Test Setup & Methodology
|Processor||Intel Core Duo e4300 @ 2.25 GHz, 1400 FSB, 2 MB Cache|
|Motherboard||ASUS P5B, BIOS: 1604|
|RAM||Wintec Ampo PC2-6400, 2x 1024 MB, CAS 5.0-5-5-16|
|Hard Drive||Western Digital Caviar WD2500JS250 GB, 7200 RPM, 8 MB Cache, SATA 300|
|Networking||Realtec onboard RTL8168/8111 Gigabit Ethernet NIC|
|Graphics Cards||Powercolor Radeon 2600 XT, 256 MB RAMSapphire Radeon 2600 XT Ultimate, 256 MB RAMNvidia GeForce 8600 GT, 256 MB RAM|
|Power Supply||Thermaltake Toughpower 1200w|
|System Software & Drivers|
|OS||Microsoft Windows XP Pro 5.1.2600|
|DirectX Version||9.0c (4.09.0000.0904)|
|Platform Driver||Intel INF 126.96.36.1992|
|Graphics Driver||ATI Catalyst 7.8Nvidia ForceWare 162.18|
First off, I'd like to make it clear that we chose to limit testing to Windows XP and DirectX 9. The amount of folks with both Vista and a DirectX 10 card out there is still relatively miniscule at this time, and we'll cover the DirectX 10 angle in the future when there's a little more meat on the subject - specifically, when Crysis is released.
The Sapphire and Powercolor flavors of the 2600 XT have identical clock speeds and any performance differences were within the margin of error in our testing. To eliminate redundancy and make the graphs easy to read, we only published one set of results for the 2600 XT.
The test system is running an e4300 processor, with a very mild overclock to 2.25 GHz to simulate processors a little higher on the food chain.