Authour: Mark "Ratchet" Thorne
Date: July 30th, 2006

A little while ago Rage3D, along with eight other websites from around the World, kicked off a new collaborative series of articles designed to examine the multi-GPU technologies offered from graphics heavyweights ATI and NVIDIA.

The series is broad in scope and innovative in design. Six separate systems, three each based on Crossfire and SLI technologies, were assembled to represent three budget levels a prospective user might be faced with: a low-budget level $1,000 plateau, a gamers $2,000 plateau, and an Unlimited plateau where we throw all the rules out the window.

  • Josh over at Penstar Systems kicked things off with an Introduction to the series and detailed which sites were participating and how the whole thing was conceived and how it would work.  Josh took the reins as the series editor-in-chief, so he didn’t get any fancy hardware to play with and had to deal with all the logistical nightmares (and there were a lot of them). Sucks to be Josh!

  • Following that, Tim Smalley at took us on a tour of Crossfire and SLI, the multi-GPU technologies from ATI and NVIDIA respectively, and the graphics hardware that would power the six separate systems we would examine in the series. Tim had to be the first out of the gate with his piece so the pressure was on. Luckily for us he also had the resources and contacts needed to acquire much of the hardware distributed to the various sites. Cheers to Tim.

  • A few days after Tim’s piece, Bjorn of Bjorn3D kicked in with an extensive look at the Crossfire and SLI motherboards that would form the basis of the systems used in the series. Bjorn managed to do a bang-up job with his piece and provided the first benchmarks in the series.

  • Following up on that was Jon at HARDiINFO with the highly anticipated “Common Benchmarks” portion of the series. Jon provided a deluge of graphics hardware results for us to pour over and started us in on the real meat of the series. Poor Jon also had to deal with the first bit of controversy in the series thanks to some pesky Control Panel setting errors. Reviewers everywhere will tell you that a complete lack of sleep will often bring on such controversial errors, and now Jon has firsthand experience.

  • Subsequent to Jon’s article was Howard's over at Neoseeker. Howard, who has the distinct pleasure of being able to call yours truly a fellow Canadian (even though he’s living on the wrong end of the country), was tasked with presenting benchmark results from a list of best selling games as provided by Xfire (not to be confused with Crossfire!).

  • Mike over at nV News chipped in next with his look at a series of games that aren’t normally found in many reviews… uncommon  games, if you will. Mike also took the opportunity to start testing Image Quality differences with a look at Anti-Aliasing image quality. Frankly we should have allocated an entire article toward image quality. Live and learn.

  • Next up was Brian over at Legit Reviews who graciously swapped positions in the schedule with me after I ran into some hardware problems. Brian's job, like Mike's and mine, was to test more of those Uncommon games.

And thus is Rage3D’s turn at the plate. My job today is to present you, fine reader, with benchmark results from another list of games that you don’t normally find in a normal graphics card review. I will start out by prefacing the whole shebang with a simple warning: my library is not unlimited, and not all games can be benchmarked within the bounds of time and reason. This warning will serve you well if you come to find yourself questioning my particular game choices for this part of the series. I did, however, try and keep to the whole “sim” theme, since that is my personal favorite genre.

I will also take over from where Mike left off with his Anti-Aliasing image quality comparison and do some texture filtering quality tests. Texture filtering makes the biggest impact on overall image quality if you ask me, and I think many would agree that ATI and NVIDIA go about it very differently and produce very different results, so it’s important that we take a close look at it.

Before we get started Rage3D would like to express our sincere thanks to our sponsors, without whose help this series of articles would not have been possible:. abit for their generosity in providing many of motherboards used in the series of articles, AMD for the all the Athlon CPUs, ATI for the videocards for our European friends, BFG Tech for sending out bucket loads of their videocards, ECS for early access to their Socket AM2 ATI motherboard, NVIDIA for coming up with the idea and helping get much of the hardware, Sapphire for their videocards, and SuperTalent for providing their kickass DDR2 memory kits for use on the AM2 platforms.

Let’s get to it.

« Previous in the Multi-GPU World Tour: Uncommon Benchmarks at Legit Reviews

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