Diamond S80 Video Card Review

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Diamond S80 Video Card Review - Page 3

Diamond Multimedia's Stealth S80
A legend returns to the graphics market

By Robert Maloney
February 15th, 2003

Benchmarks With Unreal Tournament 2003
DX8 Performance In The Mainstream

Epic's Unreal Tournament 2003 has consistently been one of the more popular shooters, and by no coincidence is it also one of the most used benchmarks for video card testing.  There are many variants to testing the game, one of which is to use a "Flyby", which plays back a recorded tour of one of the levels.  Here in the labs, we use a custom INI file that maximizes the graphical settings, and then displays the average frame rate.  We chose to run the tests at 1024x768x32 and 1280x1024x32 scores for our report, with and without 2X anti-aliasing enabled. 

There's really no comparison between the two cards in the Unreal 2003 benchmark.  On the whole, the Stealth S80 put up some painfully slow scores, usually about half of what we got with the GeForce FX 5200 Ultra.  To its merit, the performance hit when applying two samples of AA was minor, especially when compared to the competition.  We still wouldn't recommend it, however, since it seems we will need all of the frames we can get to maintain "playable" conditions.

Head-to-Head Performance With Splinter Cell
Stealth Pixel Shading Redefined

Splinter Cell's version 1.2 patch includes three demos in addition to a benchmarking feature.  We used the Oil Rig demo created by the folks at Beyond 3D to benchmark with Splinter Cell.  This demo removes two CPU intensive routines while increasing dependence on Pixel Shader performance.  Shaders are used to render the realistic looking ocean water surrounding the Oil Rig, as well as simulating a night vision display.  As we've mentioned in the past, anti-aliasing doesn't work with Splinter cell (at least with the current version).  Due to this fact, as well as the obvious reasons, we do not have any AA scores listed in the graphs below.


These two graphs told us two things: one, the Stealth S80 lost out to the 5200 Ultra at both resolutions, and two, we can say with utmost certainty that neither card should be used to play this game.  We barely were able to get over ten frames per second at 1024x768 with the 5200 Ultra.  Worse, the Stealth S80 was hovering closer to five fps.  Oddly enough, when actually watching the demo, the performance didn't seem as bad as the numbers actually were, but you can be sure we're not going to try playing this game with these cards anytime soon.

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