Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory
Splinter Cell - Chaos Theory is a bit more challenging for NVIDIA cards, with its game engine based on a DX9 code path but also supporting Shader Model 3.0 rendering, which ATi cards do not support. We tested ATi cards with the game's default shader model 1.1 code path and tested the NVIDIA-based cards with their more powerful shader model 3.0 code path enabled in the game engine but turned off HDR rendering features in order to balance the work-loads for each type of card.
|We've recently added Ubisoft's great new game, Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory, to our suite of game benchmarks. Based on a heavily modified version of the Unreal Engine, enhanced with a slew of DX9 shaders, lighting and mapping effects, Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory is gorgeous with its very immersive, albeit dark environment. The game engine has a shader model 3.0 code path that allows the GeForce 6 & 7 Series of cards to really shine, but it does not have shader model 2.0 path to fall back upon at the moment. So, when paired with the current generation of ATI's 3D hardware, Chaos Theory uses a shader model 1.1 code path. For these tests we turned off High Dynamic Range rendering to somewhat level the playing field and benchmarked the game at resolutions of 1,280 x 1024 and 1,600 x 1,200, both with and without anti-aliasing and anisotropic filtering.|
We realize our readers are a quick study, so we're sure it won't take you long to notice that, even with a SM3.0 code path enabled, NVIDIA's GeForce 6 of GPUs don't quite measure up to ATi's Radeon X8XX product offering in Splinter Cell CT's game engine. However, in stark contrast, the BFG GeForce 7800GTX OC, with its additional 8 pixel processing pipelines, takes the ATi X850 XT PE to task handily. Depending on resolution and AA level, we saw a 23 - 40% performance advantage for the BFG GeForce 7800GTX OC card, a very strong showing all around. Also, at 1280X1024 and even 1600X1200 resolution, HDR (high dynamic range) rendering effects (although performance isn't shown here) can really add to the visual impact in the game engine and they're absolutely playable on this new BFG GeForce 7800GTX card. Although you do lose the ability to run anti-aliasing with HDR enabled, so it's a bit of a trade-off if you're the type that likes to clean up the jaggies completely.