The PowerColor HD 2900XT that we're reviewing here is the dead spit of the reference sample that we got from AMD so we were also able to run the 2900 XTs in CrossFire. Consequently, we also compared £498 of dual Radeon HD 2900 XT with a £485 Asus EN8800 Ultra - as the name suggests, based on the GeForce 8800 Ultra. The drivers we used didn't include the Overdrive overclocking feature, and 3DMark06 doesn't recognise the hardware so we were instructed to use a switch to get the benchmark to run.
3DMark06 benchmark results
Longer bars are better
The results in 3DMark06, Half-Life 2 and Elder Scrolls: Oblivion make it plain that this hardware has no place connected to a low-resolution screen. With every quality setting enabled, the 2900 XT performs extremely capably, and with two cards in CrossFire it gave the 8800 Ultra a considerable spanking.
Half-life 2 Lost Coast benchmark results
Frame rates - longer bars are better
Quality and speed
Frantisek, HardOCP has done a bit of a demolition job on the 2900XT partly with regard to the different AA filters including the different tents.
They have included a number of screengrabs to illustrate the quality of AMD versus Nvidia and frankly they are pretty much identical in most respects however when it comes to AA the AMD card images look blurred. I have no intention of taking issue with HardOCP - in the main they do excellent work - however I have been in this situation way back in the days of Radeon 9800.
This was a time when AA was quite novel and I simply wanted to illustrate what it could do so. I used Microsoft Train Simulator as an example because the train tracks suffer from horrible jaggies as they converge towards the horizon. Enabling AA smoothed the image considerably so I set about taking screen grabs to illustrate the success.
In the images the rails looked good with AA but the trees that line the track looked like green lollipops with no distinguishing features and the grabs with AA therefore looked terrible. Much like the images on HardOCP..
Of course I was looking at stills from a moving image and was effectively missing the point. As you drive past a tree you can't see the leaves and branches. Stand under a tree in Oblivion and you get the benefit of all sorts of eye candy.
Ever since I have been very wary of taking screen grabs as they often show visual information that is out of context.
As for the most recent comment, yes it would have been 'fair' to run a pair of Ultras in SLI however I only had one Ultra - does anyone have two? - and simply wanted to illustrate how £500 of AMD hardware compared with £500 of Nvidia hardware.
Sli vs Crossfire?
Two things spring to mind:
- If you used Crossfire for the ATI, surely you should have included an SLi config for the nvidia setup, for a more balanced report?
- Is it just me or does Crossfire's performance benefits look feeble (on a %age increase in frame-rate basis) compared to typical performance gains from Sli?
Reply to ref Numbers, numbers
Fair enough, I respect your view and find it meaningful, thank you very much for reply.
I have seen some image quality comparisons lately and the usage of CFAA with Wide Tent in Oblivion with 2900XT seems to be useful a lot for overall quality, I'm looking forward to your further testing.