ATI and Nvidia's Same-Day Mega-Launch Mayhem

Test Setup

It is amazing to think that a game that once was hard for graphics cards is now only limited by the rest of the system. This is not uncommon for many games now, especially in a multi-GPU setup. At Quakecon 2004, a year and a half ago the world cried out in agony as their graphics cards came to a crawl under this Open GL application. Current cards just snicker at the workload and push out the frame rates. Half-Life 2 was a good overall system game until cards stated chewing through the code. We switched to Half-Life 2: Lost Coast to get content that was more demanding like HDR. This title too has fallen by the wayside for the high-end cards.

All three of these games are good for comparing the midrange and below but we need more games to cripple these new cards. Only time will tell what GDC and E3 hold in store for us.

System Hardware
Processor(s) AMD Athlon 64 FX-57
2.8GHz, 1.0GHz Bus, 1MB L2 cache
Platform Asus AN8-SLI Premium
NVIDIA nForce4 SLI, BIOS 1003 - BIOS version 1005
ATI Xpress 200 CrossFire Edition - Reference
ATI Xpress 200, BIOS version 02.58
RAM Corsair CMX1024-4400Pro
2x 1024 MB @ DDR400 (CL3.0-4-4-8)
Hard Drive Western Digital Raptor, WD740GD
74 GB, 10,000 rpm, 8 MB cache, SATA150
Networking On-Board nForce4 Gigabit Ethernet
Graphics Cards NVIDIA GeForce 7900 GTX 512MB GDDR3 650MHz Core 800MHz Memory
NVIDIA GeForce 7900 GT 512MB GDDR3 600MHz Core 800MHz Memory
NVIDIA GeForce 7600 GT 256MB GDDR3 550MHz Core 1.7 GHz Memory
ATI Radeon X1900XTX 512MB GDDR3 650MHz Core 1.55GHz Memory
ATI Radeon X1900XT CrossFire Edition 512MB GDDR3 625MHz Core 1.45GHz Memory
ATI Radeon X1800GTO 256MB GDDR3 625MHz Core 1.50GHz Memory
Power Supply PC Power & Cooling Turbo-Cool 1,000W
System Software & Drivers
OS Microsoft Windows XP Professional 5.10.2600, Service Pack 2
DirectX Version 9.0c (4.09.0000.0904)
Platform Driver Asus - nForce 6.65
ATI X200 Reference
Graphics Driver(s) ATI - Catalyst 6.2 WHQL
NVIDIA - Forceware 84. Non-WHQL