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NVIDIA GeForce FX 5800 Ultra 128MB

February 18, 2003



 





As usual, before we proceed to analysis of the new accelerator we recommend that you read the analytic article scrutinizing the architecture and specifications of the NVIDIA GeForce FX (NV30)

CONTENTS

  1. General information
  2. Peculiarities of the NVIDIA GeForce FX 5800 Ultra 128MB video card 
  3. Test system configuration and drivers' settings 
  4. Test results: briefly on 2D 
  5. RightMark3D synthetic tests: philosophy and tests description
  6. Test results: RightMark3D: Pixel Filling 
  7. Test results: RightMark3D: Geometry Processing Speed 
  8. Test results: RightMark3D: Hidden Surface Removal 
  9. Test results: RightMark3D: Pixel Shading 
  10. Test results: RightMark3D: Point Sprites 
  11. Test results: 3DMark2001 SE synthetic tests 
  12. Additional theoretical information and summary on the synthetic tests
  13. Information on anisotropic filtering and anti-aliasing
  14. Architectural features and prospects
  15. Test results: 3DMark2001 SE: Game1 
  16. Test results: 3DMark2001 SE: Game2 
  17. Test results: 3DMark2001 SE: Game3 
  18. Test results: 3DMark2001 SE: Game4 
  19. Test results: 3DMark03: Game1 
  20. Test results: 3DMark03: Game2 
  21. Test results: 3DMark03: Game3 
  22. Test results: 3DMark03: Game4 
  23. Test results: Quake3 ARENA 
  24. Test results: Serious Sam: The Second Encounter 
  25. Test results: Return to Castle Wolfenstein 
  26. Test results: Code Creatures DEMO 
  27. Test results: Unreal Tournament 2003 DEMO 
  28. Test results: AquaMark 
  29. Test results: RightMark 3D 
  30. Test results: DOOM III Alpha version 
  31. 3D quality: Anisotropic filtering
  32. 3D quality: Anti-aliasing
  33. 3D quality in general
  34. Conclusion 

3D graphics, 3DMark03 game tests

The long-awaited sequel of the 3DMark packet - 3DMark03 - was released just shortly ago. 
 











This packet will be separately scrutinized as soon as possible, and now look at the current results: 
 

3DMark03, 3DMARKS




In general, the NV30 is a good boy. What helps it perform so well? We'll find it out after testing with the 4 games included in this packet. At the end we will make the conclusion and discuss what the 3DMark has turned in. 

3DMark03, Game1

Characteristics of the Wings of Fury test: 
 






  • DirectX 7.0; approx. 32000 polygons on the scene, 16 MB memory used for textures, 6 MB for buffers for vertices and 1 MB for indices. 
  • All geometrical operations are based on Vertex Shaders 1.1 which can be emulated via CPU (if there is no hardware support). 
  • All planes have 4 texture layers, that is why the accelerators able to process 4 textures in a pass will benefit. 
  • Fire and tail effects are made with the point sprite techniques and others. 


 




Well, the test is very simple for such cards. 

3DMark03, Game2

Battle of Proxycon: 
 






  • DirectX 8.1; Approx. 250 000 polygons on the scene with Pixel Shaders 1.1 (and 150 000 polygons on the scene with Shaders 1.4), 80 MB memory used for textures, 6 MB for buffers for vertices and 1 MB for indices.
  • All geometrical operations are based on Vertex Shaders 1.1 which can be emulated via CPU (if there is no hardware support). 
  • All heroes are "dressed" with the vertex shaders as well. 
  • Some light sources made dynamic shadows with a stencil buffer. 
  • All pixel operations are carried out with the shaders 1.1, and if possible with shaders 1.4. 
  • Calculation of per-pixel lighting for haze effects and other components. 
  • Accelerators supporting pixel shaders 1.1 use one pass for determining Z buffer, then 3 passes for each light source. If an accelerator supports shaders 1.4, it needs one pass for each light source. 


 




The situation is similar, and it is fatal for the GeForce4 Ti (the reasons are clear - just look at the specs of this test). 

3DMark03, Game3

Trolls' Lair: 
 









  • DirectX 8.1; approx. 560 000 polygons on the scene with Pixel Shaders 1.1 (and 280 000 polygons on the scene with Shaders 1.4), 64 MB memory used for textures, 19MB for buffers for vertices and 2 MB for indices. 
  • All geometrical operations are based on Vertex Shaders 1.1 which can be emulated via CPU (if there is no hardware support). 
  • All heroes are "dressed" with the vertex shaders as well. 
  • Some light sources made dynamic shadows with a stencil buffer. 
  • All pixel operations are carried out with the shaders 1.1, and if possible with shaders 1.4. 
  • Calculation of per-pixel lighting for haze effects and other components. 
  • Realism of the heroine's hair is achieved with physical models and anisotropic lighting. 


 




This test is more complicated, and the NV30 makes every effect to stay ahead. 

3DMark03, Game4

Mother Nature: 
 














  • DirectX 9.0; approx. 780 000 polygons on the scene, 50 MB memory used for textures, 54MB for buffers for vertices and 9 MB for indices. 
  • Every leaf is separately animated with Vertex Shaders 2.0. The grass is animated with vertex shaders 1.1. 
  • The lake's surface is formed with pixel shaders 2.0. 
  • The sky is made with pixel shaders 2.0, for sun glints the test uses the extra precision of calculations realized in the DX9. 
  • The earth surface is made with shaders 1.4. 


 




So, what's this? The pixel shaders 2.0 of the NV30 are not fast at all but the NVIDIA's solution has a good advantage here. Let's analyze the 3DMark03 test itself. 

The 3DMark03 is not a DirectX 9.0 or at least DirectX 8.1 packet in the full sense of the word, because it contains tests for DirectX 7.0 and some partial DX9 tests (Game 4 - shaders 2.0 are not used everywhere). Of course, the packet is very heavy for the today's' accelrators, especially of the previous generations. The developers as usual has made it with some reserve for future. But does or will the 3DMark03 reflect the reality of the game world? Will there be games with engines similar to the techniques used in this packet? I doubt it. If the 3DMark2001 more or less reflected some technologies used by the game developers (Max Payne is made on the engine used for 3DMark2001), the 3DMark03 is entirely a thing in itself. Well, we will certainly use this packet for comparative estimation of cards. But I want to address the game developers once more time: will you please make the benchmarks in games! All developers use the benchmark tools for their internal purposes. 

Another important issue is that three days ago when the drivers v42.68 weren't available yet, the NV30 failed in every test on the drivers 42.63 losing to the RADEON 9700 PRO. The programmers at NVIDIA proved that it's not a problem to optimize a driver for a certain test: the driver 42.68 provided a good gain in the 3DMark03 (from 3500 to 5264), in games the speed hasn't changed like in 3DMark2001. Tomorrow ATI will do the same thing, then it will be NVIDIA's turn and so on. That is why  think well what the 3DMark actually reflects. 

It's not self advertizing but we do have the RightMark 3D which is based on the reference technologies from DirectX. We also offer the source codes of the programs so that the experts can estimate it. For the moment it's only synthetic tests, but games are right around the corner already. 
 
 
 

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Andrey Vorobiev (anvakams@ixbt.com)
Alexander Medvedev (unclesam@ixbt.com

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