AMD Athlon 64 FX-53
1GB OCZ PC3200 Memory
ATI Radeon 9700 Pro
Catalyst 9.3 (legacy driver)
Gigabyte GV-R465D2-1GI Radeon 4650
Catalyst 9.6 beta
Windows XP Service Pack 3
34GB Western Digital Raptor (10,000RPM, 8MB cache)
In order to test the capabilities of Gigabyte’s GV-R465D2-1GI Radeon 4650 card, we dusted off an old AGP testbed based around the ASUS SK8N and AMD Athlon 64 FX-53 CPU. Not exactly state-of-the-art hardware by today’s standards, but five years ago this would’ve been a bleeding-edge PC. We’d planned to test three generations of Radeon hardware, including the venerable Radeon 9700 Pro, ATI’s Radeon X1950 Pro, and the Gigabyte Radeon 4650, but our X1950 Pro AGP is apparently on the fritz, as the card would lock up the moment we booted up a 3D game.
This left us with just one card to compare the 4650 against: the 9700 Pro. This was definitely a less than ideal situation that was complicated by the fact that many of the games we now use for testing require shader model 3.0 hardware (the 9700 Pro is a shader model 2.0 card), and even some of the games that don’t require SM3.0 hardware wouldn’t run with the 9700 Pro: we’re looking at you BioShock and STALKER Clear Sky.
In addition, the 9700 Pro couldn’t run any of the games we tested at resolutions above 1280x1024, so we were limited to 800x600 and 1024x768.
We also tested with Windows XP simply because that’s the OS most AGP users are likely to still be running.