This review, for those who've forgotten the article title, concerns itself with the XTX and XT variations. We'll do Crossfire soon. Doing away with the Platinum Edition moniker for the first two-tier release of the R580 - although don't bet on that moniker being dead and buried for ever, despite what you might read elsewhere - XTX is a 25MHz GPU and memory clock bump over XT.
With XT retail boards using the same BJ11 DRAMs and R580 GPU, at the same core voltage no less, XTX is a slightly curious SKU. ATI is asking for a fairly large leap of faith that XTX is something special on top of XT in order to extract the other $100 it wants for the second X in the name. We're not convinced.
For the purposes of this article we underclocked the XTX to generate our Radeon X1900 XT numbers. Comparison comes in the form of ATI's own Radeon X1800 XT - the outgoing red champion - and Nvidia's GeForce 7800 GTX 512. Heavyweight contenders for the champion-elect to try and smack in the mouth, just the way we like it.
The ATI hardware runs on ATI RD480 core logic, Nvidia hardware on nForce 4 SLI. Driver defaults were used throughout, and stock clocks were used for all cards unless noted. If in-game controls could be used for both antialiasing and anisotropic texture filtering, they were, otherwise the driver was used to force the required levels (if applicable and the game allowed it without rendering errors). Tested resolutions were 1024 x 768, 1280 x 1024, 1600 x 1200 and 1920 x 1200.
Game tests were run a minimum of three times at each setting, and the median value reported. In the case of manual 'run-through' testing with FRAPS, three consecutive runs that produced repeatable results, after further analysis, were used. If values weren't part of a repeatable set, they were discarded and obtained again.
The format of the graphs is the same throughout this preview. The line plots are the baseline scores without antialiasing or anisotropic texture filtering applied, the column plots the values with AA and AF applied.
Awesomely, Call of Duty 2 would crash intermittently with FX-60 on RD480, forcing us to drop it completely. Likewise with Chronicles of Riddick with GTX 512 on the nForce4 SLI with FX-60 and 81.89, causing the game to run at 800 x 600 regardless of what was chosen in the game. Need for Speed: Most Wanted had serious 1920 x 1200 performance issues with the 6.2 driver and dual-core. Swapping in a single-core processor fixed all issues.