Tournament's Fly By Demos are perhaps the most relevant
gaming benchmarks we can show you at this point in time.
Not only are Unreal II and UT2003 extremely popular games
but the game engine itself showcases leading edge DX8 3D
rendering effects and impressive eye candy. If
you're looking for "real-world" performance metrics, this
benchmark is the one to focus on, at least for now.
However, when Doom3 appears, you can be sure we'll be
relying on it heavily around the lab here, for next
generation Graphics Card performance analysis.
Unreal Tournament 2003 Benchmarks
Current, Mainstream Direct X 8 Gameplay
In these final
tests, we've narrowed the field down to just the Radeon
9800 Pro 256MB card and the GeForce FX 5900 Ultra.
Here are the results...
Radeon 9800 Pro 256MB card definitely "hangs" with the
GeForce FX 5900 Ultra at standard settings, enable AA or
Aniso Filtering and the GFFX 5900 Ultra begins to distance
itself handily. With 4X AA enabled the GFFX 5900 U
has a 19% lead. With 8X AF enabled on top of that,
the gap closes to 12%. You can't argue with those
numbers but you can argue a bit with the IQ of the R9800
Pro 256, which has slightly cleaner looking AA overall.
Regardless, NVIDIA's top card has the horsepower to spare
obviously and without question, a driver revision could
indeed improve the IQ of the card.
More of the
same is show here, only at 1600X1200 resolution, the GFFX
5900 Ultra shows its fill rate and memory bandwidth
advantage, even with AA or AF enabled. We should
also note that our we were informed of a driver bug in
NVIDIA's 44.03 Detonator FX drivers, that causes
inefficient use of frame buffer memory, when triple
buffering is enabled as well as AA, at resolutions above
1024X768 in this test. The scores here are
representative of triple buffer being turned off for both
cards, while using a standard "high quality" ini file,
that sets both cards to identical high quality rendering
modes within the Unreal graphics engine.
The GeForce FX
5900 Ultra has an impressive 29% lead over the Radeon 9800
Pro card at default settings. The lead then expands
to 33% with 4X AA enabled but closes down again to 15%
when you turn on 8X Anisotropic Filtering. For sure,
NVIDIA's card is much more heavily impacted by AF
processing overhead. However, it's still faster by a
significant margin, no matter how you slice it.
about our conclusion here, from the "fortunate enthusiast"
perspective. You're about to plunk down $499 on a
Graphics Card ( MSRP for both the R9800 Pro 256MB and the
GFFX 5900 Ultra, with lower street prices eventually) and
you want a "no compromises" solution with the best frame
rates and image quality. Let's REALLY think about
this, people. We are definitely in a bit of a
conundrum with respect to what our preference would be
here at HotHardware. Personally, I can't remember a
time in my 5 year career here, as Founder of this site,
where I have been so totally on the fence about a
competitive product match-up. Let's break this down.
On one hand,
we have the "brute force" all out monster frame rates of
the GeForce FX 5900 Ultra. The card takes no
prisoners and makes no excuses. It consumes two PCI
slots in your PC chassis, is louder (although a quantum
leap improvement over the 5800 Ultra) and bulkier than the
Radeon 9800 Pro 256MB card. It punches out overall
frame rate that is a notch above the Radeon 9800 Pro 256MB
card, even with ATi's latest extremely mature Catalyst
Driver suite, in almost all test conditions. In the
end, the 5900 Ultra may end up costing you more, because
it clearly must cost more to build. However, you
don't care, you are the top end niche' of the Enthusiast
PC market. Cost is not an object.
On the other
hand the Radeon 9800 Pro 256MB card takes up one slim PCI
slot. Its HSF assembly is nearly inaudible.
The card boasts easily the best looking Anti-Aliasing on
the market right now (at least until NVIDIA releases a new
driver that could clean things up) and when you turn on
Aniso Filtering it comes within striking distance of the
GFFX 5900 Ultra. You want crisp, sharp, detailed
gaming at high frame rates and you are willing to pay for
it. The Radeon 9800 Pro 256MB, with its sleek
elegant design, looks pretty sexy too, just like your
girlfriend's friend (or the other way around for you
ladies in our audience).
speak as a "team" here at HotHardware. However, this
time I'm going to make an exception and just plain level
with all of you, personally. As Computer Hardware
Journalists and Media types, we have the ability to run
THE best gear in our own rigs, anytime we want. If
we need to pull a card out for the test bench, so be it.
After the article is done, pop the card back in and
reboot. As such, I have my druthers on which 3D
Graphics Accelerator I'm going to run personally. I
think my needs are fairly representative of a lot of our
readers. I like to work, surf the net, watch TV and
play games on my computer. When I'm on the desktop,
I want the best 2D image quality money can buy. I
spend countless hours staring at the screen, on launch
article for example. When I game, I want the fastest
frame rates and the best image quality. Why?
Because I can have it, if I so choose. So, where
does this leave me with two of the top 3D cards at my
disposal? I am on the fence here and I can't seem to
fall off one way or the other. With the impressive
frame rates of the GeForce FX 5900 Ultra, I would have to
lean that way, if and only if, NVIDIA can clean up their
AA and take their Aniso performance up a notch. If
not, I would lean the way of the Radeon 9800 Pro 256MB
card or a 128MB version for that matter. The frame
rates are right up there and the IQ is to die for.
Sorry folks, I
know it sounds pretty indecisive but we're going to
reserve formal comment on this match-up, at least until
NVIDIA formally hits production with the GeForce FX 5900
Ultra in June. Maybe then, with a new driver
release, the tables will turn more definitively to the
GFFX 5900 Ultra, since it is the faster of the two cards,
without question. However, frame rate isn't
everything anymore. You know that, I know that and
so do NVIDIA and ATi. What a coin toss and what a
great problem to have.
you are Poly Pushing, Anisotropically Filtered Gaming
Speak your mind in the