and Serious Sam 2
have been chosen for our
Direct3D benchmarking because they're popular enough, provide with documented
capabilities to capture and play back demo records, and able to display both
average and minimal FPS. These titles also support OpenGL rendering, but it's
either buggy (Far Cry) or slow (Serious Sam 2). Both games utilise
proprietary engines supporting SM3.0 which has been activated for all cards
tested except of Sapphire Radeon 9600XT.
(click to enlarge, 123Kb and 162Kb respectively)
A popular demo record Training by Ubisoft has been chosen. It may be
considered as consisting of two parts: inside the cave (short viewing range, low
geometry level — 20 to 50 thousand polygons per frame) and outside on a
run to the quay (long viewing range, average geometry level — 150 to 200
thousand polygons per frame). Both parts don't involve numerous lighting
sources. All game settings have been set to Very High except of Water Quality
which has been able to reach Ultra High and Shadow Quality which has got to be
At 1024x768, both Sapphire Radeon X1950 Pro and BFG GeForce 7800GS OC
deliver comparable performance to each other, though the first card performs a
little better with 16x anisotropic filtering enabled and even more better with
4x multisampled anti-aliasing enabled additionally. In general, the processor is
a primary factor limiting actual performance of these cards. As you can see, it
doesn't allow minimal FPS to go over 40-42 and average FPS — over 96-99.
On the other hand, that's more than enough for comfortable game playing.
Sapphire Radeon X1600 Pro has been very good with trilinear filtering, though
Sapphire Radeon 9600XT hasn't been far behind as well. In fact, Far Cry is quite
playable at 1024x768 with 16x anisotropic filtering and no anti-aliasing even
on Sapphire Radeon 9600XT.
The situation gets somewhat different at 1280x1024. Sapphire Radeon X1950
Pro leads, BFG GeForce 7800GS OC moves to the second position, though the other
two Radeons by Sapphire have lost even more FPS because of their 128-bit wide
data buses to video memory. Nevertheless, Sapphire Radeon X1600 Pro has been
to deliver acceptable performance with trilinear filtering while Sapphire Radeon
9600XT appears to be close to that boundary where slide-shows begin. In general,
Sapphire Radeon X1950 Pro and BFG GeForce 7800GS OC only allow to play the game
at 1280x1024 with both 16x anisotropic filtering and 4x multisampled
Serious Sam 2
(click to enlarge, 211Kb and 199Kb respectively)
The author has chosen the Branchester demo record by Croteam. This one
demonstrates all power of the Serious Sam 2 engine: long wide-angle viewing
range, large well-crafted textures, nice special effects. In general, texturing
and rasterising play a key role for this demo record, though speed of advanced
anisotropic filtering can also be well tested with it. All game options have
been set to the highest possible, neither HDR nor Bloom have been enabled.
There is an interesting situation at 1024x768. Although BFG GeForce 7800GS
OC is the best definitely with trilinear filtering because of lower processor
dependence, Sapphire Radeon X1950 Pro is far ahead in the other two modes. It's
well noticeable that Sapphire Radeon X1600 Pro feels not good with 16x
anisotropic filtering in this game, and Sapphire Radeon 9600XT allows for some
playability with trilinear filtering only.
Sapphire Radeon X1950 Pro leads at 1280x1024, and even overclocked BFG
GeForce 7800GS OC may question this fact when it comes to trilinear filtering
only. About the other cards, Sapphire Radeon X1600 Pro may offer acceptable
performance in this mode solely, and Sapphire Radeon 9600XT is good for nothing
even there. Once again, Sapphire Radeon X1950 Pro and BFG GeForce 7800GS OC only
have been able to handle the job well with both 16x anisotropic filtering and 4x
multisampled anti-aliasing enabled.