Age of Empires 3
The Age of Empires 3 is a new real-time strategy game about medieval world, economy, battles and territorial expansion. Just like all the modern titles today, this one is full of pixel shaders. In order to optimize performance in case of complex shading effects, developers decided to use long pixel shaders 3.0 in order to get some gain on the latest hardware.
We use a cut-scene from the beginning of the game along with Fraps application. The scene does contain a lot of pixel shaders, e.g., water shader with reflections and refractions.
Please note that former-generation ATI RADEON hardware, such as RADEON X800 and X700, uses Shader Model 2.0 render path, whereas the rest boards utilize Shader Model 3.0 code path, which provides additional effects.
High-End Graphics Cards
In order to play strategy games comfortably you need to have framerate per second (FPS) of about 25-35 fps, which means that any high-end graphics board will allow you to play this title pretty comfortably.
Nevertheless, we should note that products based on ATI RADEON chips perform much slower in this game compared to NVIDIA GeForce-based graphics cards, possibly due to the lack of special optimizations in the driver, or, more likely because the RADEON X1800-series does not typically outperform the GeForce 7800 family in cases where many pixel shaders are used at once.
You are also likely to enjoy the gorgeousness of the virtual medieval world of Age of Empires 3 on any high-end graphics card at any resolution even with anisotropic filtering and full-scene antialiasing enabled, save for the RADEON X1800 XL which minimum FPS is below 15.
The fastest performer in the Age of Empires 3 is, without any compromises, the GeForce 7800 GTX 512, which is up to 100% faster compared to the rival.