3DMark06 Advanced is the latest version in this popular 3DMark series of gaming benchmarks from Futuremark, and is the first to showcase new HDR/SM3.0 and SM2.0 graphics tests, as well as offering dual core tailored CPU tests. The Feature tests have also been enhanced for the newest 3D support, and to provide reliable measurements for game hardware of today, and tomorrow. This is one very serious game test, which punishes cards that do not support HDR/SM3.0 or SM2.0, and really puts video hardware to the next-generation test.
3DMark06 Advanced is a mix of high-end performance and features testing and this is another benchmark that highlights both pure performance and a SM3.0 architecture. The ASUS EAX1650XT 256MB performed extremely well in this test, outpacing the mainstream GeForce 7600 GT 256MB at both resolutions, and even coming close to the more high-end Radeon X1800 XL 256MB. Please note that since the GeForce 6600 GT has only 128MB of memory, it cannot complete the test at 1600x1200.
The overall rankings don't really change once the higher-end AA/AF detail settings are enabled, but the ASUS EAX1650XT 256MB does improve its positioning slightly. In the Radeon X1650 GT vs. GeForce 7600 GT battle, the ASUS board still proves to be the superior 3DMark performer, and now comes even closer to the Radeon X1800 XL.
The next part of our 3DMark06 Advanced testing utilizes the Feature Test portion of the benchmark (at the standard 1280x1024 resolution), and concentrates on the Fill Rate and Vertex and Pixel Shader performance. We also present the SM2.0 and SM3.0/HDR results here as well. The first chart shows the cards ranked by Fill Rate performance, with the number displayed representing MTexels/second, while the second chart has the cards ranked by Vertex and Pixel Shader performance, with the number displayed representing MVertices/second.
The Fill Rate benchmark tests isolates the architecture of the Radeon X1650 XT, and shows why it languishes a bit with older games, while powering ahead with many SM3.0 benchmarks. The eight pixel pipelines, while an upgrade over the four found on the Radeon X1600 XT, simply cannot equal the 12, 16 and 24 pipeline designs of the other cards, and it falls back of the other mainstream contenders.
The 3DMark06 Advanced Pixel and Vertex Shader benchmark results (displayed as MVertices/second) tell a very different tale, and now the ASUS EAX1650XT 256MB manages to match up well against the GeForce 7600 GT in Pixel Shader testing, while annihilating the field in Vertex Shader: Complex benchmarking. This last one may seem strange at first, until you factor in that both the Radeon X1650 XT and X1800 XL sport eight vertex shaders, while the X1650 XT is clocked higher and has the newer core.