With Tomb Raider: AOD
Lara is Back! As Crappy as Ever!
Tomb Raider: Angel of Darkness won't be winning any
"Game of the Year" awards, it is one of the more
advanced DirectX games currently available. We've
recorded a custom demo of Lara jogging through an indoor
garden area in the "Prague3" map. When using the Pixel
Shader 2.0 code path, this area of the game utilizes a
DOF (depth of field) blurring effect to enhance the
sense of depth and size. We ran our custom demo at a
resolution of 1024x768 and then again at 1600x1200,
using both the Pixel Shader 1.4 and 2.0 code paths (with
and without 4x anti-aliasing in the PS 2.0 tests).
The widespread reports of
NVIDIA's trouble with DX9 shader performance really manifest
in our custom Tomb Raider benchmark. At 1600x1200,
using the DX8 class pixel shader 1.4 code path, the GeForce
FX 5950 Ultra's huge memory bandwidth advantage help it pull
off a win, but in all of the other test configurations the
Abit Radeon 9800 XT was the clear victor. As is
evident by looking at the results in the Aquamark 3, Halo, Gun
Metal, Splinter Cell and the Tomb Raider benchmarks, the
Radeon 9800 XT is currently the best choice for DX9 class games.
Whether or not this remains the case with some future titles
remains to be seen.
Overclocking With The Abit Radeon 9800XT 256MB
is Good. Faster is Better!
Sure, all Radeon 9800 XTs are
fast, but you know as well as we do, there is always some
overclocking headroom available to squeeze every last frame
per second out of the hardware. Enabling the Overdrive
feature available within ATi's drivers, gave the Abit Radeon
9800 XT a small boost in performance, but we wanted to see
just how far this card would go. So, we installed Rage3D
Tweak, and slowly raised the core and memory clock speeds
until we begun to see visual artifacts on-screen during the
benchmarks. In the end, we were able to take the Abit
Radeon 9800 XT up from it's default 412MHz core and 730MHz
(DDR) memory clock speeds, to a maximum 443MHz / 800MHz.
We then re-ran the 1280x1024 Gun Metal benchmark with the card overclocked to see how the increased clock speeds affected
actual in-game performance. While overclocked, we saw
a respectable 7.8% increase in frame rate, which was enough to
push the Abit Radeon 9800 XT past the GeForce FX 5950 Ultra
in this test.
When all was said and done, we
were very pleased with the Abit Radeon 9800 XT. With
its powerful GPU, it tore through our battery of benchmarks
with ease and we found its 2D and in-game 3D image quality
to be excellent, but there are some chinks in its armor.
We checked Pricewatch.Com and Pricegrabber.Com, and found
only two retailers selling the Abit Radeon 9800 XT.
Both had the card listed at about $470 USD, which is 10-15%
higher than most other 9800 XTs. The Abit Radeon 9800
XT is brand new, however, so expect this price to drop as
more retailers get the card in stock. Abit's software
and accessory bundle was also a bit sparse, especially when
compared to competing cards like Sapphire's, which includes
two full games and some proprietary utilities. In the
end, Abit's Radeon 9800 XT is as good as any other, but with
its spartan bundle and relatively high price, there are
currently some better deals available. In its current
form, we're giving the Abit Radeon 9800 XT a HotHardware
Heat Meter rating of 8.5.
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