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Battle of
ATI RADEON X800 XT and NVIDIA GeForce 6800 Ultra
- Part Five:
Game-based Filtering Tests

June 9, 2004









CONTENTS

  1. Introduction
  2. R420/NV40 features
  3. Configurations of testbeds, test tools
  4. Filtering quality: FarCry
  5. Filtering quality: Need For Speed: Underground
  6. Filtering quality: Pirates of the Carribean
  7. Filtering quality: Unreal II
  8. Filtering quality: Unreal Tournament 2004
  9. Filtering quality: Serious Sam: The Second Encounter
  10. Filtering quality: Painkiller
  11. Conclusions



Like any other grand battle, this one will last for a very long time. Hardly had front engagements ceased that both parties carried out cunning manoeuvres and rushed for the flanks...

The articles below contain a history of this "holy battle" for the 3D-graphic crown.

Theoretical materials and videocard reviews concerning ATI RADEON X800 (R420) and NVIDIA GeForce 6800 (NV40) GPU functionality

The following situation can be observed now at the rear. One RADEON X800 Pro card family appeared in Moscow stores, although its price (USD 510) is far from the announced USD 399. However, it is probably due to the fact that vendors want to get superprofits from the new product. GeForce 6800 Ultra, too, looked into the stores, but timidly and somewhat higgledy-piggledy. It was given such a warm welcome that its price immediately rose over USD 700. The only time I remember such exorbitant prices was in 1998 when Quantum3D Obsidian X-24 (2xVoodoo2) appeared.

Well, as you see, the rear is rather bad. X800 Pro's will soon fill the regiments but the same can't be said about GeForce 6800's.

So, we continue to examine both products waiting for serial cards to appear. The Net is full of heated debate about optimisations in filtering, innitiated by NVIDIA and ATI. Our previous material dwelt on this question and illustrated it with RightMark3D synthetic tests. In it, we also promised to study how similar functions act in games.

And today we fulfill our promise. You'll see no performance diagrams (they are all given in the above-mentioned articles), we'll only deal with quality issues. But still, our report will hardly be 100-percent complete, as many problems can only be seen in dynamics and no screenshots can reflect them. So, in some places, readers will have to believe it on our bare word.

Thus, we're coming to the tests proper. I have already mentioned above that there are very few serial R420/NV40-based cards, so we still have to work with samples.

Game-based filtering tests

A brief reminder of the boards in question.

Boards



ATI RADEON X800 XT NVIDIA GeForce 6800 Ultra














Both cards have 256-MB GDDR3 memory with a 1.6ns access time. Memory frequencies are 550 (1100) MHz in NV40 and 575 (1150) MHz in R420. Chip frequencies are 400 and 450 MHz for NV40 and 525 MHz for R420. Each GPU contains 16 pixel pipelines and 6 vertex ones. NV40 also supports shaders version 3.0, and R420 supports 3Dc, the company's proprietary technology of normal map compression.

Setup and drivers

Configurations of testbeds:

  • Pentium 4 3200 MHz based PC:
    • CPU: Intel Pentium 4 3200 MHz;
    • Mainboard: ASUS P4C800 Delux on i875P;
    • 1024 MB DDR SDRAM;
    • HDD: Seagate Barracuda IV 40GB;

  • Athlon 64 3200+ based PC:
    • CPU: AMD Athlon 64 3200+ (L2=1024K);
    • Mainboard: ASUS K8V SE Deluxe on VIA K8T800;
    • 1 GB DDR SDRAM PC3200;
    • HDD: Seagate Barracuda 7200.7 80GB SATA.

  • Windows XP SP1; DirectX 9.0b;
  • Monitors: ViewSonic P810 (21") and Mitsubishi Diamond Pro 2070sb (21").
  • Drivers: ATI version 6.444 (CATALYST 4.5); NVIDIA version 60.72 (there is no disabling trilinear filtering optimisation in version 61.11).

VSync is off.

ATTENTION! A click on a screenshot fragment will load the shot of the whole scene in PNG (1.1 to 1.4 MB!).




[ Next part (2) ]



Andrey Vorobiev (anvakams@ixbt.com)

08.05.2004


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