ATI Radeon HD 2900 XT puts up some impressive numbers in benchmarks

After several delays, AMD plans to launch its long-awaited R600 graphics processors. AMD is currently briefing select members of the press on its R600 architecture in the Tunisia, but there is no embargo date on the R600 for DailyTech -- we can show you benchmarks now.

AMD plans to launch a completely new DirectX 10 lineup with the flagship ATI Radeon HD 2900 XTX. Other models such as the Radeon HD 2900 XT, Radeon HD 2600-series and Radeon HD 2400-series will also join AMD’s DirectX 10 family after the initial high-end launches.

AMD equips the ATI Radeon HD 2900 XT with 320 stream processors to take on NVIDIA’s GeForce 8800 GTS, which features 96 stream processors. However, AMD and NVIDIA have taken different approaches towards their unified shader designs. AMD pairs the R600 GPU with 512MB of GDDR3 memory clocked at 1.65 GHz across an eight-channel, 512-bit memory interface. In comparison, the NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GTS features 640MB of 1.6 GHz GDDR3 memory on a 320-bit memory interface.

AMD equips the ATI Radeon HD 2900 XT with a dual-slot, blower-type heat sink. Unlike the OEM Radeon HD 2900-series previously pictured, which is an 11.5” long card, the ATI Radeon HD 2900 XT makes use of a smaller cooler so everything fits within the 9.5” PCB. Although the R600 GPU supports HDMI audio and video output, the reference design only features dual dual-link DVI.

Onto the benchmarks. The tests were conducted on an Intel D975XBX2 BadAxe2, Intel Core 2 Extreme QX6700 and 2x1GB DDR2-800 MHz. The operating system on the test system was Windows XP, with a fresh install before benchmarking each card. Testing of the AMD ATI Radeon HD 2900 XT was performed using the 8.361 Catalyst RC4 drivers, while the GeForce 8800 GTS used ForceWare 158.19 drivers.

All game tests were run with the maximum detail settings at resolutions of 1280x1024. Futuremark’s 3DMark06 was tested with the default settings. Although we ran the benchmarks on our PC, we were not supplied a monitor for testing higher resolutions.

Gaming: Maximum Quality, 1280x1024
AMD ATI Radeon
HD 2900 XT
8800 GTS 640MB
Call of Duty 2
73.5 FPS
56.7 FPS
Company of Heroes
92.1 FPS
90.1 FPS
F.E.A.R.84.0 FPS
83.3 FPS
Half Life 2: Episode 1 112.0 FPS57.4 FPS *
47.9 FPS
39.5 FPS

* Our benchmarks for Half Life 2: Episode 1 showed an abnormal framerate for the NVIDIA GeForce  8800 GTS card that scaled with lower resolutions -- we believe there was a copy error. We reran the tests this morning and achieved 119.2 frames per second with the GeForce 8800 GTS.

The following benchmarks were performed under SPECviewperf 9.

Workstation: Maximum Quality, 1280x1024
AMD ATI Radeon
HD 2900 XT
FX 5500 (G71)
Cadalyst C2006
Autodesk 3ds Max v8 OpenGL
Autodesk 3ds Max v8 D3D
Catia 02
Maya 02

Expect AMD to pull the wraps off its DirectX 10 product line up in mid-May, with value, midrange and high end models to boot. AMD’s flagship ATI Radeon HD 2900-series will have two models at launch – the ATI Radeon HD 2900 XTX and the HD 2900 XT. The ATI Radeon HD 2900 XTX models feature 1GB of GDDR4 memory while the lower HD 2900 XT features 512 MB.

The ATI Radeon HD 2900 XT is poised to have a street price approximately the same as the GeForce 8800 GTS, which currently has a suggested retailer price of $449.

"We basically took a look at this situation and said, this is bullshit." -- Newegg Chief Legal Officer Lee Cheng's take on patent troll Soverain
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