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ATI X1900 CrossFire

Having ditched the now irrelevant 3DMark 03, we can begin with 3DMark 05. Things start well with the X1900 CrossFire setup pulling in the fastest score we’ve yet seen – 13,512 - the new figure to beat. It outpaces the GeForce SLI rig all the way down - but it doesn’t blow away the NVIDIA card by any means.

3DMark06 however, is designed to really push the shader capabilities of future hardware. As this is where the X1900 is focussed we would expect it too leave the GeForce behind. However, it’s not completely convincing as at 1,024 x 768 and is only 187 points ahead. Only at 1,600 x 1,200 does the lead become appreciable, - 429 points and 627 points at 2,048 x 1,536.

Of course, you’ve probably noticed that there are no scores on the GeForce with a FSAA and AF. This is because the game tests in 3DMark 06 use 32-bit precision OpenEXR HDR and NVIDIA can’t run this in conjunction with anti-aliasing.

By contrast, in F.E.A.R the lead at 1,024 x 768 is much larger. However it’s cut dramatically once FSAA and AF are enabled. At 1,280 x 1,024 it disappears all together. At 1,600 x 1,200 it’s actually slower, which is probably a bug as the same happens at 2,048 x 1,536. However, once you enable FSAA and AF at both these resolutions it pulls away from the GeForce. At 1,600 x 1,200 the GeForce is still hitting 60fps, but it falls away at 2,048 x 1,536. At this resolution only the X1900 CrossFire will do.

In Far Cry, the X1900 CrossFire keeps up a consistent lead at all resolutions, without any anomalies, the highlight being a snip under 100fps at 1,600 x 1,200 with FSAA and AF enabled.

It’s more good news for ATI in the Source engine. It ‘ownz’ here, as Counter-Strike players would put it. In the HDR enabled Day of Defeat you’re looking at an average frame-rate of 86.5fps at 2,048 x 1,536 will everything on going up to 102.7fps in Half-Life 2. The GeForce SLI trails behind at 70 and 90fps respectively.

The only test ATI loses out in is in Doom 3 with only one winning result out of six runs. Despite improvements, ATI is clearly still behind in OpenGL games, though 112.4fps is not exactly to be sniffed at.

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