Installation is pretty much what you would expect just a case of removing your old card drivers, clicking no on the reboot, then shutting down and swapping out the cards, once this is done and everything is secure, just power up and install new drivers.
Testing involves using the usual 3dMark05/06 as well as using fraps to watch the Min, avg, and Max FPS gained by the card at different resolutions. This way we can give, you lot an idea of what to expect from this card when you put it in your machine.
With CoreDuo 6600 @ 334FSB
Non removable disks
1 x Western Digital Raptor X
4 x Seagate 250-GB Sata I I
Pioneer 16x speed D/L
Silverstone Strider 850W
The games used to test the FPS on were Half-Life 2, F.E.A.R, Quake4
3dMark is a graphics test created by the people at Futuremark. There is a lot of discussion about the relevance of such tests, and personally I think the only thing they provide is a reference for similar cards. Because of driver optimization, etc, the best thing I think test suites can be used for is performance testing with the same card at different clock speeds and different settings. Futuremark have recently released the 06 version of 3dMark, but the 2005 is still used by lots of people so I will be testing with both. Here is a list of the different technology used by the 2 versions:
As you can see 3dMark 06 introduces new technology like SM3.0 and HDR, as well as optimizations for dual core. There is also a huge increase in shader complexity and smooth shadows, both becoming main features of new games.
As you can see the difference in the results with this test score the card scores below when clocked the result given with the card at no clock with any AA or AF.
As mentioned before we use fraps to monitor FPS why in game, each resolution was monitored for ten minutes and the min, max and avg results received are taken. This gives us the end users a chance to see what the real game performance is like.
Pretty impressive when you think that this is with HDR on, shows there is still life in the old X1900XTX yet.
FEAR is one intense game and to play smoothly really needs a machine with 2 gig of ram and a sorted Graphics card. To run this game at a high res with all effects on either a SLi setup would be needed or a card with 512mb of ram
Fear was still a bit of a surprise as I thought this card would handle the 1600x1200 resolution but the frame drop was really noticeable when the action got heavy on the screen.
Quake was playable at all 1600x1200 with no major frame loss effecting the game while playing for the test I did not even spot the drop to 32 FPS so it must not of happened enough, but with an avg of 51 FPS the game can be enjoyed at such high res.
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