Mainstream GeForce 8 Series Round-Up: MSI & Gigabyte

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The HotHardware Test Systems
AMD Athlon 64 X2 Powered

Hardware Used:
AMD Athlon 64 X2 5200+
(2.6GHz)


ASUS M2A-VM HDMI
(AMD 690G)

2GB PC24200 DDR2
(2x1GB)


GIGABYTE GV-NX86S256H
MSI NX8600GT-T2D256H
MSI NX8500GT-TD256H
ATI Radeon X1950 Pro

GeForce 7600 GT2

On-board Ethernet
On-board Audio

WD 74GB "Raptor" DD
10,000 RPM SATA

Relevant Software:
Windows XP Professional SP2
DirectX 9.0c (August Redist.)
nForce Drivers v9.35

NVIDIA Forceware v93.71/158.22
ATI Catalyst v7.4

Benchmarks Used:

DirectX
3DMark06 v1.1.0
F.E.A.R. v1.08
Half Life 2: Lost Coast
 

OpenGL
Quake 4 v1.3
Prey

Performance Comparisons with 3DMark06 v1.1.0
Details: http://www.futuremark.com/products/3dmark06/

3DMark06
3DMark06 is the latest addition to the 3DMark franchise. This version differs from 3Dmark05 in a number of ways, and now includes not only Shader Model 2.0 tests, but Shader Model 3.0 and HDR tests as well. Some of the assets from 3DMark05 have been re-used, but the scenes are now rendered with much more geometric detail and the shader complexity is vastly increased as well. Max shader length in 3DMark05 was 96 instructions, while 3DMark06 ups the number of instructions to 512. 3DMark06 also employs much more lighting, and there is extensive use of soft shadows. With 3DMark06, Futuremark has also updated how the final score is tabulated. In this latest version of the benchmark, SM 2.0 and HDR / SM3.0 tests are weighted and the CPU score is factored into the final tally as well.

3dmk1.PNG

3dmk2.PNG

3dmk3.PNG

In all three segments of 3DMark06 testing, each card scaled similarly.  The Gigabyte GeForce 8600GTS was the front runner, with the ATI Radeon X1950 Pro a close second in the Default and SM 3.0/HDR test.  With SM 2.0 testing, the MSI NX8600GT took the second spot behind the 8600GTS, with the Radeon X1950 Pro easily topping the 8500GT and 7600GT.

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