VGA Card Buyer's Guide 07/2003


In 99% of all cases, cards using the same chip will offer the same performance, regardless of manufacturer. This stems from the fact that both NVIDIA and ATi are keeping a watchful eye on the manufacturers to ensure that their specifications are being followed. Since all manufacturers also tend to use the same (version of the) reference driver, there are virtually no performance differences between the cards. They only differ in design (color), cooling solution and feature set.

For this reason we have decided to limit our benchmark tests to the reference cards of each of the models. However, if a manufacturer runs its card at a higher or lower speed than normal, we have made a note in the mini-review further down. Since it is possible that the manufacturers sent us models with more overclocking headroom (the "golden samples"), we didn't conduct overclocking tests. To get a representative result, we would have had to test five samples of the same card bought from different stores.

Test Setup

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Test SystemAMD Athlon XP 2700+ASUS A7N8X Deluxe (nForce 2)
Memory2 x 256 MB, PC 333 (2/2/2/5)
Drivers & Software
Graphics DriverATI - v. 3.5 ( - v44.03
DirectX Version on System9.0a
OSWindows XP Professional SP1
Benchmarks & Settings
UT 2003 FullRetail Version v2225Antalus Flyby
Quake 3 Team Arenav1.32Custom TimedemoMap: Overdose
GunemetalGunmetal Benchmark v1.20s