|Aquamark 3 comes to us by way of 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.|
Aquamark 3's blending of DX9, DX8, and DX7 shaders seems to favor the GeForce 6800 cards, as they finished a dominant 1-2-3 at 1024x768, and just missed doing the same at 1600x1200. BFG's GT model earned top honors, at least initially, where it trounced the Radeon X800 Pro by nearly 14.5%. This scenario rapidly changed once we got to applying AA and Aniso, however. While the GeForce 6800GTs were holding a comfortable lead in the beginning, the Radeon X800 Pro closed the gap somewhat at 4xAA, and then took the lead completely when Anisotropic Filtering was enabled. The same pattern continued at 1600x1200 as well. With the 5950 Ultra and 9800XT firmly left in the dust (followed closely by the GeForce 6800), the two 6800 GTs easily outperformed the X800 Pro again until we enabled AA and Aniso. All three cards were running almost equal at 4xAA, but the X800 Pro really showed the other two cards up when Aniso was applied.