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Game Performance, Continued

Graphics Card Quiet: Gigabyte's Silent-Pipe II Cooling
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X3: Reunion is a very demanding game, but it's playable on all the tested cards with 2x anti-aliasing activated. The 7600 GT continues to nip at the heels of the X1800 XL in these resolutions with no or low levels of anti-aliasing. The X3 engine appears to like pixel shader power, as the X1600 XT makes a good showing here as well, even though it's very fill rate limited.

Need for Speed: Most Wanted is a pretty demanding title, but the engine scales down well, and with a few details tweaked, you can still get great performance and gorgeous visuals from most contemporary video cards. At 2x anti-aliasing, the 7600 GT still runs close to the X1800 XL. The X1600 XT is humbled a bit in this title, however.

Probably the most demanding game to date, this is the only benchmark we ran at 800x600 and 1024x768 instead of 1024x768 and 1280x1024. The reasons are obvious: all of the cards tested struggle for playable frame rates with this title. Another title that uses OpenEXR HDR, the game was benchmarked in the worst case scenario with grass distance set on full to see how the cards would handle it. The X1600 XT does relatively well but is playable only at 800x600 at these settings, while the 7600 GT is barely playable at 1024x768, and even then only because this title is an RPG and not a 'twitch' game like a first person shooter. The X1800 XL does a bit better with a 26fps average at 1024x768, and it doesn't sound like much over 22 fps but it seems a lot smoother in the game. While we turned grass to maximum for this benchmark, I wouldn't recommend that setting for game play as it would probably be more fun with it off.

And 3dMark '05 completes our benchmarking suite. The Gigabyte 7600 GT scores just shy of 6000, which is very respectable. The X1800 Xl naturally does better, and the X1600 scores disproportionately high as 3dMark is a pixel-shader intense benchmark and the X1600 has good pixel shader power. However, as you can see up above, that doesn't translate into equivalent gaming performance in a lot of titles.

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