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Sapphire Radeon X1950 Pro 512Mb AGP:
Review and Testing

Paul V. Bolotoff
Release date: 31st of March 2007
Last modify date: 27th of May 2007


OpenGL Games (Quake 4, Prey)

Quake 4 and Prey have been chosen for our OpenGL benchmarking. Once again, they're popular titles, both provide with documented capabilities to capture and play back demo records, and capable of displaying both average and minimal FPS. Both of them are based upon the Doom 3 engine by id Software, and there is no way to run these ones under Direct3D. This engine supports SM 3.0 which is activated automatically for all cards tested except of Sapphire Radeon 9600XT indeed.
Quake 4
Quake 4, screen shot N1 Quake 4, screen shot N2
(click to enlarge, 90Kb and 102Kb respectively)

There is no demo record on the Net to illustrate the best features of Quake 4 (it hasn't been found at least), so the author has decided to record one of his own, and here it is. The action takes place in Stroggs' air defence trenches. There are many lighting sources, high-detailed explosions and other interesting things to see. The whole 64.6Mb demo record may be downloaded by following this ed2k link. All effects have been enabled in the game (Shadows, Specular, Bump Maps and so on). Very High texture quality has been chosen because Ultra High is recommended for video cards with 512Mb of video memory installed, and Sapphire Radeon X1950 Pro only has got that much.
Quake 4

It's noticeable clearly that this demo record depends on processor performance very much at 1024x768. Results of Sapphire Radeon X1950 Pro and BFG GeForce 7800GS OC aren't much different, though the latter card hasn't been able to stay on a par with 16x anisotropic filtering and 4x multisampled anti-aliasing enabled. Sapphire Radeon X1600 Pro may be considered as acceptable renderer when no 4x multisampled anti-aliasing involved, and Sapphire Radeon 9600XT just hasn't been tough enough for any mode.
When it comes to 1280x1024 with no anti-alising activated, Sapphire Radeon X1950 Pro and BFG GeForce 7800GS OC are still as good as at 1024x768. However, 4x multisampled anti-aliasing has been a too hard job for the latter card, though the leader has experienced significant performance degradations as well. About Sapphire Radeon X1600 Pro, it's of no gaming use in either mode, no matter overclocked or not, just like Sapphire Radeon 9600XT.
Prey, screen shot N1 Prey, screen shot N2
(click to enlarge, 132Kb and 85Kb respectively)

Although Prey and Quake 4 are based upon the same engine, this game is a well-done one with an interesting game-play. Like with Quake 4 above, the author has been up to record a demo of his own. The action takes place on the All Fall Down level, right when the hero is about to knock out with a monkey-wrench his first alien head-hunter. The scene features many high-detailed textures and special effects. Since the action takes place in a closed space, performance of the demo shouldn't be sensitive much to advanced anisotropic filtering. More on that, difference in quality between 16x anisotropic and trilinear filtering should be almost unnoticeable. This demo record of 8.66Mb may be downloaded by following this ed2k link. All game options have been set to the highest possible, all effects have been enabled as well.

Well, Sapphire Radeon X1950 Pro is the best at 1024x768. BFG GeForce 7800GS OC is very good, but it's nowhere close to the leader. Sapphire Radeon X1600 Pro shows acceptable performance when no 4x multisampled anti-aliasing activated. Just like with Quake 4 above, Sapphire Radeon 9600XT is of no practical use.
There is no surprise at 1280x1024. Sapphire Radeon X1950 Pro is excellent even with 16x anisotropic filtering and 4x multisampled anti-aliasing, BFG GeForce 7800GS OC is slower considerably but still good except of the hardest mode, and Sapphire Radeon X1600 Pro cannot run the distance fast enough. No need to comment anything on results of Sapphire Radeon 9600XT.
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Copyright (c) Paul V. Bolotoff, 2006-07. All rights reserved.
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