AquaMark 3 Testing
AquaMark 3 is one of those benchmarks that we are a bit torn about with respect to its relative usefulness as a performance metric. Granted, it is a legitimate game engine that you can in fact play within the worlds of Aquanox 2. But it is aging a bit, and it seems like the install base of this particular benchmark is withering. Regardless, the benchmark does make use of a mixed bag of shader effects, so we're keeping it in our repertoire for now.
|AquaMark 3 comes to us by way of Massive Development. Massive's release of the original Aquanox in 1999 wasn't very well received by the gaming community, but it was one of the first games to implement DX8-class shaders, which led to the creation of AquaMark 2 - a benchmark previously used by many analysts. Since the AquaMark benchmarks are based on an actual game engine, they must support old and new graphics cards alike. Thus, the latest version of AquaMark, AquaMark 3, utilizes not only DirectX 9-class shaders, but DirectX 8 and DirectX 7, as well. We ran this benchmark at resolutions of 1,024 x 768 and 1,600 x 1,200 with no antialiasing, with 4x AA, and with 4X AA and 16X aniso enabled concurrently.|
This test favors the Anisotropic Filtering algorithms of the Radeon X800 XT, and at a higher resolution, when the benchmark is less CPU bound, the margin of performance advantage is even more pronounced. Here we see the GeForce 6800 Ultra-based cards taking the lead handily at default resolutions of both 1,024 x 768 and 1,600 x 1,200. In addition, the V9999 Ultra and its GeForce 6800 Ultra counterparts hold strong throughout with AA enabled. However, turn on AF, and ATi's Radeon X800 XT VPU pulls ahead significantly.