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Testbed and Methods

A few days ago, we published our report on the new blockbuster game from id Software, the long-anticipated Doom 3. Besides clearing out some gameplay issues, we carried out tests with top-end graphics cards (you can view the results in our article called Be Doomed: Performance Preview of the Doom III Game).

This article is in fact a sequel to our first report, but we’re now going to examine the speed of Doom 3 its various graphics quality modes, from Medium to Ultra High Quality. We will also reveal the differences between these modes. Our testbed remains the same:

  • AMD Athlon 64 3400+ CPU (2.20GHz, 1MB L2 cache);
  • ASUS K8V Deluxe mainboard;
  • OCZ PC-3200 Platinum EB DDR SDRAM (2x512MB, CL2.5-3-2-8);
  • Seagate 7200.7 HDD (SerialATA-150, 8MB buffer);
  • Creative SoundBlaster Audigy 2 audio card;
  • Microsoft Windows XP SP2, DirectX 9.0c, NVIDIA ForceWare 61.77, ATI Catalyst 4.9 beta.

As you know, Doom 3 can be played in four graphics quality modes: Low, Medium, High and Ultra High. Each mode is intended for a certain class of graphics cards. Let’s browse through these modes.

Image Quality Modes

Ultra High Quality

The Ultra High Quality mode is intended exclusively for graphics cards that can boast a tremendous memory amount of 512 megabytes! There are no such products in the market yet; they are only expected in this fall.

The game uses uncompressed high-resolution textures in this mode. Normal, diffuse and specular maps also have the maximum resolution and no compression. As a result, the amount of textural data can be as high as 500MB, which is too much even for graphics cards of the last generation.

Well, nothing actually prevents you from turning the Ultra High Quality mode on even if your graphics card has only 256MB or even less of onboard memory, but you may suffer a performance drop, especially in high resolutions and/or with enabled full-screen antialiasing. We will try to estimate the value of this drop shortly. Anisotropic filtering is automatically enabled in this mode, if the graphics card driver permits.

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