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ATI X1950 XTX works well in DirectX under Vista

Fourth INQpression ATI OpenGL far from ready
Wed Oct 18 2006, 12:00
WE PREVIOUSLY tested an Nvidia card under Vista RC2 and now its ATI's turn. You can check our test of Nvidia's driver here.

This time around, we used a GDDR 4 Radeon X1950XTX and installed ATI Catalyst drivers for Vista.

We tested everything on Vista RC2 build 5744, again at 32-bit to get a valid comparison.

alt='catalyst_prvi'
Install of first Catalyst

alt='catalyst_drugi'
Install of second, newer Catalyst

Some features are missing. The 3D preview is disabled but it will be ready before Microsoft ships Vista. The Vista Catalyst Control Centre still needs from six to seven seconds to boot up, but compared to ten to fifteen on Windows XP it is much faster.

alt='drugi_atigl'
OpenGL missing in action

We learned that even the fancy things such as overdrive work on the card. But ATI still doesn't have its Open GL driver ready so it uses Microsoft's one. This means horrible performance, as you'll see.

alt='odrive'
Overdrive overclocking in Vista

Benchmarketing
We used :
Foxconn C51XE M2aa Nforce 590 SLI motherboard
Geforce 7900 GT 450/1320 MHz
Athlon FX 62 2800 MHz 90 nanometre Windsor core
2x1024 MB DDR2 Corsair CM2X1024-6400C3 memory
Seagate Barracuda 7200.8 400GB SATA NCQ hard drive
Thermaltake Mini Typhoon Athlon 64/X2/FX cooler and Intel CPU's
Silverstone Strider ST60F, 600W ATX 2.0 SATA

Doom 3
1024x768
1280x1024
1600x1200
ATI X1950XTX 650/2000 MHz Win XP
135.1
128.8
114.2
ATI X1950XTX 650/2000 MHz Vista
35.3
34.5
33.2
ATI X1950XTX 650/2000 MHz Vista new driver
36.2
34.6
33.9
? ? ? ? ?
Doom 3 High Quality FSAA 4X + Aniso 8X
1024x768
1280x1024
1600x1200
ATI X1950XTX 650/2000 MHz Win XP
121.6
99.1
75.9
ATI X1950XTX 650/2000 MHz Vista
35.1
32.8
30.5
ATI X1950XTX 650/2000 MHz Vista new driver
36.0
33.6
31.0
? ? ? ? ?
Quake 4
OK 1024x768
1280x1024
1600x1200
ATI X1950XTX 650/2000 MHz Win XP
149.1
144.5
137.6
ATI X1950XTX 650/2000 MHz Vista
50.7
49.1
48.0
ATI X1950XTX 650/2000 MHz Vista new driver
52.0
50.0
49.1
? ? ? ? ?
Quake 4 High Quality FSAA 4X + Aniso 8X
1024x768
1280x1024
1600x1200
ATI X1950XTX 650/2000 MHz Win XP
141.7
134.4
122.4
ATI X1950XTX 650/2000 MHz Vista
50.6
47.9
45.2
ATI X1950XTX 650/2000 MHz Vista new driver
50.6
49.0
47.4
? ? ? ? ?
FEAR
OK 1024x768
1280x960
1600x1200
1920/1440- 2048x1536
ATI X1950XTX 650/2000 MHz Win XP
137
108
85
56
ATI X1950XTX 650/2000 MHz Vista
125
84
57
42
ATI X1950XTX 650/2000 MHz Vista new driver
135
106
82
56
? ? ? ? ?
FEAR High Quality FSAA 4X + Aniso 16X
1024x768
1280x960
1600x1200
1920/1440- 2048x1536
ATI X1950XTX 650/2000 MHz Win XP
105
79
57
36
ATI X1950XTX 650/2000 MHz Vista
78
50
34
25
ATI X1950XTX 650/2000 MHz Vista new driver
104
79
56
37
? ? ? ? ?
Serious Sam
1024x768
1280x1024
1600x1200
1920/1440-2048x1536
ATI X1950XTX 650/2000 MHz Win XP
156.75
154.04
142.93
109.02
ATI X1950XTX 650/2000 MHz Vista
77.29
76.00
74.73
68.36
ATI X1950XTX 650/2000 MHz Vista new driver
84.70
80.96
76.46
66.70
? ? ? ? ?
Serious Sam High Quality FSAA 4X + Aniso 16X
1024x768
1280x1024
1600x1200
1920/1440- 2048x1536
ATI X1950XTX 650/2000 MHz Win XP
140.51
120.23
99.14
70.94
ATI X1950XTX 650/2000 MHz Vista
73.66
71.20
61.23
48.20
ATI X1950XTX 650/2000 MHz Vista new driver
77.30
72.20
62.16
44.80
? ? ? ? ?
Composite Figures 3Dmark 03
3DMark 03
Game2
Game3
Game3
ATI X1950XTX 650/2000 MHz Win XP
19656
159.2
116.7
126.1
ATI X1950XTX 650/2000 MHz Vista
18003
147.6
112.2
108.6
ATI X1950XTX 650/2000 MHz Vista new driver
19298
159.5
118.8
120.9
? ? ? ? ?
Composite Figures 3Dmark 03
Single Texturinng
Multi Textur.
Vertex Shader
Pixel Shader 2.0
ATI X1950XTX 650/2000 MHz Win XP
5346.0
10005.9
67.7
219.7
ATI X1950XTX 650/2000 MHz Vista
4074.0
9967.7
60.5
185.6
ATI X1950XTX 650/2000 MHz Vista new driver
5333.6
9962.7
65.9
184.6
? ? ? ? ?
Composite Figures 3Dmark 06
3DMark 06
? ?
ATI X1950XTX 650/2000 MHz Win XP
6283
? ? ?
ATI X1950XTX 650/2000 MHz Vista
5962
? ? ?
ATI X1950XTX 650/2000 MHz Vista new driver
6144
? ? ?
? ? ? ? ?
SM2.0 Test
Score
GT1
GT2


ATI X1950XTX 650/2000 MHz Win XP
2457
19.281
21.669
ATI X1950XTX 650/2000 MHz Vista
2372
19.102
21.592
ATI X1950XTX 650/2000 MHz Vista new driver
2455
19.294
21.625
? ? ? ? ?
HDR/SM3.0 Test
Score
HDR1
HDR2


ATI X1950XTX 650/2000 MHz Win XP
2722
26.317
28.118
ATI X1950XTX 650/2000 MHz Vista
2589
25.520
27.120
ATI X1950XTX 650/2000 MHz Vista new driver
2658
25.645
27.521
? ? ? ? ?
CPU Test
Score
CPU1
CPU2


ATI X1950XTX 650/2000 MHz Win XP
2153
0.679
1.093
ATI X1950XTX 650/2000 MHz Vista
1958
0.638
0.978
ATI X1950XTX 650/2000 MHz Vista new driver
2015
0.642
1.011

Before we finished up testing we spoke with ATI about the horrible driver performance in Doom 3 and Quake 4. You'll see that in best case scenario you'll get up to 35 frames in Doom 3 or up to 52 frames in Quake 4. Just for comparison, the Nvidia driver we tested scores 120 FPS in Doom 3 10x7 or 144.5 FPS in Quake 4. ATI told us that the Open GL driver is not ready and that the one that runs on Doom and Quake is Microsoft's, but still. Nvidia is 331 per cent faster in Doom 3 and 278 per cent faster in Quake 4. This is the biggest difference ever. However, we know that ATI will make things better but not yet. The new driver that we tested is WHQL and scores really close to Windows XP one.

alt='dugiaa'
Anti Aliasing settings under Vista

So ATI's XP Catalyst slaughters Vista performance and so does Nvidia's slower and cheaper Albatron 7950 GT card. Full stop.

Fear changes the bad omen. A new performance driver runs slightly slower that under XP. It is two to three frames slower and at 20x15 it is matched with the XP driver performance. We are talking about zero to three percent performance difference. Good job ATI.

FEAR with 4X FSAA and 8X Aniso is tight at 12x9 a single frame slower at 10x7 and 16x12 and it is a frame faster at 20x15. We didn't see this coming and you can see how much ATI improved between the first driver and WHQL beta that we got. P> Again disappointment as Serious Sam 2 works twice slower than on XP. We believe that this is DirectX rendering but we might be wrong as the scores looks like it is OpenGL. Nvidia even runs faster Serious Sam 2 than under XP and ATI is roughly twice slower, up to 100 percent slower to be precise.

3Dmark03 is just 300 marks slower than under XP and as 3Dmark05 was not working we tested 3Dmark06 and scored just 139 marks slower only two percent slower than under Vista.

In Short
One thing is clear. ATI's Open GL performance sucks. We can blame it on Microsoft but ATI still didn't implement its own Open GL rendered. Nvidia did, it works well compared with XP performance but it is still slower.

ATI shows promising performance in FEAR and you can see that ATI increased the performance in FEAR and the marks. I can also confirm that ATI works well in Half Life 2 Episode one, Counter Strike source and Half Life 2 but we didn't do any benchmarks.

The driver is good for Direct3D games but not for OpenGL. You will have to wait for this one. It looks like we will again spend a night testing Nvidia latest driver to see is there a performance increase in the new one. ?

Reviewed and tested by Sanjin Rados and Fuad Abazovic

 

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