVI TV XXX Edition running 97.44 Forceware
  • ASUS 16X DVD-ROM
  • Ultra X-Finity 600W PSU
  • Windows XP with SP2
  • DirectX 9.0c

Tests

  • 3dmark06 1280x1024, 1600x1200, 1920x1200, 2048x1536 default run
  • 3dmark05 1280x1024, 1600x1200, 1920x1200, 2048x1536 default run
  • FEAR 1280x960, 1600x1200, 2048x1536 no AA no AF, 4x AA 16x AF Performance Demo max settings except no Soft Shadows
  • Oblivion 1280x1024, 1600x1200, 1920x1200, 2048x1536 no AA no AF, HDR enabled. Custom walkthrough of Anvil
  • COD2 1280x1024, 1600x1200, 1920x1200, 2048x1536, no AA no AF, 4x AA 16x AF Custom timedemo
  • Quake4 1280x1024, 1600x1200, 2048x1536, no AA no AF, 4x AA 16x AF, Custom Timedemo of first level, HQ settings
  • Dark Messiah Might and Magic 1280x1024, 1600x1200, 2048x1536 no AA no AF, 4x AA 16x AF Custom walkthrough of Prologue using FRAPs, max settings
  • Need For Speed Carbon 1280x1024, 1600x1200 no AA no AF, 4x AA 16x AF, Custom Quick Race using FRAPs, maximum settings
  • Battlefield 2142, 1280x1024, 1600x1200, 2048x1536, no AA no AF, 4x AA 16x AF, Custom Timedemo using FRAPs, max settings
  • Tomb Raider Legend 1280x1024, 1600x1200, 2048x1536, no AA no AF, 4x AA 16x AF, Custom walkthrough of first level up to the Temple using FRAPs, max settings