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Performance in First-Person 3D Shooters

Call of Duty: United Offensive

The new version of Call of Duty boasts a much better graphics with especially spectacular explosions. The water surface is good here, too, but less realistic than the water from Half-Life 2 or Far Cry. We decided to include this game in our review as it is one of the most popular online shooters.

In fact any modern graphics card would suffice for playing Call of Duty: United Offensive unless you enable full-screen anti-aliasing and anisotropic filtering. The game prefers NVIDIA’s new-generation graphics cards, especially in the top-end class. The RADEON X800 cards seem to press against some barrier in low resolutions, which evidently has nothing to do with the speed of the central processor. We can’t really say why the RADEONs behave like that, but as is often the case, the problem may lie somewhere deep in the driver.

The GeForce 6600 GT is on top in the performance-mainstream class, but its advantage over the RADEON 9800 XT is small and diminishes in higher resolutions: in spite of the new architecture, this GeForce is equipped a narrow 128-bit memory bus, while the driver for the RADEON 9800 GPU has been perfected and optimized for almost all the existing games and applications in the two years of this GPU’s life.

The graphics cards with the PCI Express interface perform much like their AGP-interfaced mates do, but the GeForce 6800 GT is somewhat slower than the RADEON X850 XT Platinum Edition.

So, NVIDIA’s cards seem to deliver more “pure speed” in this game than their competitors from ATI Technologies.

When we enable the “eye candy” mode with its full-screen anti-aliasing and anisotropic filtering, NVIDIA’s cards retain their leading positions, but in two first resolutions only. In the highest resolution, 1600x1200, the GeForce 6800 Ultra is slower than the RADEON X800 XT Platinum Edition.

A similar situation is in the mainstream sector: the GeForce 6600 GT is only ahead in 1024x768 as its narrow memory bus inhibits it in higher resolutions and its performance falls to the level of the GeForce FX 5950 Ultra.

As for devices that plug into a PCI Express slot, ATI’s top-end solutions feel much more confident here, but well, they are only opposed by the GeForce 6800 GT. There’s parity between the GeForce 6600 GT and RADEON X700 XT, although the latter looks better in 1600x1200 because ATI’s architecture is better suited for combinations of FSAA with anisotropic filtering.

As for the SLI platform, it doesn’t work correctly in this game, in spite of the enabled Multi-GPU Rendering mode. We have either negligible or even a negative performance gain. We have no complaints about the image quality, though, but there was no Load Balancing indicator on the screen.

 
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