NVIDIA'S GeForce FX 5950 Ultra

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NVIDIA'S GeForce FX 5950 Ultra - Page 4

NVIDIA'S GeForce FX 5950 Ultra
NV38 takes flight propelled with a new driver set

By David Altavilla
October 23,  2003


Head-to-Head Performance With X2 - The Threat, Rolling Demo
A Hot new Space Combat and Multi-Role DX9 driven sim

X2 - The Threat is a game that is due out in November, that probably hasn't received too much press...that is, until now.  A rolling demo version can be downloaded from http://www.egosoft.com/, and it is simply a gorgeous space simulation. The benchmark is enabled by a checkbox control panel within the demo.  Egosoft promises that X2 will provide gamers with the best gaming experience with sound and graphics to match, and based on what we saw in the demo, we would have to agree.

We ran the demo at default settings and with 4X AA and 4X AA with 8X Aniso Filtering enabled in respective driver control panels.  The results were somewhat impressive for the GeForce FX 5950.  However, we need to point out that playback on the GFFX cards wasn't nearly as smooth as with the Radeons.  It was as if the GeForce FX cards were dropping frames, which could possibly account for some of their performance advantage here.  We recall seeing this sort of behavior with Novalogic's Comanche 4, way back when with ATi cards, just as the Radeon 9700 was released.  A driver release later and all was cured by ATi.  NVIDIA has commented to us that this is a known issue with X2 and will be fixed in the next driver release, after Detonator FX 52.16.

Since this is a yet to be released title, take the scores here with a grain of salt, since there is probably a fair amount of tweaking that is going on at this very moment with the game engine and graphics card drivers as well.  We still wanted to provide the numbers for you here however and give you a sneak peek on the game.  It really is that impressive looking.

We going to reserve much comment on these scores, NVIDIA's cards clearly have the lead here but it could very well be that they are dropping every third frame (or whatever) for all we know.  We've asked for some detail from NVIDIA on this and will update this section as appropriate.

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, but this appears to be more CPU limited than GPU.  So, in order to come up with some more meaningful results, we used the Oil Rig demo created by the folks at Beyond 3D.  This demo focuses mainly on Pixel Shader performance, with its water pixel shader effects and the night vision goggle pixel shader effects.    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.

However, it is definitely worth noting that the graphical anomalies we have seen historically with the water pixel shader effect and previous Detonator releases has also now been addressed.  The Detonator 52.16 driver set renders Splinter Cell's  water effect accurately and without drop outs in surface detail.

Any way you slice it, ATi's architecture and drivers just do better with this scene area within Splinter Cell.  We're not sure if its the water pixel shader or the night vision shader that allows ATi to excel.  However, these are also not PS2.0 or DX9 effects.  It's surprising that NVIDIA still loses here, even if it is on the order of only 3% at default and 10% or so, with Aniso Filtering enabled. 


Since at 1600X1200 we experienced, nearly identical results that scale with resolution, there isn't much more to say here, so we'll move out.

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Tags:  Nvidia, GeForce, Ultra, force, fx, ULT, id

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