VIDEO card shootout! All your benchmark are belong to us ...

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DonPedro
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VIDEO card shootout! All your benchmark are belong to us ...

Post by DonPedro » Tue Jun 26, 2007 4:25 pm

abstract:
a whole arsenal of graphic cards (nvidia, ati, kyro) coming in various flavors (gpu-model, agp/pci interface, gpu speed, memory amount, memory type, memory speed, memory bus width) is going to be sent through a benchsuite of 15 games and 2 synthetic bench programs in order to finally clear any doubt on what graphic card gives the best gaming performance on a k6/socket7 system. each card is run against each benchmark 6 times: the screen resolutions chosen are 1024x768, 1280x1024 (or 960) and 1600x1200, each resolution is run in 16bit and 32bit color mode. a complete run through the benchsuite produces 229 benchresults. we will see where each card shines most, at what color depth at what screen resolution in what game and where the card’s performance drops to an unplayable level. because of the vast amount of results we will also get an idea of what counts in a specific game situation and what not: gpu-speed, memory amount, memory speed etc. the test platform consists of an asus p5a, 1.03 motherboard, the cpu is a k6-3+-600. the system is equipped with 384 mb ram, the sound comes from a soundblaster 128pci. the operating system is win98se.

what this investigation is not about:
there is a lot of evidence (no, proof actually) that specific driver versions suit specific cards better than they do to others. and also it is just clever to find and use the best driver available. unfortunately due to time limitations it is impossible to test each card against every driver version available to find the driver that works best for it. furthermore driver A may give best results when the game is run at a certain resolution, but driver B is better in another resolution. the drivers I use for benching are not chosen deliberately but were taken after extensive research on the net and personal testing. there certainly may be better drivers for one or the other card. in case you know of and can provide actual data (except bench data resulting from testing with 3dmark or any other synthetic benchmark that is) then just let me know. so in short: this graphic card comparison is not primarily about finding the respective super-drivers but if we are lucky it may lead to this desirable result as a byproduct. also this thread is not about how to setup a game to produce highest frames per second. this would inevitably lead to lower visual settings (in-game settings, driver settings) but the game settings (driver settings) I use here are designed to please the gamer’s eye even at the speedier settings (lower screen resolution, lower color depth, etc).


____________________________________________________

update notification section:
every time I add a card’s results to the results table (below in extra post) I will update this very first post RIGHT HERE to inform you on significant news:

currently in the queue:

geforce 3 ti200 175/200
geforce 3 ti200 200/200
geforce 3
geforce 4 mx460
geforce 4 ti-4200
geforce fx 5200 pci
geforce fx 5700
geforce fx 5900xt
geforce 6200 pci
geforce 6600gt


results so far available:

15. July 07: Gainward GeForce 2 Ti500 Golden Sample, A-GF2Ti500-270/4/2-D64/250/128, a supercharged Geforce-2 card. due to the fact that driver 82.16 does not support gf2-series cards I had to use 71.84 instead.
5. July 07: nvidia gf2 gts pro, code A-GF2 GTS Pro-200/4/2-D64/182/128
26. June 07: Hercules Prophet II MX, code A-GF2MX-175/2/2-S32/183/128
26. June 07: nVidia GF2 MX400, code A-GF2MX400-200/2/2-S64/143/128
26. June 07: again nVidia GF2 MX400, code A-GF2MX400-200/2/2-S64/143/128
due to new driver issues that popped up (driver 44.03) I ran this card again with driver version 82.16 where possible. more details about that in another post.

graphic card’s code description:
A or /P: AGP or PCI; -GF/R/K: Geforce, Radeon or Kyro; -xxxx: model; -nnn: chip clock; /n: pixel pipes; /n: texture memory units; -S or D: SDR or DDR ram; /nnn: ram amount; /nnn: memory clock; /nnn: memory bus width (bits); note: DDR memory clock is denoted here with ist real speed, not effective speed (doubled).

_____________________________________________________

explanation of the layout of this thread – whole first page:
my approach is to put and collect all the vital information on the very first page of this thread. this helps tremendously (I hope) should the thread spread over many pages. one does not have to read through the whole thread to learn of the important information that would otherwise be spread deliberately and hard to find. so on the first page of this thread you will find the following information:

- how far it went so far (graphic cards done)
- what it is about
- the bench results (2 tables: absolute fps reached, comparison table)
- information on how to setup the respective game/bench/driver for those who want to do it on their systems; I will add information on request, just ask!
- other important information that may emerge
- a final resume



in detail: what is this thread about?:
through all the years all the while new posts appeared here (and at other forums as well) that asked, what would be the best (= fastest) graphic card solution for gameplay on a K6-system. although these threads received always a lot of attention and answers, nowhere I found a sound and systematic approach that resulted in some useful final answer. many people reported on hearsay or repeated what they have read somewhere but only a few took the task to support their allegations with data. what comes to my mind here are the preconceptions many folks have (and me too!) about agp versus pci, 64 bit vs 128 bit memory bus width, their brand addiction or aversion (for whatever reason) and alike. especially the notion that there is no benefit of using anything better than a gf2-mx card because a socket7 system is not powerful enough to max out even the lowly gf2-mx (which in fact it is not in the position to do) will be verified – or not. if people actually did provide numbers they missed some crucial points like that you can’t re-extrapolate what is valid on some other more advanced platform (athlon, p3, p4 etc) and that you can’t compare numbers taken from different s7-platforms (via, ali) where the testers setup their system with different os and different os-settings, use different cpu types at different speeds, varying fsb-speeds (overclocked agp-bus and ram), different amount of ram, different graphics driver versions and different driver setup, different sound solutions and, what is almost most important, use unaligned games/benchsoftware setups (ingame visuals settings). the only result you get from such comparisons is that you can say setup A produces higher fps than setup B, but you would never be able to tell whether graphic card A is faster than B.

so I decided many years ago to do it once and for all. I started to collect graphic cards and games over the time on ebay and I was quite successful to get most of them at very low prices (and sometimes not, but when you are on the hunt for something special you eventually loose control ;) ). in the meantime I tried to find out how to tweak the ali-chipset (the basis of my setup) to give the video cards the best possible environment. I also did quite a lot of pretesting with some of the cards with different drivers to find the „one“ driver that fits all. although this is not the perfect approach to find the best graphic’s solution it is unfortunately the only way to go because of time restrictions. just imagine how much time would be needed to find the proper driver for each graphic card that suits it best if you are going to test 15+ cards and you have to pair each of them with about xx driver versions and send each of those combinations through the whole benchsuite. this is just impossible! and today – after I have finished the first three complete benchruns I can tell that I failed in finding such an „average superdriver“. I had to realize that the driver I had chosen so far (82.16) to run the nvidia cards with has serious trouble in some aspect and I had to use driver version 44.03 for that part of the bench suite (set 2) where the 82.16 failed. so I started the second card’s benchruns with driver 44.03 but also realized (since the two cards are quite similiar) that performance dropped that much in many single setups that I ran the second card again with driver 82.16 where applicable (means, those benches where the 82.16 does not fail – set 1). and as it appears now I will also have to add some driver version 56.xx for the gf-5xxx series because they are not fully (in all their flavours) supported by 44.03. again, this applies only to that part of the bench-suite where the 82.16 is in trouble. anyway I will go into more detail on this driver issue at a later time again here in this thread and/or eventually may start a whole new separate thread on it.



setup of the test-machine:

asus p5a, rev. 1.03
my first socket7 board and I am still using p5a boards (or other ali-based boards) in all of my machines (except my test-rigs with via-boards and sis-board). very fast, rocksolid, easy to setup, what can you ask for more? well, it is not an overclocker’s dream ...

power supply:
JNC model LC-A300ATX
+3.3v: 20A, +5v: 30A, +12v: 10A, -12v: 0.8A, -5v: 0.5A, +5VSB: 2A

bios: 1011.005
external cache: disabled
pci/vga palette snoop: disabled
all rom bios shadowing: disabled
sdram config: 7ns
enhanced page mode count 16T
internal page detection: enabled
sdram pipe function: enabled
sdram x111-2111 mode : enabled
i/o recovery time: 2 busclk
graphics aperture size: 128mb
frame buffer posted write: enabled
agp bus turbo mode: enabled
k6 write allocate: enabled
passive release: enabled
delayed transaction: enabled
memory hole at 15-16m: disabled
cpu temperature reported: 49c
mb temp reported: 28c
pm os installed: yes
slot x irq settings: all auto
pci latency time 32 pci clocks
usb function: disabled


I deactivated onboard-usb in the bios in order to get agp gat-mode 2 running without stability problems. I learned from the speed boost by setting gat-mode to 2 many years ago but I always had trouble to reach a stable system. I just recently found out that turning onboard usb-device off does the trick. going from gat mode 1 to 2 gives 5 to 15 % speed boost depending on graphic card, game, screen resolution and color depth. so I am now able to set up the system like it was kind of „forbidden“ for many years because of stability issues. in fact, there are none anymore!

384 mb ram, 1x256 + 1x124, @100mhz, memory timing 2-2-2-4-7
K6-3+@600, @2.1v, 5.5x hw-multiplier
soundcard: sb128 pci ct4700
lancard: surecom 320xr

OS: win98se
swapfile set to min=max size of 256mb
„conservativeswapfileusage“-tweak
filecache set to min=max size of 16384kb

agp: driver 1.66 (very old indeed BUT according to a reliable source less restrictive in terms of speed-features deactivated compared to later versions; nevertheless solid as a rock even with quite „modern“ (in socket7 terms) cards)

nvidia driver 82.16 (from a cd that came with the pny geforce 6200 pci)
nvidia driver 44.03

ati driver: not determined yet
kyro driver: not determined yet

after booting into windows everest 2.20 reports (cpu 5.5x100):
memory read: 361 mb/s
memory write: 173 mb/s
memory latency: 182ns

changing cpu speed to 6x100:
memory read: 360 mb/s
memory write: 127 mb/s
memory latency: 182.6 ns

yes, a dramatic decline in memory write speed indeed!

after running any bench (just one), everest reports
read: 360mb/s
write: 137mb/s
latency: 188ns

here it is again, the boost in memory write performance reported by everest ..... precaching!, anyone? 

no, it is not better to run the system @550mhz. the games need foremost cpu-power. memory speed comes next and it is memory read speed that counts more than write performance.



tools used:
- driver cleaner pro 1.5 (in case I have to remove the driver; helps to get rid of any trace of the old driver before installing a new one)
- rivatuner 2.0 final release (great and ABSOLUTELY important tool to setup and control the graphic’s driver)
- ctu: to setup the cpu for 600mhz, setup for mtrrs (only necessary for 2D vga write combining; not important here, but I do it anyway)
- wpcredit 1.4: to apply the tweaks for the ali-5 chipset
- mxk6opt 1.0: setting up the mtrr registers before windows starts (via call from autoexec.bat), helps ctu to find proper mtrr values;
- acronis trueimage 7.0: just in case of a desaster I can quickly rebuild the c-partition from a previous backup
- k6speed 0.88: just in case I would need it to activate write allocation; the p5a bios does it anyway.
- ali agp control center 1.4: manipulation of various agp driver settings including setting the gat-mode


games / benchmarks used:

I will send the graphic cards through the following games (all of them are full retail versions with the exception of dronez which is only the demo version, but is said to be equivalent to the real game):

open-gl based games:
- unreal tournament,
- quake 3 arena,
- quake 2,
- heavy metall fakk 2,
- half life,
- mdk 2,
- star wars jedi knight 2 outcast,
- star trek voyager: elite force,
- dronez,
- serious sam: first encounter,
- alice

d3d based games:
- expendable,
- mercedes benz truck racing,
- aquanox,
- max payne

the reasons why I selected these games for my benchmark suite are that they once were famous and well received in the gamers world and that they were used for many years as a de-facto toolsuite to measure graphics performance. so you will find tons of benchmark numbers on these titles all over the net to compare with. the big advantage to me as the test-conductor is, that there is plenty of information on the net on how to setup the games and all the dos and don’ts and finally there are instructions available on how to bench your system with these games.

some games I previously planned to include were: need for speed 5 porsche, undying, tomb raider angel of darkness, giants citizen kabuto and deus ex. they did not made it finally into the benchsuite because they either took very long to bench with (undying), are boring to watch (undying, giants), are of poor gameplay quality (giants), are a pain to bench (unreliable results due to driver cheats along nvidia and radeon cards eg. tomb raider), frequent freezes/crashes (nfs porsche) and finally I was not able to get a copy of the us-version of deus-ex which is necessary because the bench-scripts I found don’t work with the german version.

in the last minute I added 2 synthetic tests. first I wanted to stay away from them because whats really the use of it? does it tell you whether you can play a game at a decent speed? the answer is a clear NO! their results may be indicative in some sense and correlate somehow with real world games‘ experience but that is it. the reason why I in the end included

- glexcess (opengl)
- 3dmark 2001 (direct3d)

in my benchsuite is that glexcess gives us a lot of technical insight. it is far less cpu-power dependent than any game and displays the cards‘ capabilities. it splits its overall score into 4 more results that measure cpu performance, vram-speed, fillrate and polygon count separately and gives min-avg-max fps-scores for 11 different scenes respectively. if there is any tool that can show what a card could if we were not bound by the processor then this is it! glexcess is an open-gl based bench and I thought if I am going to include it I should also add some synthetic bench which is d3d – based. and voila, 3dmark 2001 made it finally into the bench-suite.


bench setup:

this was the toughest and most time-consuming part so far. I had a clear mind from the beginning that I wanted to give the lower-end cards a fair chance to show that they are able to run games decently. on the other hand I wanted to give the „high-end“ cards an environment where they can show their muscles. so I knew that I would run 2 sets, the first with 16 bit colors, the second with 32 bits colors. also I would use 3 screen resolutions which amounts to 6 bench-runs for each game (benchprogram):

screen res for 16 bit and 32 bit respectively:

1024x768
1280x1024 (or 960)
1600x1200

this part was quickly decided upon. the real work started with how to setup the game itself. in-game visual settings allow for a broad range of manipulation and can bring down a game to slide-show-speed. and then there are the driver’s settings, among them anti-aliasing AA and anistropic filtering AF which can be applied to each single frame.

if I now would setup each game‘s visual settings one for speed and one for eyecandy and combine it with the 6 settings above I would then have 12 setups to run through. if I then would pair each of them with AA-AF on / off I would end with 24 setups per game at minimum. I am mad enough to make a whole lot of crazy things (like doing this bench-thing on a k6-system in the year 2007!), but I am not a complete fool.

so I decided to make the 16bit runs the „speed“ runs and the 32bit runs the „quality“ runs.

speed runs are without AA and AF. the in-game settings are setup that way, that a geforce-2-mx gives at least 20 fps at 1024x768 (if possible). of course this varies from game to game and I had to find out how far I was allowed to crank up the visual settings (and sound settings too) or even lower them to make the gameplay smooth but also visually attracting.

quality runs are with AA 2x2 and AF 2x. the in-game settings are setup that way that a geforce-3-ti200 should give at least 24fps at 1280x1024 (or 960) @32 bit colors.

this way I stayed with 6 runs for each game/benchmark.

general driver setup rule (for nvidia cards; ati and kyro not played with yet):
before starting a game’s bench I setup the card’s driver via the context menue of the nvidia symbol in the tray and choose high performance / aa none / af none for the 16 bit speed setting and quality / aa 2x / af 2x for the 32 bit quality setting. the next step is to control and fine tune and sometimes even correct the driver’s setup via the tool rivatuner. here I make sure that the level of detail lod-setting is at 0 (d3d and opengl respectively, nvidia driver set up sometimes other values), that the aa/af is set accordingly (depending on what driver version you use, aa 2x may be set to 1,5x1,5 or something similar. correct this to 2x2 or 2x), that vsync is set to be always off, that dxt3 compression is used instead of dxt1. this has to be done only once as long as one does not open the nvidia driver panel again or restarts the computer. in other words: if you feel need to go into nvidia drivers settings, always check with rivatuner afterwards if everything is as wanted.


driver versions used:
as mentioned above I had to use 2 driver versions to run the benchsuite completely.
the following games/benches are run with driver 82.16 (set 1):

- unreal tournament,
- quake 3 arena,
- quake 2,
- heavy metall fakk 2,
- half life,
- mdk 2,
- star wars jedi knight 2 outcast,
- star trek voyager: elite force,
- dronez,
- serious sam: first encounter,
- alice
- glexcess
- expendable

for the follwing games/benches I use driver 44.03 (set 2):

- mercedes benz truck racing,
- aquanox,
- max payne
- 3dmark01 SE



in a future far far away:
once I am through with my collection of video cards I plan to pick the „best“ solution(s) and replace the K6-3+ by a K6-2+ to see how much impact the size of cpu on-die cache has. I also plan to run the benchsuite with the k6-3+ and k6-2+ respectively at 550mhz. maybe – if I am then still living – I will also pair the best card with a plain k6-2-550. but that is pure speculation.

also I plan to find the best sound solution. I again will take the best video solution(s) and let each of the different soundcards I collected over the time pass the whole benchsuite. this will comprise
- sblive value, sb audigy, sb audigy 2, hercules fortissimo II

I own an evga gf2-mx400 pci-based card. unfortunately this card does not run in my p5a. since the interface-connector shows only one notch I guess it is because the card is 3v only (pci 2.2) it works great on my asus p5s-vm (sis530) but also to my surprise with my shuttle hot 597 (via) board. if anyone has such a pci-card (gf2-mx) with two notches and would like to trade it for e.g.. a gf4-mx460 (agp) or a gf3-ti200 (agp) please tell me (pm). I really would like to include such a card here since it would make sense to compare it with my other gf2-mx cards (both agp). of course it is not useful to run this card on the sis or via board, since the results can not properly be compared with the p5a-results.
Last edited by DonPedro on Sat Jul 14, 2007 7:03 pm, edited 8 times in total.

DonPedro
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Post by DonPedro » Tue Jun 26, 2007 4:25 pm

space dedicated to download links (tools, bench-scripts, informative links)

GLexcess 1.2
Planetmirror (tools, benchmarks, drivers for ati, nvidia, kyro)
Last edited by DonPedro on Sun Jul 15, 2007 9:25 am, edited 4 times in total.

DonPedro
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Post by DonPedro » Tue Jun 26, 2007 4:26 pm

HOW TO bench a specific game

if need be for those who want to participate and would also like to produce some benchresults to compare with mine I will give here descriptions of how to setup a specific game and what to do to run a bench on it. will be filled with information on request ....
Last edited by DonPedro on Tue Jun 26, 2007 4:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.

DonPedro
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Post by DonPedro » Tue Jun 26, 2007 4:26 pm

the RESULTS table #1: absolute fps (average)

a „0“ as result means either the bench was chosen not to be run because I didn’t feel it makes sense (when a result at lower settings produced a score of less than 10 fps) or because the card was not able to handle the setup due to some limitation.

a „-1“ means bench freezed or aborted abnormally.
Attachments
table1absolutefps3.png
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Last edited by DonPedro on Sat Jul 14, 2007 6:11 pm, edited 3 times in total.

DonPedro
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Post by DonPedro » Tue Jun 26, 2007 4:26 pm

the RESULTS table #2: comparison

this table compares the cards‘ results. it does so by showing how many fps it performs under-par compared to the best respective result. numbers (fps or whatever the bench’s unit) are 0 (= card’s result matches the maximum number scored) or some negative number, which gives just the difference to the best score reached by any other card so far, meaning the card is –xx units behind. I also have included the min/max values for each bench in order to better understand at what fps-level the whole thing takes place.
Attachments
table2comparison3.png
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Last edited by DonPedro on Sat Jul 14, 2007 6:14 pm, edited 3 times in total.

DonPedro
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Post by DonPedro » Tue Jun 26, 2007 4:27 pm

pitfalls and useful hints that emerge:

this post will be updated when necessary ....


UNINSTALLATION of some specific NVIDIA driver versions has the negative side-effect that it deletes the ali agp-driver-file ALiPCIMP.PCI! the really bad thing is that the system does not complain and is still working even after a new system restart as if nothing had happened! it even shows no exclamation mark or question mark in device manager! the problems start when you run a game. the gameplay becomes slow, or freezes or the game crashes or the system freezes/reboots. but you have no idea why! to check whether the driver is properly loaded (win98se) go to start/run, type drwatson, press return. drwatson starts and immediately minimizes into the tray. click on it to make it open. set it up that way that it runs in enhanced mode (you have to do this only once if you set it up to always start at this mode). then look under tab kernel driver and search for ALiPCIMP. if you can not find it there then the driver is not loaded and you have to reinstall the agp-driver.

INSTALLATION / Deinstallation of ALI-AGP driver: always uninstall any ali-agp driver either via control panel / software (if there is an entry). if there is none use THE SAME version of the agp-driver installation file you used for installation to uninstall any currently installed agp-driver. it will recognize that the driver is already installed and will offer to uninstall it. once the driver is uninstalled you can install another agp-driver version without running into problems.
Last edited by DonPedro on Tue Jun 26, 2007 4:51 pm, edited 3 times in total.

DonPedro
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Post by DonPedro » Tue Jun 26, 2007 4:27 pm

final resume.

no finish in sight for now ;)
Last edited by DonPedro on Tue Jun 26, 2007 4:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.

DonPedro
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Post by DonPedro » Tue Jun 26, 2007 4:27 pm

the first results

my wish was to use only one driver for all cards (of one brand) and for all games/benches. I elected 82.16. then after ¾ of the first run I realized that this driver does not work with some applications. so I decided to use 44.03 for the remaining games/benches. this somehow destroys the „equal environment“ for all contenders, but I think there is no other way.

results for A-GF2MX-175/2/2-S32/183/128

set 1 uses 82.16, set 2 driver 44.03
the results are surprisingly high compared to all the benches I had run in the last years. those early benches back many years were run with drivers 12.xx, 14.xx, 2x.xx and 3x.xx drivers. I have posted some results here in another thread. I was until now convinced that the drivers of the year 2001 and 2002 fitted best to the gf-2 / 3 series. driver 82.16 which is used for set 1 produces fantastic numbers compared to the older ones. what is escpecially worth to note is that 82.16 seems to be optimized for 1280x1024(960) resolution in 32bit colors. bench numbers at that setup are even higher than one step below (1024x768x32), sometimes produce almost twice the framerate! I have marked those numbers red. overall it seems to me that this old gf2-mx card is prone to become the 1024x768x16 king, the card just goes like hell here.


results for A-GF2MX400-200/2/2-S64/143/128

this card differs from the other gf2-mx that it has a higher gpu-clock (+17mhz), twice the ram but lower memory clock (-40mhz). who would be able to foretell which one is faster?

as mentioned in my introduction I have two complete sets of benchresults for this card. the first set is with driver version 44.03 for both bench sets 1 and 2. at that time I thought I would be able to go along with the 44.03 and use it for any other card too on both sets. BUT after the first run was done I quickly realized that this driver is suboptimal. so I worked through bench set 1 again, this time with 82.16. and as you can see the effort was worth it. although 44.03 manages here and there to give better results in the speed-setups by a small margin, it is the quality setup where the 82.16 destroys the 44.03 scores. the scores for set 2 (44.03) in the second run with this card are just copied over from the first run with this card.

would you have thought that changing the driver could achieve a performance jump up to 300%? certainly not me!

and the match between the two gf2-mx cards? the „lowly“ gf2-mx 32mb beats the gf2-mx 64mb like I usually whisk cream.

thanks for your attention.


btw, I am not a gamer!

Jim
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Post by Jim » Tue Jun 26, 2007 6:24 pm

1) Glad to see you back Peter.

2) Wow !!! You have a patience level that makes mine look trivial. How you ever found the time to run and colate all those test results is beyond me. (As is your level of knowledge on the overall subject of video cards). Question : If you are not a gamer, why do you bother to conduct all these tests ? Are you just trying to help gamers or is there some other purpose behind all this other than the general pursuit of knowledge ?

3) Re pre-cacheing, since you are running Windows 98, (which happens to be compatible with Norton Utilities 2000, - which Windows XP is NOT), you could add one more test to your suite. i.e. one run with Norton's cache hit tracker running in the background, to see what kind of cache hits your "real world" game applications are generating. I know I was quite surprized to find Corel Photo Paint generating 70% cache hits. Could be that the Everest Memory Write scores are artificially low because Everest only generates 13% cache hits.

Regards, --- Jim
Superpuppy 3
K6-3+ 450 ACZ (6x100)
DFI K6BV3+/66 Rev B2 (2 Meg) w/ 2x28mm Chipset Fans
2x256 Meg PC 133 Hynix SDRAM
1x 20G Maxtor (7200)
2x 80G Maxtor (7200) Ducted w/ 2x486 Fans Mount
52/24/52/16 LG CDR/RW/DVD
8/4/3/12/24/16/32 LG Super Multi
ATI 9000 aiw Radeon AGP
SB Audigy 1 MP3 Sound
CMD 649 IDE Controller
NEC USB 2 Card

DonPedro
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Post by DonPedro » Tue Jun 26, 2007 8:24 pm

hello jim,

I was for a long time interested in what is going in the games' scene. today this is no longer the case since I am fine with my k6-systems and the "modern" games won't run here. it was fascinating to watch the games become 3d and back then I actually played "a lot". a lot means many hours a day but was restricted to only a few games. the most time I spent with gaming was with the command and conquer series and I also liked adventure games. since many years now I don't have the time to spent noteworthy time with gaming. I sometimes like to "play around" here and there, sneaking around, but I don't spent hours, (or even days, weeks or months) to play through a game until it is finished. that time is long over and there is only one title (quake 2) from the benchlist that I actually played through. why I put so much time into this benching thing? well, first I like to know the outcome. it is the same like how to tweak the chipset or whatever. others spent their free time cleaning their car from front to back and then start it all over again :) and yes, if it were not for the public I would not do this. I think a lot of people will follow this, the question this thread tries to answer is asked until today all over the forums (pc-related) I know of. it does not attract masses for sure but there is still enough interest in this field. for sure I will be a reviewer for the next months, not a gamer! ;)

regarding pre-cacheing I think this term is misleading. cacheing happens when an application accesses memory that it already has written to or read from. that is certainly the case with what you observe with norton cache tracker tracking the paint program. it works with the same data (picture) all the time so accesses the same adresses all the time, 70% in your case. that is fine and just reflects what one can rightly asssume. also I am fine with the fact that norton reports everest to produce only 13% of cache hits, a relatively low number. but I would expect this from a benchtool like everest that it does not read/write to the same memory addresses all the time. how much it does depends on how the programmers thought it would be necessary or reasonable to let their algorithms test memory read/write speed. this depends solely on the programmers approach and they certainly made their choice not deliberately and had their reasons to design their algorithms their way. if everest is shown to produce 100% cache hits on the other hand then this would tell us that the test situation everest carries out is the "best case" case, which is certainly not very helpful in determining the system's memory performance. at least they should have provided two numbers: best case scenario and some mixed scenario as well.

but I certainly am against the reasoning that application A with its very own data it is operating on optimizes the cache for application B, which uses its very own data and has no benefit no usage of the "unknown" data that is left over from app A. cacheing "works" and only works (meaning benefitting from the faster access to cache memory) when data is read that is already available in the cache. there is simply no data of A in the cache, that B can rely upon. B (its programmers) knows that. therefore it sets up its very own adress-space and has to fill it (write operation) before it can read from it. and only when B reads after a write operation from the same address or does a read after a read from the same address then it may benefit from what is already in the cache: its very own data. that is the way how cacheing works. it certainly does not read from addresses it has not setup by its own useful algorithms. otherwise it would read junk-data (that is left over from A) and would certainly fail to produce a meaningful result it is designed for.

I have tested whether mainboard cache set to on makes any difference with games. I found out that the benchmarks I used showed numbers a tick lower than without cache. this makes sense to me because of the action that is going on in the benchmarks with everchanging screens.

I googled for norton cache tracker but found no trace. I certainly would give it a try but there seems to be no place where it is available ....

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Post by Jim » Tue Jun 26, 2007 8:34 pm

The Norton Cache Hit Tracker is is one of the functions which can be enabled within the "System Doctor" applet in "Norton Utilities 2000" You could probably find Norton Utilities 2000 through "Torrents" if you want to. The entire "Norton Utilities 2000" program is 83 Meg, which is too big to e-mail.
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Post by DonPedro » Wed Jun 27, 2007 8:02 am

I just found out that the gigabyte 5ax board accepts the gf2-mx pci card (the asus p5a does not). so I probably will test the pci card with this mainboard but that would need an exchange of boards (some work) but the bigger problem is the following: I do not know how to enable agp 2x on the ga 5ax. anybody an idea?

edit: kind of stupid question! :oops: agp speed is irrelevant when a pci video card is used :) but anyway: how to setup the ga-5ax for agp 2x?

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Post by kalabok » Wed Jun 27, 2007 8:34 am

lol,

donpedro in old shape ... nice to hear from you again!
i will try to provide some data for my gf4 mx4000, if you wish. of course, not the complete ones, but some with 3dmark01 for example.

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Post by DonPedro » Wed Jun 27, 2007 9:17 am

hi kalabok! :)

yes, I really would like to see someone do some benching too! since you are going for the 3dmark01 bench I invite you to also test your card with the freely available open-gl bench glexcess. I will update the download-section post with the corresponding link.


right now I am in driver troubles again :(

the next card(s) in the queue are the gf2 - non-mx models. unfortunately driver 82.16 does not support these cards anymore. I had to downgrad to driver 71.84 which is the last official driver from nvidia that supports these cards. this again is against the "one environment for all" premise, but I have no choice.

so the next card to be tested is an asus v7700 geforce 2 gts model with 32mb ram.

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Post by DonPedro » Thu Jun 28, 2007 5:39 pm

unfortunately the the asus v7700 gts 32mb card (gf2) seems to have gone over the jordan river :(
the first problem that I was not really a problem with the card was a problem with driver 82.16 which does not support gf-2 cards except for the -mx versions. so I once again was on the search for a suitable driver (for games/bench set 1) and I had to step back until version 71.84, the latest driver from nvidia that supports the gf-2 models. this again cuts into the "same environment" for all contenders but such solutions are unavoidable. the real problem with the card came with running 3d apps. the card works ok in 2d but not one single game I tried was able to play through. the card in 3d is extremely slow (1-2 fps) from the beginning then somewhere very early during the bench everything comes to a full stop and I have do reset the system.

I have therefore decided to quit testing that card and continue with a nvidia geforce 2 gts pro 64mb. testing at 16bit has gone so far very well with one exception - expendable. the game just aborts to the desktop after loading. therefore I will run expendable with the 44.03 version.

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