Aquamark3 is rather a simple test by today’s standards. The shaders employed are mostly simple, but the scenes of this benchmark are known to have complex geometry and a high overdraw coefficient, which makes it an efficient tool for checking the performance of the vertex processors and the invisible surface removal functions of modern graphics cards.
This time the RADEON X800 XT/XT Platinum Edition are just a tiny step ahead of the GeForce 6800 Ultra. The same goes for the GeForce 6800 GT – RADEON X800 PRO pair.
The GeForce 6600 GT is the best in the mainstream class, in spite of its 128-bit bus and only 128 megabytes of graphics memory. It’s 2-3fps ahead of the RADEON 9800 XT in high resolutions.
It’s different with the PCI Express devices: to our surprise the modest GeForce 6800 GT has the same speed as the latest and highest-performance creation of ATI, the RADEON X850 XT Platinum Edition! Aquamark3 can make use of the Hyper-Threading technology and it’s possible that NVIDIA’s ForceWare also contains some optimizations for processors with that technology.
The results of the FSAA+AF mode are quite expectable, and ATI’s top-end cards are leaders in their category. In the performance-mainstream sector there’s parity between the GeForce 6600 GT and the RADEON 9800 XT until 1600x1200 where the latter has an advantage of 2 fps.
ATI’s RADEON X700 XT beats NVIDIA’s GeForce 6600 GT on the PCI Express platform, though. The reason is the same: ATI’s card can efficiently work with the graphics memory subsystem.
The SLI platform worked well here, providing some speed bonus. Yet, this bonus is far from the promised 80-90 percent. As expected, the biggest gain is observed in high resolutions, in the “eye candy” mode.