NVIDIA, ATi Bring Five OpenGL Workstation Graphics for PCI Express to Market

Lab Notes

All the benchmark charts were produced with Hyper-Threading disabled. Preliminary tests have shown that the feature marketed with a great ballyhoo by Intel leads to small losses in performance in many workstation applications.

In our recent reviews, we were quite frustrated with the initial crashes caused by inadequately developed drivers. As a result, we were in constant contact with the manufacturers until all the bugs had been fixed. This also required repeating entire series of tests. Therefore, we approached this test with some apprehension.

This time we were rather pleasantly surprised because everything worked fine the first time, in spite of the new PCI Express interface. Both manufacturers supplied drivers that were already WHQL-certified. And in the case of ATi, the drivers were at a level that exploited the hardware functions to the maximum.

For the workstation we used a platform based on the E7525/Tumwater chipset from Intel. The Supermicro X6DA8-G2 motherboard is fitted with two 3.6 GHz Xeon processors. The CPUs are based on the Nocona core. The two GB of Infineon memory (PC3200/DDR2-400 CL3, Reg ECC) provides plenty of memory capacity.

Uwe Scheffel