The Radeon 9800 XT with OverDrive is right at the top of the ATI performance line, and it's important we give this powerhouse adequate room to breath. Our reference system consists of a Pentium 4-3.2 GHz processor, an i875P AGP 8X motherboard, and 2x256-MB of DDR400. This supplies the requisite horsepower for our testing, and gives the needed headroom to truly separate the high-end video cards for comparison.
For this benchmark comparison, we're really concentrating on the ATI side of things, and to see exactly how the Radeon 9800 XT OD stacks up against their current high-end video cards. Our video card comparison group is comprised of the Radeon 9800 XT (standard clock speeds), the Radeon 9800 Pro, and the Radeon 9700 Pro.
Our operating system is Windows XP Pro SP1 with DirectX 9b, and all video cards have been tested with AGP 8X and Fast Writes enabled. The ATI drivers are the latest Catalyst 3.8 revision, which enable OD technology in the Radeon 9800 XT.
Our game benchmark selection includes the standard tests such as Quake 3: Arena, 3DMark 2001SE Pro, UT 2003, and Return to Castle Wolfenstein, as well as some newer DirectX 9 benchmarks like 3DMark 2003, GunMetal and Aquamark 3, along with Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory for a bit higher-end Quake engine-based benchmarking. All testing has been performed using standard 32-bit settings, along with several anti-aliasing and anisotropic filtering charts alongside the standard tests. For these tests, 4X AA and 8X AF settings have been used, which are representative of the detail settings for high-end gamers.
* Please note that unless otherwise stated, all performance graph results equate to the standard "higher is better" format.