Toms Hardware is one of the best known hardware review sites, and they have outdone themselves with a graphics hardware benchmark page that uses several well-known game titles and benchmarks them on a hardware configuration where the only variable is the graphics card. This lets us eyeball how specific cards on specific games benchmark. It's an interesting read, available at http://www23.tomshardware.com/graphics.html.
Luckily for the FSX community, it includes FSX as one of the demos! This is great news to the community and means this page is an invaluable resource to help guide purchase decisions; with one exception. This page does not as of yet show numbers for the ATI DX10 cards ( x29, x26, x24 ) which I hope Tom's will add.
One thing this page does point out, there are still issues with driver performance that are keeping some cards from showing the performance they should be capable of.
Let's step thru the results comparing nVidia 7 series with 8 series. The charts show these "increments" of FSX settings:
Flight Simulator X -1024x768x32, no AA, Trilinear Filtering, Ultra Quality
Flight Simulator X -1024x768x32, in Game AA, in Game AF, Ultra Quality
Flight Simulator X -1280x1024x32, in Game AA, in Game AF, Ultra Quality
Flight Simulator X -1600x1200x32, in Game AA, in Game AF, Ultra Quality
Flight Simulator X -1900x1200x32, in Game AA, in Game AF, Ultra Quality
AA == Anti-aliasing
AF == Anisotropic Filtering
Ultra Quality == All sliders to the right.
So let's look at the charts. The entries in blue are the two cards we have selected for comparison, and all over nVidia cards are shown in green and all ATI cards are shown in red.
Click Here for Chart One
These first two results, for 1024 x 768 with and without AA, show the low-end of the high performance models ( 7900GS ) besting not only all other 7 series single GPU but the 795x0x2 and the 8 series. Curious.
Click Here for Chart Two
At 1280x1024, the 8 series take the lead back, but only for the GTX as the 8800GTS is bested by both the 7900 GT and the 7900GTX. Interestingly, the slower 7900 bests the 7900GTX, although only by .1 of a frame.
Click Here for Chart Three
Now at 1600x1200 the 7900 takes the lead again. Curiouser and curiouser, as Alice said.
Click Here for Chart Four
At 1920x1200, both the 8 series cards best the 7 series, but again its only .7 and .9 FPS.
Click Here for Chart Five
If you dig into the platform, this is on XP so Vista isn't the reason why we see 8 series show so little performance benefit in DX9 mode over the 7 series.
Hopefully the 8 series drivers will start to show some legs and provide that performance benefit to all who purchased them.