|Sapphire Radeon HD 4890 RV790 Video Card|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Video Cards|
|Written by Olin Coles|
|Friday, 03 April 2009|
Page 6 of 15
3DMark06 Test Results
3DMark is a computer benchmark by Futuremark (formerly named Mad Onion) to determine the DirectX 9 performance of 3D game performance with graphics cards. 3DMark06 uses advanced real-time 3D game workloads to measure PC performance using a suite of DirectX 9 3D graphics tests, CPU tests, and 3D feature tests.
3DMark06 tests include all new HDR/SM3.0 graphics tests, SM2.0 graphics tests, AI and physics driven single and multiple cores or processor CPU tests and a collection of comprehensive feature tests to reliably measure next generation gaming performance today. Some enthusiasts may note that Benchmark Reviews does not include CPU-bound tests in our benchmark battery, and that only graphic-bound tests are included.
Here at Benchmark Reviews, we believe that synthetic benchmark tools are just as valuable as video games, but only so long as you're comparing apples to apples. Since the same test is applied in the same controlled method with each test run, I believe 3DMark is a very reliable tool for comparing graphic cards against one-another.
Shader Model 2.0
Our first series of synthetic tests are performed at 1680x1050, and demands only 1.764 megapixels from the graphics card. Beginning with Shader Model 2.0 tests, Return to Proxycon and Firefly Forest are two fast-paced fast-moving scenes that put strain on the GPU's efficiency by calling for large amounts of low-demand graphics in need of high-speed output. Shader Model 2.0 tests have historically performed at slower frame rates when compared to Shader Model 3.0; at least this is the case on newer, more complex, video cards with larger overhead.
Shader Model 3.0 / HDR
The Shader Model 3.0 and HDR (High Dynamic Range) test series in 3dMark06 includes the Canyon Flight and Deep Freeze. Both of these test scenes demand intense graphical computations from the GPU, and when paired with newer (AMD Phenom or Intel Nehalem) processors can actually produce better frame rates than Shader Model 2.0 scenes with the same hardware (and overhead). At 1920x1200 the graphics card is called-on to produce 2.3 megapixels, which is enough to separate the weak from the strong.
While these results we've charted can speak for themselves, allow me to add a bit of commentary. The GeForce 8800 GT, while excellent for low-resolution 1024x768 gaming and fine for 1280x1024, still falls beneath the 30 FPS range at 1650x1200 and drops down into the teens at 1920x1200. The Radeon HD 4850 is the most affordable video card to handle 3DMark06 graphics within acceptable range, with the reference GeForce GTX 260 performing a few frames better at each scene. The Radeon HD 4870 trails right behind the 4890. The GeForce GTX 285 comes in just above and below the Radeon HD 4890 depending on the test. At the top of the charts is the Sapphire Radeon HD 4870 X2, topping the GeForce GTX 295 by a large margin.
Take the 3DMark06 tests at face value (as you should any synthetic benchmark), because in our next section we begin real-world testing on a cadre of popular video games known for taxing the graphics processor, and the performance curve is expected change. Our first up is Call of Duty 4, so please continue on...