PCI-Express Roundup: Mainstream Video Card Mania!

Videocards/VGA Reviews by JNav89GT @ 2004-12-25

PCI-Express if firmly upon us, Intel has seen to this and AMD will be joining the fray shortly. A few select individuals have been able to obtain high end samples of PCI-Express cards, however for most people these cards are simply priced out of their reach. This leaves the mainstream segment, and as this name suggests, the mainstream cards are targeted at the average consumer. So will "average" do for you? Let's find out!

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System Setup

System Setup:

JNav89GT's Test Setup
CPU Intel P4 530 Retail-3.0GHz LGA 775
Mainboard Chaintech Zenith V915P
Memory Corsair TwinX 1024-4400C25-Timings of 2.5 3:3:8 used for all testing
Video ATI Radeon X700Pro, Abit RX600 Pro Uguru, Gigabyte 5900PCX
Cooling TTIC NPH-775-1
Power Supply Zippy 460W (PSL-6701P)
Operating System Windows XP SP2

The Chaintech motherboard I am using for testing has been a joy to work with. I would like to thank Ruby at Chaintech USA for sending us this sample that will be used in a future socket 775 comparison article. Originally, I had intended to use my MSI 915G combo board and DDR2 memory, however a faulty mosfet ended my testing approximately mid-way through data collection, and I was unable to get replacement board from reseller as they were out of stock. This gave me a perfect excuse to try the Chaintech board and I was not disappointed. Good overclocking abilities were demonstrated during this data collection process, although I did need to basically start from scratch again due to different board/platform being used.

For testing, each of the cards were benchmarked with the CPU at default FSB/3.0GHz, 240FSB/3.6GHz (highest stable 3D for PCX5900) and again at 250FSB for a final overclock of 3.75GHz on the 530 LGA 3.0GHz CPU. Benches for this higher level are blank for the PCX5900 as of course the video card and system would not post with this card installed at the higher bus levels. The Abit card I decided to bench at default or non-turbo and also turbo speeds to illustrate any advantages of running the card in turbo mode, which is an extra feature of this card.

Benchmarks used are as follows:

  • Futuremark 3DMark 2001SE
  • Futuremark 3DMark03
  • Futuremark 3DMark05
  • UT 2003 DM-Antalus 102x768x32 High Details
  • Doom3 640x480-Low Details (no tweaks)
  • Doom3 1024x768-High Details (no tweaks)
  • Far Cry 1.1-PC Games Hardware Demo 1024x768x32-High Details

    Onto the results ->
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