OpenGL: ATi FireGL X2-256t and NVIDIA Quadro FX 1100

Test Configuration

All the details in the following relate solely to the performance comparison, which is also included in the rating.

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Common Hardware
WorkstationHP Workstation xw4100
ProcessorIntel P4 3.2 GHz (HT disabled on WinXP)
HarddiskSeagate Barracuda 7200.7 (80 GB, SATA)
MotherboardHP DURAY (Intel 875 chipset)
System Memory1 GB (4x256 MB Infineon PC3200/DDR400 CL3, ECC)
OpenGL Graphics Cards
ATi OpenGL cardsFireGL X2-256FireGL X2-256t
NVIDIA/PNY OpenGL cardsQuadro FX 1000 (128 MB)Quadro FX 1100 (128 MB)
Drivers & Settings
ATI FireGL series6.14.10.6404 and FireGL 3dsm plugin
NVIDIA Quadro FX series6.14.10.5303
3dsm drivers for Quadro FX seriesMaxtreme 3dsm plugin 4.00.29 (version 6.00.04 was evaluated)
Resolution1280x1024x32, Vsync=off
Operating SystemWindows XP
Viewperf (synthetic)SPECopc Viewperf 7.1a
Solidworks (Application)SPECapc Solidworks 2003 SP5.5 benchmark
3D Studio Max (Application)SPECapc 3DSMAX 4.2.6 benchmark

Lab Notes

All the benchmark charts were generated with HyperThreading disabled. Preliminary tests have revealed that the feature marketed so loudly by Intel leads to slight performance losses in numerous workstation applications.

Unlike in earlier tests, with this review, we are changing operating systems from Windows 2000 to Windows XP. While most benchmark results are still published under Microsoft's old OS at , the vast majority of new systems available are based on Windows XP.

A comparison of the values with our article Graphics Boosters For OpenGL Workstations is no longer possible since, besides changing the operating system, Solidworks was also run with Service Pack 5.5 (SP 0.0 at that time). Moreover, a CPU with a slower clock frequency was used back then.

In recent months, we have received numerous e-mails asking us why we still run the application benchmark SPECapc 3D Studio Max in version 4.2.6, particularly since version 6 is already available on the market. This is due to the development of the official benchmark scripts. Unfortunately, there is still no script for 3DSM6, which runs reliably. We believe that it shows SPEC up for having failed thus far to bring out a new benchmark for such a popular program. Tests conducted with the supplied files on 3DSM 6 tutorial CD unfortunately produced a set of unusable results, which we are not publishing. The new, and supposedly better, Maxtreme-6 driver from NVIDIA did not change anything in this regard either.

Uwe Scheffel