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3DMark03 used to reveal the disposition between the RADEON 9800-, 9700-, 9600-, 9500-series and the GeForce FX-series graphics cards in terms of performance: while being somewhat more feature-rich than competitors, NVIDIA’s GeForce FX products fell tangibly under the RADEON 9xxx in terms of performance.

Today 3DMark05 outlines us some other important trends:

  • Shader Model 3.0 and Shader Model 2.0b are gaining strong momentum in terms of performance improvements for titles with complex pixel and vertex shaders.
  • Today’s graphics cards will not be able to run long-term future games, including those that make vigorous use of Shader Model 2.0b/3.0 with sufficient framerate.
  • There is a clear need for more than 128MB frame-buffer on powerful graphics cards even today.

Besides, 3DMark05 reshuffles the positions of graphics market leaders:

  • After the beta CATALYST drivers corrected the bug with memory management, RADEON X800 XT Platinum Edition and RADEON X800 XT delivered approximately 15% of additional performance over competing solutions from NVIDIA Corp.. It is clear that ATI’s RADEON X800 XT-series definitely offers great future-proof by supporting Shader Model 2.0b along with 3Dc technology.
  • NVIDIA GeForce 6800 Ultra is among the best things money can buy for future games, if you really hope to play them on the current hardware. Extreme computing power and smart architecture definitely drive the whole GeForce 6-series family of chips.
  • NVIDIA’s GeForce 6800 GT product has probably the best price/performance ratio in the high-end now and support for a number of exceptional features, such as Shader Model 3.0.
  • ATI’s RADEON X800 PRO is a very nice option for today and tomorrow, even with 12-pipelines it can spread its wings in highly-demanding cases, such as 3DMark05.
  • NVIDIA’s GeForce 6800 lags behind the leaders and its performance is very close to that of the GeForce 6600 GT and the RADEON 9800 XT. Each of the mentioned products have its pros and cons, but it should be kept in mind that the RADEON 9800 XT does not support any advanced shader capabilities and is unlikely to see any performance boosts from this direction in future.
  • ATI RADEON 9500-, 9600-, 9700- and 9800-series are good performers today. But they are unlikely to play future games fast.
  • NVIDIA GeForce FX-based graphics cards is absolutely not a good choice for shader-intensive games.

The 3DMark05 itself delivered exceptional eye candy in all of its game tests. Highly-polygonal models along with massive amount of shader effects definitely bring the graphics bar to the next level. Some would argue that the world has not seen many 3DMark03-like games in reality, but on that there is only one answer: progress cannot be stopped.

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