|Aquamark 3 comes to us by way of game developer Massive Development. Massive's release of the original Aquanox in 1999 wasn't very well received by the gaming community, but it was one of the first games to implement DX8-class shaders. This led to the creation of Aquamark 2 - a benchmark previously used by many analysts. Because the Aquamark benchmarks are based on an actual game engine, they must support old and new video cards alike. Thus, the latest version of Aquamark, Aquamark 3, utilizes not only DirectX 9-class shaders, but DirectX 8 and DirectX 7, as well. We ran this benchmark at resolutions of 1,024 x 768 and 1,600 x 1,200 with no anti-aliasing enabled and with 4X AA and 8X aniso enabled concurrently.|
From this point forward in this review, we'll also be testing each card with 4X anti-aliasing and 8X anisotropic filtering enabled. In every test, except for UT2004 and Riddick, we enabled AA and aniso from each game's respective options menu. With UT and Riddick, however, we set the anti-aliasing and aniso filtering level using each card's driver control panel.
As you can see in the graphs above, the Sapphire Radeon X850XT Platinum Edition breezed right through the Aquamark tests, besting the Radeon X800 XL and both GeForce 6800 cards by sizable margins at both resolutions. At 1600x1200 especially, when anti-aliasing and anisotropic filtering were enabled, the Sapphire Radeon X850XT PE outpaced the GeForce 6800 Ultra by just over 35%.