Test System Details
The test system detailed below was installed with Vista Ultimate Edition x64 SP1 and consisted of the following components:
- Intel E8500 Core 2 Duo (3.16GHz)
- ASUS Maximus Formula X38 chipset motherboard
- 4GB OCZ Reaper DDR2 1066 memory
- WD VelociRaptor 300GB hard drive
- Plextor PX-712S DVD drive
- Creative Labs SoundBlaster X-Fi sound card
- Dell 3007WFP 30” LCD
- Corsair HX620W PSU
The X38 Express chipset supports dual x16 PCI Express 2.0 ports. The latest BIOS and chipset and add-in component drivers were installed and all test applications patched. The control panels for both manufacturers’ GPUs were set to application-controlled for features such as anti-aliasing or anisotropic filtering whenever the test application allowed for control over those settings; otherwise, they were forced via the control panels. All testing was conducted with 4x anti-aliasing and 16x anisotropic filtering enabled and high quality filtering was used at all times. FRAPS 2.9.4 was installed to record frame rates for applications that do not produce their own performance results. The following resolutions were used:
SimHQ used the following applications for our testing today and details per application configuration can be found in the test results section:
- Call of Duty 4
- World in Conflict
- Race Driver: GRID
- 3DMark Vantage
As with our Radeon HD 4850 preview, SimHQ decided to test the above applications under high settings. We did not, however, test the HD 4850s at the two higher resolutions because we felt that anyone with a display, LCD or CRT, that supports such high resolutions would probably not be looking at $200 GPUs as an upgrade. Driver versions used for each board were as follows:
- Radeon HD 4850: Catalyst 8.6 Hotfix
- Radeon HD 4870: Catalyst 8.6 Hotfix
- GeForce GTX 280: 177.41
|As a side note, SimHQ would like to briefly discuss the titles used in this Preview. Multiple readers recently expressed concern in the Article Feedback Forum that SimHQ was remiss for not including a traditional simulation line-up in theRadeon HD 4850 Performance Preview. The Preview was done this way for several reasons listed below.Simulations have traditionally been known as “CPU-bound” in their performance characteristics, which simply means their frame rate is tied to the processing capabilities of the test system’s CPU. Given an adequate video card, the more stout the CPU, the better the sim would perform. A fast CPU would see a title scale its frame rates much better.
Conversly, if a users current video card is adequate for running a sim, installing a significantly faster graphics card could result in little fps increase, especially when scaled over multiple resolutions. Yes, there would be a benefit of the new graphic effects from the latest technology, but the frame rates may stay relatively the same. So for example, an older title like EAW will not provide significantly increased frame rates on a newer card versus an older card.
This presents a challenge to GPU hardware testing, especially since the simulations market is currently in a gap waiting for 5-6 significant new titles to arrive that hopefully will “push” GPU technology. SimHQ has used 1946, GTR2 and other traditional sim titles until they have become dated in showing newer GPU performance.
SimHQ plans on detailing to our readers how and why we test and showing the performance of multiple sims as to how the GPU and CPU affect titles in an upcoming article. We hope that will further explain the reasoning behind our methods. SimHQ is looking at some additional sim testing in previews and reviews that should prove valuable to readers in future articles.
ATI Radeon® HD4870
NVIDIA GeForce® GTX 280