A couple of systems were used to test performance. The new Intel-based system was used to test single GPU performance while an existing AMD-based system was used to test multi-GPU, or SLI, performance. The Intel-based system features Gigabyte's GA-965P-DS3 motherboard, which is based on the P965 Express Chipset and has a single PCI Express 16x slot.
Gigabyte GA-965P-DS3 Motherboard
Click Image to Enlarge - 555x712
As a sidenote, a formidable gaming system was created after flashing the GA-965P-DS3 to system BIOS version F4 and outfitting the system with a GeForce 7950 GX2.
Western Digital Raptor 74GB HDD (1), 10000RPM, 4.5ms Avg Seek, 8MB Buffer, SATA
Western Digital Caviar 80GB HDD (2), 7200RPM, 8.9ms Avg Seek, 8MB Buffer, ATA-100
Creative Sound Blaster Audigy 2 ZS Soundcard
Enermax EG701AX-VE 600W Power Supply
Dell 3007FPW 30-Inch LCD Monitor
32-Bit Color / Vsync Disabled / 60Hz Refresh Rate
Windows XP Professional with Service Pack 2 / DirectX 9.0c
Graphics Cards and Drivers
XFX GeForce 7900 GS - 480MHz Core/700MHz Memory
EVGA GeForce 7900 GS KO - 500MHz Core/690MHz Memory
ForceWare Beta Driver 91.47
Doom 3 - v1.3.1302
F.E.A.R. - v1.07
The XFX GeForce 7900 GS was used to test Doom 3 performance on the Intel-based system.
The EVGA GeForce 7900 GS was used to test F.E.A.R. performance on the Intel-based system.
Both graphics cards were combined in an SLI configuration to test performance on the AMD-based system.
Antialiasing and anisotropic filtering were application controlled unless otherwise noted.
Texture filtering optimizations were off (disabled).
In-game graphics settings were configured to their highest quality.
SINGLE GPU PERFORMANCE
Single GPU performance was tested with the Intel-based system. Using the XFX GeForce 7900 GS, Doom 3 performance is compared to the BFG GeForce 7800 GTX OC, which debuted in June of 2005 at a suggested price of $599.
Doom 3 Performance
Incredible. In just over a year, NVIDIA has brought the performance offered by a $599 graphics card down to the mainstream price of $199. Thinking about an effective upgrade in anticipation of Enemy Territory Quake Wars?
Note that at the detected optimal frequencies, the average frame rate of the XFX GeForce 7900 GS increased from 77 to 86 frames per second (fps) at 1600x1200 with 2X AA and from 57 to 63 fps at 1600x1200 with 4X AA. For the image quality aficionado, the XFX GeForce 7900 GS achieved an average frame rate of 55 fps with 8X AA at 1024x768.
Now we turn our attention to the EVGA GeForce 7900 GS KO, which was used to test F.E.A.R. performance.
In F.E.A.R, the EVGA GeForce 7900 GS KO outperforms the BFG GeForce 7800 GTX CO.
Here is a useful tidbit. NVIDIA's driver control panel allows custom resolutions to be created, which is an excellent performance tweaking feature.
For example, at a resolution of 1600x1200 with 2X AA, the EVGA GeForce 7900 GS KO achieved an average frame rate of 46 fps. That might be a bit low for some of you, so go ahead and create a custom resolution of 1400x1050. The resolution will be available as an option in F.E.A.R. and in this test, the average frame rate at 1400x1050 was 59 fps!