Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory
|Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory uses a heavily modified version of Epic's Unreal Engine, enhanced with a slew of DX9 class shaders, dynamic lighting and mapping effects. This game produces some gorgeous imagery with its very immersive, albeit dark environments. We should note that 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 wasn't until the latest v1.04 patch was released that a shader model 2.0 path was added to take advantage of ATI's current hardware. (Note: Our testing was done with the v1.03 patch for this article. This will change in future articles.) For the test results listed below, we turned off HDR rendering and parallax mapping 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.|
Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory is one of those games that makes the last-gen high-end cards, like the 6800 Ultra and X850 Platinum Edition, seem like entry level products, especially when their performance is compared to the MSI NX7800GTX cards. A pair of GeForce 6800 Ultras in SLI mode overtake a single GeForce 7800 GTX at both resolutions, but there is no other single card that even comes close to the performance level of a GeForce 7800 GTX, like MSI's NX7800GTX, in Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory. A pair of NX7800GTX cards just ups the ante even further.