ATi Radeon X700 XT - ATi's Answer To The GeForce 6600
Doom 3 - Single Player
** Please note in the following tests, we took scores with ATi's new Catalyst A.I. driver set to the "high" and "low" settings in the control panel. In the graphs below "4X AA/ 8X AF (High)" is representative of Cat. A.I. settings for the X700 set to "high" in the control panel. 4X AA / 8X AF (Low) is representative of Catalyst A.I. settings at "low" for the X700 and the standard 4X AA / 8X Aniso Filtering settings in NVIDIA's driver control panel.
Our HotHardware.com 'HHSite3" demo recording is representative of a classic Doom 3 gaming experience. There are lots of lighting effects in the Site3 map area, and in our demo there are also sometimes dozens of hell spawn creatures on the screen at any given time, moving in for an attack. The net result is that this demo run is a fairly vigorous workout for any 3D graphics card. In this test, the X700 XT is man-handled pretty well by the GeForce 6600 GT. ATi's Catalyst A.I. feature enabled in the high setting isn't affording much of a performance gain.
Incidentally, we were told that the Catalyst A.I. driver actually detects Doom 3's executable when the game is started and invokes a lighting shader replacement operation with a more optimized ATi-generated lighting shader effect that has an identical output image but with better performance. If you recall from our Doom 3 screen shots earlier, we were hard pressed to see any difference in image quality of any kind, including lighting, with either the "high" or "low" settings in the Catalyst A.I. control panel. So again, it appears that ATi's Doom 3 optimizations haven't encroached on image quality in an effort to achieve slightly better frame rates.
At 1600X1200 resolution, amazingly the GeForce 6600 GT remains in playable frame rate territory at 44 fps but takes a massive hit when AA and AF are enabled. The X700 XT takes much less of a hit when AA and AF are enabled but it doesn't much matter because at less that 30 fps, the X700 XT is back underneath the playable threshold in our opinion.