Graphics hardware for personal computers is continuing to develop faster than any other types of computing processors. With escalating competition between market leaders – ATI Technologies and NVIDIA Corp. – new generations of graphics chips deliver overwhelming advantage over previous generation products. Faster graphics chips and more demanding games urge different benchmarks that can clearly distinguish the best graphics card with others.
In addition to raw computing power visual processing nowadays gain additional functionality that has potential to positively affect performance of future games if only game developers decide there is need to support such functionality. Few really believed that NVIDIA's Ultra Shadow technology can give NVIDIA's hardware irresistible advantage in Doom III game, but it emerged that the tech did allow the GeForce 6-series to beat all the competitors. It is logical, that to predict this disposition the industry needed a benchmark that took advantage of the latest technologies.
Futuremark’s 3DMark03 foresaw performance of graphics cards in the vast majority of current-generation games, including FarCry, Doom III, Tomb Raider: Angel of Darkness, Unreal Tournament 2004 as well as some highly-anticipated DirectX 9.0 games by using complex pixel shaders as well as stencil shadows putting extreme load onto the most expensive graphics cards.
About a year and a half since the release of the RADEON 9700 PRO as well as the GeForce 5800 Ultra the world saw two brand-new graphics chips: the GeForce 6800 Ultra and the RADEON X800 XT that delivered a giant leap in terms of performance over the previous-generation hardware. Nevertheless, future games are likely to demand everything what the current top-of-the-range offerings are able to provide and ask for more. Today we will try to find out which of the contemporary graphics cards is more future-proof according to Futuremark and what we should expect from next-gen games.