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Performance-Mainstream

Like in the previous cases, there’s no need to discuss the results obtained in the 4x FSAA + 16x AF mode. They are too low, except for the performance of the GeForce 7900 GT whose average speed is close to comfortable level. The overall picture becomes brighter when we disable FSAA, at least you can play the game normally on the GeForce 7600 GT in 1280x1024, with infrequent slowdowns in the most dynamic scenes when there is a lot of enemy models in the screen at the same time.

The Radeon X1800 XL and the Radeon X1900 GT are 8-9% behind the GeForce 7600 GT. The X1900 GT makes up for its lack of texture-mapping and rasterization units with a higher GPU clock rate (575MHz against the Radeon X1800 XL’s 500MHz). The Radeons look good, too, considering that they have to deal with an OpenGL engine that is optimized for the GeForce 6/7 architecture. If you’ve got one of these cards or a GeForce 7600 GT and want to plunge into the Prey world, you may want to switch to 1024x768 resolution to have a bigger reserve of speed. With a Radeon X1800 GTO you will also probably have to reduce the level of detail a little.

Mainstream/Entry-Level

Forget about using FSAA on mainstream or entry-level graphics cards. The best average speed is only 32fps in this case. Without full-screen antialiasing, the best result is 51fps which is comfortable enough, except for possible slowdowns in mass battle scenes, and this speed is available on the GeForce 7600 GT. The low clock rates of the GeForce 7600 GS prevent this card from showing an acceptable result despite the same number of TMUs and pixel processors as in the senior model. The Radeon X1600 XT and Pro again suffer from the drawbacks of the 3-to-1 design concept.

The tendency towards using more pixel shaders, and mostly loaded with math1ematical calculations, is not to be doubted, but four TMUs is insufficient by today’s standards. The 3-to-1 formula works fine in the Radeon X1900 XT, even though not always, but it fails in the Radeon X1600, preventing this otherwise well-designed graphics card from showing its potential. Here, this is further aggravated by the fact that the Prey engine uses OpenGL and contains rendering techniques that only work effectively on Nvidia’s GeForce 6/7 architecture.

So, the GeForce 7600 GT is the best choice in its class if you are going to play OpenGL-using games, particularly Prey. A very good OpenGL driver developed by Nvidia is not the least important factor in that.

 
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