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

Performances Comparisons With Novalogic's Comanche 4
The Performance Battlefield

I guess you could call Comanche 4 the old man on the block, as it is probably the oldest of the tests in our current suite of video card benchmarks.  Comanche 4 uses DX8 class pixel and vertex shaders to produce some of the realistic visuals used throughout the game.  Unlike the previous tests, this benchmark is heavily influenced by CPU and system memory performance, especially at lower resolutions.  However, when the resolution is raised and AA and Anisotropic filtering are enabled, the current crop of video cards tend to slow down quite a bit

As we've seen and reported in the past, the Comanche 4 Demo is much more of a CPU-bound test than any of the other benchmarks we have used.  So much so, in fact, that at lower resolutions we saw little difference between the Radeon scores, although the GeForce FX 5600 still slipped to the back of the pack.  Applying anti-aliasing affected the 5600 the most, dropping it by almost 60% when using 6XAA.  The two Radeons were able to handle this much better with the 9600 XT losing at most 11 frames per second, or about 22%.  At 1600x1200, the Radeon 9600 Pro and XT models easily and thoroughly outpaced the GeForce FX 5600 until AA and AF were enabled, which really put the three cards into equal footing.  Again we see that AF is having less of an effect on the 5600 benchmarks, as the 5600 and the 9600 Pro scores are very similar in the bottom graph.

Benchmarks / Comparison With Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory
New Game, Better Effects, Old Engine

Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory can also be included in the "older" crowd, although its focus is on OpenGL testing (and yes, that means Quake 3 Arena is officially gone).  Wolfenstein: ET is a free standalone multiplayer game that is based on the original Return to Castle Wolfenstein. It uses a modified Quake3 engine yet exhibits plenty of CPU scaling and platform variation, which also makes it a good benchmarking tool.  We used the built-in timedemo benchmark, with a customer timedemo, which plays back a recorded multiplayer session.

Like Comanche 4, Wolfenstein doesn't show too much of a disparity when swapping video cards, with the 5600 almost beating out the 9600XT at 1600x1200.  When we started enabling AA in the control panels, the 5600 finally earned the top spot, beating both Radeons pretty handily.  It seems NVIDIA still handled OpenGL quite well, and although we could not get 6XAA to work with this benchmark we feel confident that the 5600 would have still come out on top.  We saw another anomaly when trying to run 4XAA and AF at 1600x1200 on the 9600XT.  Although the 9600 Pro ran fine, the 9600XT seemed unable to accept these values, and actually posted a number higher  than the non-AA score.  This might just be a driver issue that needs to get ironed out with the new XT line of Radeons and Catalyst 3.8 drivers.

X2 The Threat, Overclocking & Our Final Analysis

Tags:  ATI, Radeon, ATI Radeon, XT

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