With Novalogic's Comanche 4
Combat Helicopter Sim
We used Novalogic's combat helicopter simulator Comanche
4 for our next batch of DirectX tests. Comanche 4
uses DX8 class pixel and vertex shaders to produce some
of the realistic visuals used throughout the game.
Unlike some of the previous tests, this benchmark is
heavily influenced by CPU and system memory performance,
especially at lower resolutions. However, when the
resolution is raised and anti-aliasing and anisotropic
filtering are enabled, the current crop of video cards
tend to slow down quite a bit.
Without any anti-aliasing, all
of the cards performed at similar levels, with only a few
frames per second separating the competitors at both
resolutions. Once AA was enabled though, the Radeons
pulled ahead of the MSI FX5950 Ultra. With 4X AA
enabled, both the Radeon 9800 XT and the 256MB Radeon 9800 Pro
outpaced the 5950, but the performance differences weren't
drastic. ATi's 6X AA performance once again dominated
the 5950 Ultra in this test, however. The MSI FX5950 Ultra
redeemed itself somewhat once we also turn on 8X Anisotropic
filtering in conjunction with 4X AA. In the AA + Aniso
tests, the 5950 Ultra won at both resolutions.
Benchmarks / Comparison
Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory
Engine Based Freebie
We also ran through a
batch of timedemos with the OpenGL game Wolfenstein: Enemy
ET is a free, standalone multiplayer game that is based
on the original Return to Castle Wolfenstein, which was
released a few years back. It uses a heavily modified
version of the Quake 3 engine which makes it a very easy to
use benchmarking tool.
We created a custom demo and used the built-in timedemo
feature to check each card's frame rate. The tests
below were run at 1024x768 and again at 1600x1200, without
anti-aliasing, with 4X AA and again with 4X AA and 8X
Here are a couple of graphs
that'll make the folks at ATi cringe when they see them!
The MSI FX5950 Ultra crushed the best ATi had to offer in
the Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory tests, regardless of
resolution or level of anti-aliasing and anisotropic
filtering used. We should point out that ATi is aware
of these performance issues, and should fix them soon.
Here's a quote taken from the Catalyst 4.1 release notes
that says ATI is on top of this, "Significant performance
loss is noticed in Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory. This issue
is already resolved and a fix will be available in the next
CATALYST? driver release". [ed. As we were
posting this article, ATi released the Catalyst 4.2 drivers.
The release notes do not report this issue as being
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