ATI Radeon 9600 XT

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The ATi Radeon 9600 XT
ATi Gives Their Mainstream Product a 100MHz Boost

By Robert Maloney
October 15th, 2003

Benchmarks With Unreal Tournament 2003
DX8 Performance In The Mainstream

Epic's Unreal Tournament has consistently been one of the most popular shooters, and by no coincidence is it also one of the most used benchmarks for video card testing.  There are many variants to testing the demo version, one of which is to use a "Flyby", which plays back a recorded tour of one of the levels.  Here in the labs, we use a custom INI file that maximizes the graphical settings, and then displays the average frame rate for three strenuous resolutions.  We chose the 1024x768x32 and 1600x1200x32 scores for our reports, with and without anti-aliasing enabled.

With all of the controversy concerning NVIDIA's attempts at driver optimizations geared towards Anisotropic Filtering, we have only put up numbers with and without AA enabled  At the lower resolution, the 9600 Pro put up the highest number, besting the 9600 XT by 7 frames per second.  We ran these numbers a few times to check our results but always came up with the same numbers.  The rest of the scores fell more into what we had expected, with the 9600 XT back on top, with or without AA enabled.  Both 9600s took a minor hit with AA when compared to the GeForce FX 5600, which dropped down almost a third at 4XAA, and another third at 6XAA.  At higher resolutions, the 9600XT beat out the earlier model, and walloped the GF FX 5600 with a 37% increase in performance.  Anti-aliasing put a big hit into all of the cards, hitting the Radeons the hardest and leveling the playing field somewhat.  At 4XAA at 1600x1200, the difference between the Radeon 9600 XT and GeForce FX 5600 had shrunk to "only" 24%.

Head-to-Head Performance With Splinter Cell
Stealth Pixel Shading Redefined

Splinter Cell's version 1.2 patch includes three demos in addition to a benchmarking feature, but this appears to be more CPU limited than VPU.  So, in order to come up with some more meaningful results, we used the Oil Rig demo created by the folks at Beyond 3D.  This demo removes two CPU intensive routines while increasing dependence on Pixel Shader performance.  Shaders are used to render the realistic looking ocean water surrounding the Oil Rig, as well as simulating a night vision display.  As we've mentioned in the past, anti-aliasing doesn't work with Splinter cell (at least with the current version).  Due to this fact, we do not have any AA scores listed in the graphs below.

Again the two Radeons were victorious in this benchmark, really pulling away at higher resolutions from the GeForce FX 5600.  The DX9 pixel shaders used in the Caspian Oil Rig Demo are handled much better by the two ATi cards, and the extra clock speed of the Radeon 9600 XT made the difference between the two.  The GeForce FX 5600 actually fell behind by 45% at 1600x1200, and only managed to just get over 10 frames per second.  If this is evidence of NVIDIA's current state of affairs when dealing with DX9 games in their mainstream product, then it seems they have plenty of work to do...  

Final Fantasy & Gun Metal Tests

Tags:  ATI, Radeon, ATI Radeon, XT

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