Testbed and Methods
Since ASUS V9950 graphics adapter belongs to the upper price group, it will have to compete with ATI RADEON 9800 Pro. Note that we will test both graphics cards in the nominal and in the overclocker mode. As you may have noticed, our testbed configuration remained the same:
- AMD Athlon XP 2600+ (Thoroughbred-B) CPU (2.083GHz, 166 (333) MHz FSB);
- EPoX EP-8K3A+ mainboard;
- 512MB PC3200 DDR SDRAM (2-2-5 1T, 166 (333)MHz, Corsair XMS3200);
- Maxtor DiamondMax Plus D740X HDD (2MB buffer), 40GB storage capacity;
- Liteon 48125W CD-ROM drive;
- Creative Soundblaster Live! 1024 sound card;
- Microsoft Windows XP SP1;
- Drivers: VIA Hyperion 4-in-1 v.4.47, ATI Catalyst 3.5 (for RADEON 9800 PRO), NVIDIA Detonator 44.03 (for ASUS V9950).
The list of benchmarks use has also remained the same:
- Futuremark 3DMark 2001SE Build 330
- Futuremark 3DMark 2003
- Codecult CodeCreatures Benchmark Pro v1.0
- Unreal Tournament 2003 v2225, Antalus Flyby
- Quake 3: Arena v1.32, Demo four
- Return to Castle Wolfenstein v1.4, Demo checkpoint
- Serious Sam: Second Encounter v1.05, The Grand Catherdral
- Jedi Knight 2: Jedi Outcast v1.04, Massasi Temple – Lightsaber Test
- Splinter Cell v1.2b, 1_1_1Tbilisi Demo
Every gaming benchmark was run with the highest graphics quality settings. We used 1024x768, 1280x1024 and 1600x1200 resolutions. This time besides two usual tests in the “raw speed” mode and FSAA 4x + Anisotropic Filtering 8x, we also included a so-called “stress-test”. Each graphics card was tested with the maximum Full-Scene Anti-Aliasing and Anisotropic Filtering settings. The hardest mode for ASUS V9950 on NVIDIA GeForce FX 5900 appeared FSAA 8x + Anisotropic Filtering 8x, and the hardest mode for ATI RADEON 9800 PRO was FSAA 6x + Anisotropic Filtering 16x. This way we tried to find out if the today’s leaders can provide acceptable performance in the heaviest modes and if it makes sense at all to use these modes in contemporary gaming applications.
Performance: Gaming OpenGL Benchmarks
We are still using the same games here, namely Return to Castle Wolfenstein, Jedi Knight 2: Jedi Outcast, Quake III Arena and Serious Sam: The Second Encounter. However, we are about to remove Jedi Knight 2 from this list and to include something more objective, where we will see the actual graphics accelerator performance, not limited by the system CPU.
Quake3 Arena Demo Four
Due to higher core and memory frequencies and to traditionally excellent performance of NVIDIA solutions in Quake3, the graphics card from ASUS wins an indisputable victory in modes without anti-aliasing and anisotropic filtering, and proves very successful in 4x FSAA + 8x Anisotropic Filtering mode. The only exception appeared 1024x768 resolution. However, in the heavier testing conditions the situation changes. Unfortunately, V9950 doesn’t support 6x anti-aliasing that is why it had to fight against the competitor using much more resource-hungry 8x FSAA, which definitely told on the results. Moreover, in 1600x1200 the graphics accelerator seemed to lack memory and it simply didn’t enable FSAA at all.