Lock On: Modern Air Combat
Lock On uses Dierct3D, and unlike the previous air-simulator game it has no problems with enabled pixel shaders. DierctX8 pixel shaders are used to imitate the light refraction effect in the streams of heated air coming from the aircraft engine. Forced FSAA and anisotropic filtering in Lock On doesn’t cause any conflicts as well.
All in all, graphics cards based on ATI chips appeared faster than NVIDIA based solutions.
The scene used in our test is very simple from the geometrical point of view, but it is rich in high-resolution textures, so texturing speed appeared the major factor for the graphics cards performance. So no wonder that RADEON 9800 SE with 128bit memory bus performed almost as fast as RADEON 9800 SE with 256bit memory access, and only in 1600x1200 where the memory bus workload increases, the gap between the two appeared more evident. The same way RADEON 9800 PRO featuring higher chip frequency after overclocking got ahead of RADEON 9800 XT in 1024x768 and 1280x1024.
NVIDIA GeForce FX 5900 and GeForce FX 5900 XT fell notably behind GeForce FX 5950 Ultra, but after overclocking they got closer to the leader of NVIDIA based graphics cards.
With enabled full-screen anti-aliasing and anisotropic filtering we managed to complete the tests only for 1024x768. in higher resolutions the cards with 128MB of onboard graphics memory seemed to be using AGP texturing, as the fps rate at that moment (when we saw the earth surface in the scene) didn’t exceed 1fps.
As soon as the earth disappeared and there remained only the airplane and the sky, the fps rate grew up and the average performance throughout the entire demo record finally turned out quite high. However, this result doesn’t make resolutions beyond 1024x768 suitable for comfortable gaming that is why we didn’t include them into the benchmarks results on the diagrams.
Enabled full-screen anti-aliasing and anisotropic filtering changed the situation slightly in NVIDIA based graphics cards’ favor: there are no numerous surfaces where ATI chips could take advantage of their fast anisotropic filtering algorithm.
It is remarkable that NVIDIA GeForce FX 5900 and 5900 XT based graphics cards couldn’t reach GeForce FX 5950 Ultra even after successful overclocking: maybe the twice as small graphics memory starts telling on the graphics cards performance even in 1024x768 mode.