Years of leap-frog between video card rivals ATI and Nvidia has resulted in huge advances in the graphics processing capabilities of personal computers. The once jaw-dropping graphical realms of a decade ago have long given way to immersive, 3-D environments generated by not just one, but up to four GPUs in tandem, each with hundreds of processor cores accessing a gigabyte or more of dedicated video memory.
Sure, gamers are the video board's main consumer. But the wider audience also includes video and audio producers, graphic artists and desktop publishers. Though competition has helped keep prices relatively low, rapid technological advances have kept demand strong and the graphics processor is one of a small handful of peripherals that can still be sold profitably.
The test method
To test card performance, the Test Centre ran Dirt 2, a driving game from Codemasters Software with resolution set to 1,440 x 900, 4x MSAA (multisample anti-aliasing) and vertical sync set to "off" on an AMD Phenom II X6-equipped Asus motherboard with 4 GB DDR 3 memory. We measured frame rate using Fraps 3.2.2 from Beepa.
Find out how Nvidia GeForce GTX 470 did on the next page...