Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory v1.05
|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, and the new X1000 family of cards, to really shine, and a recent patch has implemented a shader model 2.0 path for ATI's X8x0 generation of graphics hardware. For these tests we enabled the SM 3.0 path on all of the cards we tested. However, High Dynamic Range rendering was disabled so that we could test the game with anti-aliasing enabled (a future patch should enable AA with HDR on the X1K family). We benchmarked the game at resolutions of 1,280 x 1024 and 1,600 x 1,200, with 4X anti-aliasing and 16X anisotropic filtering enabled.|
If you're a regular HotHardware.Com reader, you may be thrown off by the graphs you see here and on the remaining pages. For this article, we've eliminated all of the 'standard' benchmarks that don't feature any anti-aliasing or anisotropic filtering. Quite frankly, if you're buying a high-end graphics card to game without AA and aniso, you're wasting your money. You don't need a $500+ graphics card to get high frame-rates with anti-aliasing and anisotropic filtering disabled.
We've tested all of the cards in this article at two of the most popular resolutions according to a recent reader poll, with 4X anti-aliasing and 8X or 16X anisotropic filtering enabled throughout. And a little later on, we'll throw in some ultra-high 1920x1200 resolution tests as well. The graphs are broken up by resolution, not by the level of graphics detail as in previous articles.
The new GeForce 7950 GX2 blew right past the GeForce 7900 GTX and Radeon X1900 XTX in the Splinter Cell benchmark, regardless of the resolution. Whether or not the GX2 was clocked at NVIDIA's reference specs or XFX's higher clock speeds, it had a huge advantage over any other single card setup. The dual-card CrossFire and SLI rigs were faster, however.