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Test Setup

NVIDIA GeForce 6600 GT Comes To THG's Lab
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For our test setup we chose an Intel D925XCV desktop motherboard based on the i925 chipset, featuring PCI Express and running an Intel Pentium 4 540 processor clocked at 3.2 GHz. For comparison, we also tested the PCI Express cards GeForce 6800 GT, a GeForce PCX 5750, a Radeon X800 XT (non PE), and a Radeon X600. On an AGP system with i875 and P4 3.2 GHz CPU we also ran scores with a GeForce FX 5950. It is very interesting to run the 8-pipe NV38 vs. the 8-pipe NV43. There is a small difference in system performance between our 925 and 875 test system, but internal tests between equivalent NVIDIA PCIe and AGP models showed only minor differences of 1FPS or less. Finally, we also tried to show the estimated performance of the vanilla GeForce 6600 by underclocking the GT model.

For our benchmark suite we compiled a number of popular and important games and benchmarks as well as a few new releases that make heavy use of pixel and vertex shaders. Since most games don’t feature their own built-in benchmark mode, we used the tool FRAPS to determine the frame rates. You can find more details on the games and benchmarks we used in the table below. We did not run FSAA/AF with all cards. The GeForce PCX 5750, for example, does not deliver playable frame rates in most games with 4xAA/8xAF. Benchmarks with 5FPS take ages, so we decided to skip those.

One more note on driver optimizations before we begin. In its new driver release v65.76, NVIDIA has implemented a number of changes, read "optimizations", so that this release now behaves in a manner similar to ATI’s drivers. Fortunately, NVIDIA’s drivers offer an option to disable these optimizations. Nonetheless, we tested all cards of both chipmakers with the default driver settings. We will take a closer look at the resulting image quality of the optimizations in an upcoming article, as we preferred to include a greater number of benchmarks and games here instead. Besides, NVIDIA’s v65.76 beta driver only seems like an interim solution. The next official driver release will most likely carry a higher version number.

PCI Express Test System
CPU Intel Pentium 4 3.2 GHz
FSB 200 MHz
Motherboard Intel D876 PBZ
Memory 4x Corsair CMX256A-3200LL DDR, 1024 MB
HDD Seagate Barracude 7200.7 120 GB S-ATA (8 MB)
DVD Hitachi GD-7000
LAN Netgear FA-312
Power Supply Antec True Control 550W
AGP Test System
CPU Intel Pentium 4 3.2 GHz
FSB 200 MHz
Motherboard Intel D925 XCV
Memory 2x Micron DDRII, 533 MHz, 1024 MB
HDD Seagate Barracude 7200.7 120 GB S-ATA (8 MB)
DVD Hitachi GD-7000
LAN Netgear FA-312
Power Supply Antec True Control 550W
Drivers & Configuration
Graphics ATI Catalyst v4.8
NVIDIA v65.75
Chipset Intel Inf. Update
OS Windows XP Prof. SP1a
DirectX DirectX 9.0c
Graphic cards used in this article
ATI Radeon X800 XT PCIe (500/1000 MHz)
Radeon X600 XT PCIe (500/740 MHz)
NVIDIA GeForce 6800 GT PCIe (350/1000)
GeForce 6600 GT PCIe (500/1000)
GeForce 6600 PCIe (GT UC->300/550)
GeForce PCX 5750 PCIe (425/550)
GeForce FX 5950 Ultra AGP (475/950 MHz)
Benchmarks
3DMark 2003 Standard Resolution
AquaMark 3 Triscore
Unreal Tournament 2004 Custom Timedemo
Max Details/Quality
Map : Assault-FallenCity
Call Of Duty Max Details/Quality
Demo : VGA
Doom3 Demo : Demo1
High Quality
Farcry
v1.1
Custom Timedemo cooler01
Very High Quality
Flashlight : On
Flight Simulator 2004 Custom Video
Custom Quality
Scenario : Hong Kong at Dusk
Joint Operations
v1.3.15
FRAPS
Training Aircraft
Quality Setting
Battlefield Vietnam
v1.1
FRAPS
Max Details/Quality
Map : Ho Chi Minh Trail
DTM Race Driver2
v1.1
Custom Replay
FRAPS
Max Details/Quality
Nurburgring at rain
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