Test System and Quality Settings

Test System

Video Card Test System Setup

CPU

AMD Athlon 64 4000+

Motherboards

MSI K8N Neo2 nForce3 Ultra

Power Supply 

Antec 460 watt

Memory 

2x512MB Corsair PC3200LL DDR

Hard Drive

250GB Maxtor 7200RPM SATA

Sound Card

Creative Labs Live!

Video Card

ATI X800 XT Platinum Edition
ATI X800 XT
ATI X800 Pro
ATI 9800 Pro
NVIDIA 6800 Ultra OC
NVIDIA 6800 Ultra
NVIDIA 6800 GT
NVIDIA 6800 OC
NVIDIA 6600 GT

Video Drivers

NVIDIA 67.02 BETA
ATI Catalyst 4.12 BETA

DirectX Version

DX 9.0c

Operating System

Windows XP w/ Service Pack 1

Graph Breakdown

As I mentioned before, we have a LOT of data here.  One hundred and forty-four graphs in total.  That’s a lot, so here’s how it is broken down for easy reading.

First, we have seperated the testing into groups of each demo.  Then we have seperated all those results into three categories: Ultra High End Cards, High End Cards, and Mid-Range Cards.  The Ultra High End Cards consist of the X800 XT PE, X800 XT, 6800 Ultra OC, and 6800 Ultra.  The High End Cards include the 6800 GT and the X800 Pro.  Finally, the Mid-Range cards are the 6800 OC, 6600GT, and 9800 Pro.  I seperated them this way to showcase what performance you are getting based on the cost of the card.  All the Ultra High end cards are priced above $500, if you can find them, the high end cards are priced at $400 and, the mid range cards are $300 and below. 

I think you’ll find this method to simplify things quite a bit.  Oh, and it was completely impossible to get 9 data sets on a line graph to be legible. 

Quality Settings

For our testing, we ran benchmarks at 1024×768, 1280×960, and 1600×1200 resolutions.  For each of those resolutions, we ran the tests at both 0xAA / 0xAF and 4xAA/ 8xAF settings. 

Half-Life 2: Performance Testing - Graphics Cards 163

IQ Settings for our 0xAA and 0xAF tests

Half-Life 2: Performance Testing - Graphics Cards 164

IQ Settings for our 4xAA and 8xAF tests

Now, let’s move on to the hordes of data.

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