ATi Radeon X800 XT & X800 Pro - Heart Burn For The NV40

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AquaMark3 And UT2004


We'll take time to look at one more relatively "synthetic" benchmark, with Aquamark 3 and then we'll move out to real world gaming scenarios.

Performance Comparisons With Aquamark 3
DX8 and DX9 Mixed Shader Benchmarking

Aquamark 3
Aquamark 3 comes to us from the folks at 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 video 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 1024x768 and 1600x1200 with no anti-aliasing, with 4x AA, with 4X AA and 8X anisotropic filtering and lastly with 4X AA and 16X aniso.



This benchmark is heavily affected by available fill rate and shader efficiency in the graphics core.  The trend in the results shows the Radeon X800 XT takes the lead when Anisotropic Filtering is enabled but the GeForce 6800 Ultra is ahead, when no image quality enhancements are on or only when AA is enabled.  The Radeon X800 Pro also shows a similar scale, overtaking the GeForce 6800GT, when AF is turned on. The question that we'll pose here is, why wouldn't an end user have Aniso Filtering dialed up, on a $400 - $500 graphics card?  The answer is simple - of course they would.  Finally, it's obvious that the older generation cards are left in the dust by the next generation cards in this round-up.

Head-to-Head Performance With Unreal Tournament 2004
Epic's Next Smash Hit!

Unreal Tournament 2004
Epic's "Unreal" games have been wildly popular, ever since the original Unreal was released in the late '90s. Unreal, Unreal Tournament, and then Unreal Tournament 2003, rapidly became some of our favorites, for both benchmarking, and for killing a few hours when our schedules allowed it. Epic recently released the latest addition to the franchise, Unreal Tournament 2004. We used a custom bot match demo we recorded in the game, which scaled significantly in frame rates across resolutions. We then benchmarked the cards at resolutions of 1024x768 and 1600x1200, without any anti-aliasing, with 4x AA, 4X AA and 8X anisotropic filtering and lastly with 4X AA and 16X aniso.


The results we obtained here were similar to what was exhibited in our Aquamark testing.  Challenge the graphics core with additional pixel processing and the Radeon X800s win.  With AF disabled however, NVIDIA's cards take over but again obviously, by disabling AF you are also sacrificing texture detail and overall image quality.

We also ran a set of numbers that illustrate the performance differences between NVIDIA's Trilinear optimized and un-optimized modes versus the Radeon X800 XT and X800 Pro.  As you'll note here, there's about a 3 - 5% drop in frame rate for the GeForce cards, with optimizations disabled.  However, image quality, as far as we can see in UT2004, is very comparable at both of these settings for the GeForce 6800 Ultra.  The bottom line is, either way, the Radeon X800s win AF testing hands down in UT2004, as is illustrated in the above performance graph.

Tags:  ATI, Radeon, ATI Radeon, heart, art, XT, pro, RT, EA, BU, X8, AR, burn

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