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Swapping Old Chips For New

The Fastest 3D Cards Go Head-To-Head

Swapping a GeForce 9800 GX2 for a GTX 280 provides slight benefits in Crysis and in World in Conflict (at high resolution with anti-aliasing), but the dual-chip card had minor optimization problems in the test. In the other games, the increases are beyond 60, 80 or 100 fps.

Taking an older GeForce 8800 GTS 512 and putting in a new GTX 260 will actually only show visible improvements in World in Conflict. In Mass Effect, the new GTX 260 brings slight benefits with anti-aliasing at high resolutions—you actually feel the effects of the faster memory. In Crysis the increases are good, but the frame rates remain under 25 fps.

If you add the Radeon HD 4850 to this comparison, the results don’t get much better. The AMD chip provides benefits in World in Conflict and leaves the competition way behind.

A change from the Radeon HD 3850 to the Radeon HD 4850 brings visibly more power. The UT3 Engine (Mass Effect) responds particularly well to the new graphics chip. Assassin’s Creed and World in Conflict reach smooth playing ranges, with excellent optimization of DirectX 10 and anti-aliasing.

The change from the Radeon HD 3870 to the HD 4870 is similar to that going from the 3850 to the 4850—the UT3 Engine of Mass Effect runs better, and Assassin’s Creed and World in Conflict can be played more smoothly with full graphics quality and high resolutions.

Changing from the dual-chip card with the Radeon HD 3870 X2 to the new HD 4870 isn’t very sensible. The difference in performance in the lower regions is too low. But for a new purchase, you should take advantage of the additional performance and go straight for the Radeon HD 4870.

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