Feature Articles

The Budget Showdown - ATI vs. NVIDIA

The Budget Showdown - ATI vs. NVIDIA


Test Setup

Test Setup

We'll be running these cards through our usual Vista testbed which has the following specifications:

Windows Vista SP1 Test System:

  • Intel Core 2 Extreme QX6850 (3.00GHz)
  • Gigabyte X38T-DQ6 motherboard
  • 2 x 1GB DDR3-1333 Aeneon memory in dual channel mode
  • Seagate 7200.10 200GB SATA hard drive
  • Windows Vista Ultimate with SP1

Although a bit of a mismatch, we'll be pitting the new budget Evergreen cards against the NVIDIA GeForce GT 240 and GT 220. We don't expect the Radeon HD 5450 to do well, considering its lean specifications, but the Radeon HD 5570 should do well enough to compete against the similarly priced GeForce GT 220. We have also included the Radeon HD 5670 in our analysis to see just where the new Radeon chips stand in the ATI hierarchy. Too bad we've returned back most of the low-end Radeon HD 4000 series for direct comparisons, but that shouldn't matter much seeing that it's not really competing with itself at this level.

To ensure the cards generate meaningful, playable results, we have also tweaked the settings of our usual benchmarks to something that's more usable on these cards.

Here's the complete list of cards tested and the driver versions used:

  • ATI Radeon HD 5450 512MB GDDR3 (Beta 8.69 RC3)
  • ATI Radeon HD 5450 1GB GDDR3 (Beta 8.69 RC3)
  • ATI Radeon HD 5570 1GB GDDR3 (Beta 8.69 RC3)
  • NVIDIA GeForce GT 240 (ForceWare 196.21)
  • NVIDIA GeForce GT 220 (ForceWare 196.21)
  • ATI Radeon HD 5670 1GB GDDR5 (Beta 8.69 RC)

And the cards were tested using the following benchmarks:

  • Futuremark 3DMark Vantage
  • Crysis Warhead (Overall settings: Mainstream)
  • Far Cry 2 (Overall settings: High)
  • Dawn of War 2 (Overall settings: Low)