NVIDIA'S GeForce FX 5950 Ultra

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NVIDIA'S GeForce FX 5950 Ultra - Page 6

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

By David Altavilla
October 23,  2003


Performance Comparisons With AquaMark3
DX8 and DX9 Benchmarks

Aquamark 3 comes to us by the way of Massive Development.  Massive's release of the game Aquanox in 1999 was scoffed at by critics, yet was one of the first to implement DX8 shaders, which led to the creation of Aquamark, another benchmark used by many on line journalists. Since the Aquamark benchmarks are based on a real gaming environment, they must support old and new cards and the Direct X features they support.  Thus, Aquamark 3 utilizes not only DirectX 9 shaders, but DirectX 8 and 7 effect as well, depending on which of these is most efficient to produce the desired image.  There is no question, AquaMark3 runs an impressive looking game engine and a very flexible utility for measuring "general" DirectX gaming performance.



ATi 4X AA, 8X AF

We wanted to provide you with two side by sides captures from AQM3, with ATi's Catalyst drivers, as well as NVIDIA's new Det FX 52.16s.  Again historically, NVIDIA had serious image quality issues with dark drab washed out textures being rendered by the Detonator 51.75 drivers, versus ATI's bright detailed and significantly more accurate renderings.  However, once again, if you look at the comparison shots above, NVIDIA's image quality is absolutely on the level of ATi's now, with AA and Aniso Filtering looking as good as their rival's.

Let's see what this IQ improvement did to the numbers.

It was almost too predictable.  As you can see the GeForce FX 5950 Ultra has the horse-power to edge out the Radeon 9800XT at default settings, even at high resolution.  However, when you invoke AA and Aniso Filtering, the tables turn completely inversed.  While NVIDIA's GeForce FX 5950 Ultra enjoys a 10% lead at default settings with no AA or AF, the card takes a 10 - 25% beating, when you enable "SmoothVision" versus "Intellisample HCT", in this benchmark.  So much for the marketing.  The numbers don't lie on this test.  Anisotropic Filtering again, seems to hinder the GeForce FX 5950 and 5900 the most, although clearly they have the overall fill rate capability, as is exhibited in the default scores, at both resolutions.

Benchmarks With Halo
Halo - Finally on the PC, Where it Belongs

For many gamers out there, the release of Halo marks the end of a long wait, since it was originally released as an Xbox exclusive a few years back.  No additional patches or tweaks are needed to use Halo as a benchmark,at this point in time.  Gearbox has happily included all of the information needed in their readme files and you can run a canned recorded demo they provide, driven from a command executable call.  The benchmark runs through four of the cut-scenes from the game, after which the average frame rate is displayed to the user.  We ran the Halo timedemo twice, once at 1024x768 and again at 1280x1024, which are resolutions that we feel most players will be using for gaming in this great looking new title.  At 1600X1200 currently, in a heavy fire-fight situation even with these high end cards, frame rate can drop down below acceptable levels. 

Also, unfortunately Halo for the PC is another DX9 driven title that doesn't support Anti-Aliasing all that well as of yet.  Gearbox has disabled it in the engine as of this point in time, but will hopefully come back with a patch to enable it with decent performance levels, in the future.  As it stands now, if you force AA on with Halo, the frame rate hit is enormous and you don't get the benefit of AA in the image quality.


In standard game play, with out image quality enhancements like Aniso Filtering, the GFFX 5950U can't quite compete with the Radeon 9800XT, although the race is fairly "nip and tuck".  On the other hand, again when you enable Aniso Filtering at any mid range or high end resolution level, the Radeons of both flavors, standard and XT variants, take the lead from about 10 - 20%.  Again however, it seems as though if NVIDIA can grind out better performance from their Aniso algorithms and maintain the same good image quality we've shown your earlier here, they do have the overall horse-power in general, to give the Radeon 9800 line a run for its money in this great looking new DX9 enhanced game.

Overclocking With Halo And The Wrap-up!

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