The XFX GeForce FX 5900 Ultra 256-MB is squaring off against the powerful Radeon 9800 Pro, so we're sticking with our high-end test configuration. 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 horsepower we need to rigorous game testing, and gives the needed headroom to truly separate the high-end video cards for comparison.
For this review, we're taking the XFX GeForce FX 5900 Ultra up against the gamut of high-end ATI cards. These include the Radeon 9800 XT (with and without OverDrive enabled), the Radeon 9800 Pro, and the Radeon 9700 Pro. This is more than a standard video card comparison, as it also gives us a great opportunity to test the performance and image quality of NVIDIA Forceware 52.16 drivers against the ATI Catalyst 3.8 revision. 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.
Our game benchmark selection includes the standard tests such as Quake 3: Arena, 3DMark 2001SE Pro, UT 2003, and Return to Castle Wolfenstein, 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.