In this article we’ll take a closer look at the performance of ATI’s latest high end card, compared to NVIDIA’s top card. Both cards offer plenty of headroom when using the latest games. In our first review of the ATI HD 4870 X2 vs NVIDIA Geforce GTX 280
we found that you do not want to invest in these products if you don’t own a high end CPU and
have a high resolution monitor.
If your game setup is up to the challenge you’ll find this review interesting as we’ll be using a multitude of Anti-Aliasing settings to see how each card handles the extra rendering load. The HD 4870 X2 GPU can access its onboard 2Gb GDDR5 and this should give it an edge once the resolution and AA levels are increased. By how much you’ll find out on the following pages.
The second effect on performance we liked to investigate was the OS. Our previous review was done with Windows XP SP3. While the majority of users out there are still using XP, those into gaming and multi-GPU high end configurations are more likely to use Vista, and to be able to use more than 3Gb system memory, 64-bit Vista.
So we’ll investigate AA performance in XP SP3 (32-bit) and Vista SP1 (64-bit).
Which OS will offer the best gaming performance?Test Setup & Benchmarks
We build our test setup with the help of Tones.be
(Belgian’s Largest Hardware Shop!) who helped us with the hard drives, CPUs and monitors, MSI
for the motherboards, OCZ
for the memory, Coolermaster
for the cases and power supplies and last but not least, Scythe
for the silent CPU coolers.
We like to thank Sapphire
for providing the HD 4870 X2 for test and Leadtek
for their Winfast GTX 280. Without their support this article would not have been possible.At the time of writing the system we build would cost you approximately ~€1200 without the VGA card. While it’s not a budget system, it’s also far from high end as we’re using a DDR2 motherboard and a mid-range Wolfdale CPU. Combining it with a €300+ VGA card does place it in the more expensive bracket when it comes down to building a game machine.
One of the costs for a system is the monitor for sure, the system price mentioned above includes this screen, a SAMSUNG Syncmaster 2493HM 24inch, it has a native resolution of 1920x1200 this screen offers quite low 5ms latency. Again this screen is mid-range as more expensive models are available, but the resolution of most 26”~27” screens remains the same at 1920x1200 resolution. You need to invest into a 30” to go higher to 2560x1600 at which point you will be spending a pretty hefty sum.
OS: Windows XP SP3 and Windows Vista SP1 64-bit
NVIDIA Drivers: Forceware 177.41
ATI Drivers: Catalyst 8.8 (8.52.2)
These are the games we tested:
Devil May Cry 4
Unreal Tournament 3
The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion
Tomb Raider Legend
All tests were done at 1920x1200, the test setup had 2Gb of ram unless otherwise noted.