With Unreal Tournament 2003
Whetting our appetite for Unreal TMNT 2004
Tournament has consistently been one of the most 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 demo version,
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 for three strenuous
resolutions. We chose the 1024x768x32 and 1600x1200x32
scores for our reports, with and without anti-aliasing
We kept Anisotropic
filtering disabled here because NVIDIA and ATi aren't
doing the same level of trilinear filtering when aniso
and trilinear are enabled together.
set of scores at 1024x768 really didn't give us the kind of
deltas that one would have hoped for.
Generally speaking, because we were CPU limited at the lower
resolution, the GeForce FX cards beat out the Radeons. Within each grouping, the scores
were tight with only a frame or two separating the cards.
We began to see some differences when we enabled 4XAA,
however. The two Radeon 9800 cards and the 5950 Ultra were
barely affected, but the other three all had some degree of
performance loss, although the frame rates were still quite
high. Running UT2003 at 1600x1200 really separated the
men from the boys, as it were. The 5950 Ultra stood
tall at 112.21 fps, roughly 5% better than the two Radeon
9800s. These were followed more distantly by the
5900XT, the 5700 Ultra, and finally the 9600XT.
Typically, 4XAA knocked the GFFX cards for a loop. For
example, the 5950 Ultra lost just over 40 fps, more than one
third of its original frame rate. The Radeons took
4XAA more in stride except for the 9600XT, where running
UT2003 at these settings was more of a chore than it could
Stealth Pixel Shading Redefined
Splinter Cell's version 1.2 patch includes three
pre-recorded demos and incorporates a previously
unavailable benchmarking tool. The demos included with
the patch are somewhat limited by CPU performance,
however, so we used the custom Oil Rig demo created by
the folks at Beyond 3D to test with this game. Beyond
3D's 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 in the demo, as well as
simulating a night vision effect.
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, we do not
have any AA scores listed in the graphs below.
some close races at both the top and the bottom of the
charts at both resolutions once again. The two heavy
hitters faced off, and the 9800XT came out on top,
each time leading the 5950 Ultra by almost two frames per
Coming it right behind the 5950 Ultra was the 9800 Pro,
which nearly closed the gap at 1600x1200. The 5900XT
tried to keep up, although it ended up between 10-15%
behind the 9800 Pro. The last two cards in our roundup
were well off the mark, tying each other for the most
part, but usually 40% or more behind the leaders.
Final Fantasy & Gun Metal Tests