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Comparing Chips And Configurations

Do New Drivers Really Boost Performance?
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Nvidia has revised the name of its graphics driver to reflect another round of confusing marketing (we weren’t particularly impressed with the naming of its newest mobile GPUs in our high-end notebook roundup). ForceWare has become GeForce. Anyone unfamiliar with the naming conventions will have trouble telling the difference between hardware GeForce GTX 280 and software GeForce 177.92.

Nvidia graphics cards
Chip Code name Memory GPU rate Shader Memory rate SPs
GeForce GTX 280 GT2001024 GDDR3 602 MHz 4.0, 1296 MHz 2214 MHz 240
GeForce 9600 GT G94 1024 MB GDDR3 650 MHz 4.0, 1625 MHz 1800 MHz 64

Chip Memory bus Manufacturing process Transistors Interface
GeForce GTX 280 512 bit 65 nm 1400 million PCIe 2.0
GeForce 9600 GT 256 bit 65 nm 505 million PCIe 2.0

ATI graphics cards
Chip Code name Memory GPU rate Shader Memory rate SPs
Radeon HD 4870 CF RV770 512 MB GDDR5 750 MHz 4.1 3600 MHz 800
Radeon HD 4870 RV770 512 MB GDDR5 750 MHz 4.1 3600 MHz 800

Chip Memory bus Manufacturing process Transistors Interface
Radeon HD 4870 CF 256 bit 55 nm 965 million PCIe 2.0
Radeon HD 4870 256 bit 55 nm 965 million PCIe 2.0

Memory rate=DDR clock rate doubled, physical rate is halved
DDR5 clock rate quadrupled, physical rate is a quarter
SPs=stream processors, P and V=Pixelshader and Vertexshader
TC=Turbo Cache
HM=Hyper Memory
OC=overclocked (clock rate higher than default)
SLI=Parallel operation with 2 Nvidia cards
3SLI=Parallel operation with 3 Nvidia graphics chips
4SLI=Parallel operation with 4 Nvidia graphics chips
CF=CrossFire parallel operation with 2 ATI cards
3CF=CrossFire parallel operation with 3 ATI graphics chips
4CF=CrossFire parallel operation with 4 ATI graphics chips
R680=2xRV670
Shader 2.0=DirectX 9.0, 3.0=DirectX 9.0c, 4.0=DirectX 10, Shader 4.1=DirectX 10.1

Nvidia single graphics cards, ATI single and CrossFire graphics cards
CPU Intel Core 2 Extreme X6800 @ 2.93 GHz (11x266 MHz),
Socket 775, 1.28 Volt, 65 nm, L2 cache 4096 KB
CPU overclocked Intel Core 2 Extreme X6800 @ 3.47 GHz (13x266 MHz)
FSB 1066 MHz (4x266 MHz)
Motherboard Asus P5E3 Deluxe, PCIe 2.0 2x16, ICH9R
Chip set Intel X38
Memory 2x1 GB, Ballistix (Crucial Technology) 1.5 Volt,
DDR3 1066 7-7-7-20 (2x533 MHz)
Audio Intel High Definition Audio
LAN Intel 1000 Pro
Drives Western Digital WD5000AAKS 500 GB, S-ATA, Cache 16 MB,
Hitachi 120 GB, S-ATA, Cache 8 MB
DVD Gigabyte GO-D1600C
Power Supply CoolerMaster RS-850-EMBA 850 Watt

Nvidia SLI graphics cards
Motherboard Asus P5N-T Deluxe, PCIe 2.0 2x16
Chip set Nvidia nForce 780i SLI
Memory 2x1 GB, A-Data Technology 1.8 Volt, DDR2 800 5-5-5-18 (2x400 MHz)
Audio ADI 1988B SoundMax
LAN Marvell 88E1116 Gigabit

Drivers & Configuration
Graphic Radeon HD 4870 and HD 4870 CrossFire ATI Catalyst 8.6 and 8.8
(8.7 for Quake Wars)
GeForce 9600 GT Nvidia ForceWare 175.16 and GeForce 177.92
GeForce GTX 280 ForceWare 177.39 and GeForce 177.92
Operating system Windows Vista Enterprise SP1
DirectX 10 and 10.1
Chip set driver X38 Intel 8.3.1.1009
780i Nvidia nForce 9.64

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