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Reviewed by: Carl Nelson [12.15.03]
Manufactured by: InnoVision
Est. Street Price: ~$187-190

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PCMark 04 Professional

Just a few weeks ago, Futuremark released the latest version of PCMark. The first version was not very detailed, and very seldom was used in reviews. However 04 Professional has many detailed tests, and we will be using it more and more in future system reviews. It has a suite of graphics tests, and for the purposes of this review, we'll look at the 2D performance results. There are also some 3D tests, but they would be redundant alongside 3dMark 03.

We'll start off with the "Windows XP Performance Test". What this does is display 10 transparent windows dialog boxes on a 1024x768x32 screen, each one moving around the screen, fading in and out. This gives us an idea of how the system performs in the WinXP GUI itself, which is neat because this is the first time we really got to look at this directly. How do these mid-range cards stack up?

The 9600XT performs quite a bit better than the 5700 Ultra, but both are more than sufficient for most users I would think.

The next test measures the video memory performance directly. It stresses the CPU, memory, AGP graphics bus, and the graphics memory subsystem. This will measure WinXP GUI performance again, the results will give us an idea of the performance of each card in moving windows around the screen, resizing windows, scrolling through documents, etc. If you find your current graphics card to be sluggish across all programs in WinXP, this would be an important factor for you.

Here are some details on how the test works, from the PCMark 04 Professional White Paper:

"The test creates a back-buffered primary surface with 1024x768 (16 bit) resolution in DX-exclusive mode. A second work surface is created off-screen that is twice as high. For each frame, the work surface is updated by transforming data through the AGP bus with a scrolling speed of 64 scan lines per second. The work surface is then copied every frame to the displayed primary surface to stress the internal memory bandwidth."

This time the 5700 Ultra pulls ahead in the simpler test. They are pretty much tied for the 32 line test.


CineBench is based on Maxon Cinema's rendering application. To test our video cards, we are going to compare rendering performance using OpenGL shading tests in both hardware and software mode.

As you can see, the 9600XT pulls ahead by quite a bit in this particular 3D rendering application. If you use any of Maxon Cinema's 4D software, this is definitely a thing to consider.

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