Sapphire Atlantis 9800XT

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The Sapphire Atlantis 9800XT
Up Close and Personal with Sapphire's Radeon 9800 XT 256MB

By, Marco Chiappetta
December 30, 2003

Benchmarks With Unreal Tournament 2003
DX8 Performance


Unreal Tournament 2003

Epic's Unreal Tournament series has consistently been one of the most popular first person shooters, and by no coincidence is it also one of the most commonly used video card benchmarks.  We continued our DirectX benchmarking with a completely patched, retail version Unreal Tournament 2003.  When benchmarking with UT2003, we use a utility that ensures all of the cards are being tested with the exact same in-game settings and "High-Quality" graphical options. We ran the UT2003 benchmarks at resolutions of 1024x768 and 1600x1200, without anti-aliasing and then again with 4X and 6X AA enabled.  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.

In all but two test scenarios, the Sapphire Atlantis Radeon 9800 XT was the best performer in the Unreal Tournament 2003 benchmark.  At 1024x768, using every level of anti-aliasing, the Sapphire card outperformed the competition.  When we raised the resolution to 1600x1200, Sapphire's 9800 XT again outran the Asus card and the GeForce FX 5950 Ultra when 6X AA was enabled, but when no anti-aliasing or 4X anti-aliasing was used the 5950 Ultra was the victor.

Head-to-Head Performance With Splinter Cell
Stealth Pixel Shading


Splinter Cell

Splinter Cell's version 1.2 patch includes three demos in addition to a benchmarking feature.  The demos included with the patch at somewhat limited by CPU performance, however, so we used a 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.

It was another strong showing for the Radeon 9800 XTs in the Splinter Cell benchmark.  The GeForce FX 5950 Ultra was about 8.9% slower than the Sapphire Radeon 9800 XT at 1024x768.  With the resolution turned up to 1600x1200, the gap widened a bit with the Sapphire card surging ahead of the 5950 Ultra by almost 14%.  The GeForce FX 5700 Ultra obviously it couldn't keep up with the heavy-hitters in this test, but at less than half the cost, its not really expected to.  We've included the scores in this review simply as a point of reference.

Final Fantasy & Gun Metal Tests

Tags:  Sapphire, App, LAN, SAP, 980, XT, AP

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