The Sapphire HD 2600 XT Ultimate 256MB is a mainstream graphics card, and competes with a wide range of ATI and NVIDIA-based products. To ensure that the platform is up to spec, we've used a high-end Intel reference system, featuring a 2.93 GHz Core 2 Extreme X6800 processor, 2x1GB of CAS4 DDR2-800, and an Intel 975X motherboard. This represents a high-end platform for performance video card benchmarking, without going too overboard, and makes sure our system configuration will not limit the benchmarks.
We've assembled a selection of competitive video cards, with both the entry-level and mainstream areas present and accounted for. These include the GeForce 8500 GT 256MB, GeForce 7600 GS 256MB, GeForce 7600 GT 256MB, GeForce 8600 GTS 256MB, and GeForce 7900 GS 256MB from the NVIDIA side, while the Radeon X1650 XT 256MB and Radeon X1950 Pro 256MB represent ATI. We have also updated our platforms to the ForceWare 163.69 and Catalyst 7.10 drivers. Since this is a DirectX 10 card, we have upgraded our operating system to Windows Vista Ultimate, as well as patch support up to November.
Our benchmark selection is a series of high-end game tests such as Crysis, Lost Planet (DirectX 9 & 10), Supreme Commander, Company of Heroes, F.E.A.R., 3DMark06 Advanced, Quake 4, DOOM 3, and FarCry. This represents a combination of many different game engines and feature sets, and all have proven stable and usable under Windows Vista.
Initial testing is performed using standard 1280x1024 and 1600x1200 32-bit settings, and then we move to the widescreen arena with high-end 4X anti-aliasing and 16X anisotropic filtering results at 1680x1050 and 1920x1200 resolutions (or similar, like 1920x1080, depending on game support). With widescreen gaming becoming so popular, this represents an area that many gamers will need covered.
* Please note that unless otherwise stated, all performance graph results equate to the standard "higher is better" format.
Desktop Resolution: 1920x1200
Color Depth: 32-bit
Intel Core 2 Reference System:
Processors: Core 2 Extreme X6800 (2.93 GHz)
Memory: 2 x 1GB Ultra DDDR2-800 (CAS4)
Motherboard: Intel D975XBX2
Motherboard chip set: Intel 975X
NVIDIA reference drivers: ForceWare 163.69
ATI reference drivers: Catalyst 7.10
Hard-Drive: Seagate Barracuda 750GB
IDE Interface: Serial ATA 3.0 Gb/s
CD/DVD: Samsung DVD-R SH-S162
Power Supply: Enermax EG651P-VE-24P 550W EPS12V
Operating System: Windows Vista Ultimate
Monitor: Dell 2407WFP 24" LCD
Sapphire HD 2600 XT Ultimate 256MB
GeForce 8500 GT 256MB
GeForce 7600 GS 256MB
Radeon X1650 XT 256MB
GeForce 7600 GT 256MB
GeForce 8600 GTS 256MB
GeForce 7900 GS 256MB
Radeon X1950 Pro 256MB