Prince of Persia: Sands of Time
Prince of Persia: Sands of Time is a 3D reincarnation of the ancient Prince of Persia, which turned out a worthy continuation of the legend in terms of style, graphics and the gaming process. The gaming engine uses DirectX8 pixel and vertex shaders, which you can see from the picture, actually: water surfaces in the game refract the light the right way, the camera receives the fully-fledged Motion Blur when moving fast enough, and the brightly lit objects get a typical halo effect (similar to Bloom from Deus Ex 2 and full-screen effects from Tron 2.0 or Splinter Cell). It is especially pleasant that all these nice things get along very well with full-screen anti-aliasing that is why we tested our graphics cards in two modes: without the full-screen anti-aliasing and anisotropic filtering and with these functions forced in the drivers.
Here NVIDIA based graphics cards perform much better than the solutions based on ATI graphics processors: the game doesn’t use DirectX9 pixel shaders.
Due to higher VPU frequency and just a little lower graphics memory frequency the overclocked ATI RADEON 9800 PRO manages to slightly outperform RADEON 9800 XT.
The modified RADEON 9800 SE gets close to RADEON 9800 PRO, but fails to outperform it because of the lower memory bus bandwidth.
Higher working frequencies of RADEON 9600 XT let it outperform RADEON 9800 SE based cards running at their nominal frequencies. And when overclocked, RADEON 9600 XT even gets close to the 8-pipeline RADEON 9800 SE with 128bit memory bus.
NVIDIA GeForce FX 5900 and 5900 XT show almost the same results. After successful overclocking, GeForce FX 5900 outperforms GeForce FX 5950 Ultra, and GeForce FX 5900 XT yields a little bit to the latter.
NVIDIA GeForce FX 5700 Ultra defeats RADEON 9600 XT, but it is certainly unable to catch up with a GeForce FX 5900 XT based graphics card equipped with a fully-fledged NV35 chip.
With enabled full-screen anti-aliasing and anisotropic filtering the overall picture remains unchanged.
NVIDIA GeForce FX 5900 XT and ATI RADEON 9800 PRO working at their nominal clock rates yield a little bit to the top-end graphics solutions, while after successful overclocking they perform almost as fast as RADEON 9800 XT and GeForce FX 5900 Ultra.
RADEON 9800 SE based graphics cards benefit even more from modifications and overclocking: now the cards get fantastically fast showing almost three times the performance in 1600x1200 resolution.
RADEON 9600 XT again shows a noticeable performance drop in 1600x1200. In lower resolutions it yielded just slightly to NVIDIA GeForce FX 5700 Ultra, but in 1600x1200 the gap between them got almost double.