Performance in Gaming Benchmarks
Far Cry Demo
Judging by the demo versions I could say that Far Cry is the freshest, cutest and probably the most demanding to graphics of all 3D shooters, which have already been released. To create the beautiful landscapes of the tropical island the gaming engine of Far Cry Demo uses DirectX shaders very actively.
The engine involves pixel and vertex shaders version 1.1 complying with DirectX8 specification and pixel and vertex shaders DirectX9 2.0 for graphics cards on ATI chips and 2.x for graphics cards on NVIDIA chips.
The consequences of this difference in the shaders used for various graphics cards is not so evident: my personal experience suggests that you can actually see the visual difference between shader version 2.0 and 2.x only when we have small ripples on the water surface and see the lake floor through them.
Forced FSAA and anisotropic filtering in the driver control panel leads to incorrect image display in Far Cry Demo that is why we didn’t run the tests with maximum image quality. We measured the graphics cards performance in the regular mode with the graphics quality settings of Far Cry Demo at the maximum:
You can clearly see that the graphics processor performance in Far Cry Demo affects the results much more than the memory bus bandwidth. In fact, this is not at all surprising, taking into account how actively Far Cry Demo uses shaders. For instance, RADEON 9800 SE with narrow 128bit memory bus didn’t fall far behind RADEON 9800 SE with 256bit memory bus. Moreover, this situation remained the same even after the modifications.
All in all, I can conclude that ATI based graphics cards are overall better here than the solutions based on NVIDIA chips: ATI based solutions use shaders more actively.
As a result, ATI RADEON 9800 XT and 9800 PRO appeared ahead of NVIDIA GeForce FX 5950 Ultra and GeForce FX 5900. the modified RADEON 9800 SE outperformed the overclocked NVIDIA GeForce FX 5900 XT, and RADEON 9600 XT turned out faster than GeForce FX 5700 Ultra.
The modification and overclocking of the RADEON 9800 SE based graphics cards almost doubles their performance in far Cry Demo and makes them catch up with NVIDIA GeForce FX 5950 Ultra/5900/5900 XT. Even the card with a 128bit memory bus, which sometimes gets missed out, performed brilliantly after overclocking and corresponding modding.
However, we shouldn’t forget that far not all RADEON 9800 SE based solutions will successfully turn into a fully-fledged RADEON 9800. Without the enabled 8 pixel pipelines and HyperZ III RADEON 9800 SE based graphics cards have nothing to beat the mainstream RADEON 9600 XT with: even at nominal frequencies it outperforms the top-end “cuts”.
The situation with NVIDIA based graphics cards is just the opposite: the “cut-down” GeForce FX 5900 XT easily outpaced GeForce FX 5700 Ultra even without any modifications, and when overclocked it manages to leave behind even GeForce FX 5900.