ABIT KV8-MAX3: Athlon 64 3200+ (10x200: 2GHz), 2 x 512MB Kingston HyperX PC4000 (2.5-3-3-6), HIS Excalibur 9600 XT Turbo, 120GB Western Digital SE 8MB Cache, Windows XP SP1, VIA Hyperion 4in1 drivers 4.51, ATI Catalyst 4.2.
HIS Excalibur 9600 XT Turbo
Comparison hardware will be the MSI FX 5700 Ultra and the AIW Radeon 9600 Pro.
Test Software will be:
Unreal Tournament 2003
Call of Duty
We'll also be covering image quality and overclocking after the gaming benchmarks. was used to measure in-game performance which we feel is a better representation of actual gameplay performance, rather than an average attained in a timedemo.
For those of you who don't know, there are a lot of problems with high levels of AA and some Direct 3D games, which happens to be the majority of those tested today. We'll present some games where we didn't experience abnormalities, but in many cases, 6xAA was faster than 4xAA, which cannot be, but was the case during benchmarks. All driver settings were set to balanced, except when turning on AA/AF, in which case the settings were set to quality.
Unreal Tournament 2003
We used the from [H]ard|OCP and selected the high quality batch run at all resolutions. We'll be presenting the Antalus benchmark, with AA/AF on and off.
Antalus - 1024x768, Maximum Quality
Antalus - 1280x1024, Maximum Quality
At all resolutions, and various AA and AF levels, the HIS Excalibur 9600 XT Turbo outpaces the 9600 Pro and FX5700 Ultra. UT2003 was very playable at both resolutions, though at 1280x1024, I don't really recommend turning AA/AF on as there were some noticable frame drops as the action got more intense.
Halo @ 1024x768 and 1280x1024 w/Fraps
For all Fraps benchmarks (except NHL 2004), we ran through a repeatable route through a level, and ended up with an average framerate reading which Fraps outputs to a log file. In the case of Halo, I went around the initial control room, did some key actions, and went into the energy powerup chamber.
Compared to the AIW 9600 Pro (the All-In-Wonder is a bit faster than the stock 9600 Pro), the 9600 XT gives us a nice boost in speed, though more so at higher resolution. The FX5700U hangs in there, but trails slightly behind.
We downloaded the NHL demo from EA, and allowed the computer to play through one period of Anaheim vs New Jersey. Fraps was used to capture the framerates of the action.
The graphics are quite impressive, though not too straining on many of today's more powerful video cards. Still, good framerates will matter as it could mean the difference from deking out an opponent, or stumbling into the boards. 1024x768 seems to be the sweetspot here, as 1280x1024 did get choppy when the action got more intense around the net.