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Il-2 Sturmovik: Forgotten Battles

The graphics engine of this air-simulator uses OpenGL and loads the graphics cards pretty heavily. The gaming settings allow enabling pixel shaders, but this hardly makes any sense. First, enabling pixel shaders reduces the performance dramatically while the water surfaces quality improves not that greatly at all. And second, ATI based graphics cards do not draw the water surfaces correctly in case we enable pixel shaders support. That is why we decided to run the tests for our graphics cards with the maximum graphics quality settings but with disabled pixel shaders. Besides that we also ran the tests for forced FSAA and anisotropic filtering.

The results of our tests appeared limited by the CPU and overall system performance.

ATI RADEON 9800 XT, 9800 PRO, NVIDIA GeForce FX 5950 Ultra and overclocked GeForce FX 5900 and GeForce FX 5900 XT perform almost equally fast, so that it is very hard to single out the leader.

The non-overclocked ATI RADEON 9800 SE based graphics cards lose to everybody but after they undergo a few modifications and get overclocked, their performance speed up quite noticeably. The 128bit model outpaces RADEON 9600 XT and gets to the level of GeForce FX 5700 Ultra, while the 256bit model catches up with GeForce FX 5900/5900 XT.

ATI RADEON 9600 XT leaves behind RADEON 9800 SE and is just a few steps behind NVIDIA GeForce FX 5700 Ultra. However, when we overclock it, its higher overclocking potential helps the solution to catch up with the competitor.

As soon as we enabled full-screen anti-aliasing and anisotropic filtering the graphics cards start receiving heavier workload, and the limitations imposed by the CPU and the system in general do not matter for the graphics cards performance any more.

The test scene is full of woods, which are displayed as a row of textured parallel planes, each texture being a cross-cut of the trees. Therefore, the scene contains a lot of surfaces requiring textures with high level of anisotropy. ATI based graphics cards use a more efficient anisotropic filtering algorithm that is why these cards show better overall results.

ATI RADEON 9800 PRO is just a tiny bit behind RADEON 9800 XT and after overclocking it outperforms the counterpart due to higher core frequency.

RADEON 9800 SE based graphics cards share two last positions when working at their nominal frequencies, but the modification and overclocking bring them to the level of NVIDIA GeForce FX 5900 XT and GeForce FX 5900/5950 Ultra.

ATI RADEON 9600 XT outperforms RADEON 9800 SE with 128bit memory bus and NVIDIA GeForce FX 5700 Ultra, but in 1600x1200 it gives away its leadership because of the failed HyperZ III.

NVIDIA GeForce FX 5900 and GeForce FX 5900 XT have nothing to offer in response to ATI’s top-end solutions, but when we overclocked them, they got as fast as the modified and overclocked RADEON 9800 SE with 256bit bus and are almost neck and neck with the leader of NVIDIA based solutions – NVIDIA GeForce FX 5950 Ultra.

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