XFX sent me back a replacement for my PCI-E 7600 GT with 256MB RAM. I was delighted to find that the replacement was a 9500 GT with 512MB RAM!
Benchmarks – average of FPS of two runs unless otherwise stated:
Lost Coast Stress Test:
1280×1024 Recommended: 68.92
1280×1024 Maximum: 52.54 (three runs)
1024×768 Recommended: 66.83
1024×768 Recommended with color correction and vsync: 52.52
Counter-Strike Source Stress Test:
1280×1024 Recommended: 126.49
1280×1024 Maximum: 59.48 (three runs)
1024×768 Recommended: 126.40
I suppose I ran the max tests three times each because they were so very pretty. It’s weird that a lower resolution with vsync and color correction would run more slowly than a higher resolution set to that and more. In the past, every time I ran maxed tests, its reflections contained the easily recognized purple checkers of missing textures. When I went from maxed to recommended settings and the purple checkers persisted, I realized that the missing textures never had anything to do with the abilities of the machine, and were indeed missing textures. I restarted the game to reload the textures, although I think mat_reloadtextures might do the same thing faster. (Found here.)
It is interesting to note that dropping to 1024×768 doesn’t provide too much of a boost in framerate, if any. This may be because 1280×1024 is the native resolution of the LCD, so no scaling is needed. After running tests, the console had an error about bench_upload being a cheat command. I enabled cheats in the hope that it would successfully upload my benchmark statistics. I could probably run a packet sniffer to see if it’s actually uploading. In Counter-Strike: Source, sv_cheats 1 made the benchmark’s movements accelerated: the camera moved faster, the blocks spun faster, the water flowed faster, the flames flickered frantically – and the overall framerate was lower.
Windows fell back to software rendering when first booting with the new card. When my card died, Linux fell back to open source drivers for the onboard. I installed ATI’s propritory drivers in the hope that they would make the thing slightly more useful. It seems although NVIDIA’s drivers stepped aside when their card was unaccessable, ATI’s did no such thing, reducing X to an unsettling and intermittently flickering blank screen. The uninstall script in /usr/share/fglrx was nowhere to be found, which was odd because I manually installed the drivers from ATI’s installation script. Removing xorg.conf had no effect as it seemed to still use fglrx. I had not installed the propritory drivers from the repos. I ended up starting in single user (aka recovery) mode, starting an ssh server, resuming the boot process with telinit 3, logging in from elsewhere to stop gdm, then installing NVIDIA’s driver and rebooting. It works quite well now. I was even informed of telinit 3 by the NVIDIA driver installer itself, which was very nice!
EDIT: I found the uninstall script in /usr/share/ati.