The humbler results of the performance-mainstream solutions don’t look surprising now that we know the high requirements of this game in the Next Generation Content mode. The GeForce 7900 GT is capable of giving you 40fps on average, but the min speed of this card is a mere 17fps. The Radeon X1900 GT doesn’t cope with this test, too, despite its 36 pixel processors. It is limited by its 12 TMUs, just as the GeForce 7600 GT is. We don’t think the published numbers will please you if you’ve got a mainstream graphics card in your system. Such products often lack power to run some of the modern generation of games (the new Tomb Raider is among them) at the max quality settings. We wonder what’s going to be in next-generation, even more advanced, games. In all probability you’ll have to play in 1024x768 and at an average level of detail on a card other than the Radeon X1900 XTX/XT or GeForce 7950 GTX/7900 GTX.
You can’t expect to have an acceptable speed from mainstream and entry-level graphics cards in Tomb Raider: Legend in the Next Generation Content mode. This is fully confirmed by the practical tests. With the best average performance of 30fps on the GeForce 7600 GT you just can’t succeed in this game. That’s not enough for accurate control over everything that’s happening on the screen, and the game speed sometimes bottoms out to below 20fps. Comparing the cards between each other, we can see that the GeForce 7600 GS is faster than the Radeon X1600 XT, at least when full-screen antialiasing is disabled.
We suspect that disabling Next Generation Content won’t improve the situation much. You will also have to switch to 1024x768 and to lower the level of detail to play the game on a GeForce 7600 GT, not to mention the Radeon X1600 XT.
Generally speaking, mainstream and entry-level graphics cards suit but poorly for playing modern games in resolutions above 1024x768 and at the highest graphics quality settings. Their performance is just too low even if you don’t use FSAA.