The Pier demo was recorded on an open map and its speed is limited by the performance of the system at large, too. As a result, there’s no big difference between the graphics cards until we enable full-screen antialiasing and anisotropic filtering.
The results we have with enabled full-screen antialiasing and anisotropic filtering are expectable: both SLI configurations are leaders and both are restrained by the CPU’s capabilities. The RADEON X850 XT Platinum Edition tried to compete with them in 1024x768, but fell back in higher resolutions. As for the single GeForce 7800 GTX, it is even slower than the RADEON X800 XL in this test, despite having 24 pixel processors. This catastrophic performance of the new-generation graphics card may be due to some imperfections in the new ForceWare driver.
The demo on the Research map is different from the previous one, with action going on in a closed cave. There’s complex per-pixel lighting on this map, which gives a certain advantage to Shader Model 3.0-supporting graphics cards. Well, modern top-end cards are so fast that they feel the limiting influence of the system’s central processor in low resolutions. As for higher resolutions, the SLI configurations are on top in them. The GeForce 7800 GTX performs well, too, easily overcoming the 100fps mark even in 1600x1200.
NVIDIA’s single cards are less successful in the “eye candy” mode, and here’s a nice paradox to you: the GeForce 7800 GTX is slightly slower than the GeForce 6800 Ultra. It’s the same thing with the two SLI configurations: the two GeForce 6800 Ultra are a little faster than the two GeForce 7800 GTX. This is probably again the new driver’s fault – version 77.62 seems to call for certain improvements. We should wait for new ForceWare releases and hope that the GeForce 7800 GTX will spread its wings for real with them – the potential of this solution is evidently enormous.
We also carried out some additional tests in Far Cry to see how high the performance of the new solution with high-dynamic-range color. Is this mode now playable in resolutions above 1024x768? Since full-screen antialiasing works incorrectly in Far Cry’s HDR mode, producing various image artifacts, we offer you the “pure speed” numbers only.
The GeForce 7800 GTX is really much faster than the older card in Far Cry’s HDR mode. Even the single 7800 GTX easily maintains a 60+fps frame rate in 1280x1024 and 45+fps in 1600x1200. The results of the GeForce 6800 Ultra are 40+ and 25+ frames per second, respectively. Note also that the frame rate never bottoms out below 30fps with G70-based solutions.
The same is true for the Research map: the GeForce 7800 GTX makes even 1600x1200 resolution playable in HDR, yet we think 1280x1024 would be preferable, just to have some performance reserve.
So, you can now enjoy HDR effects without reducing the image resolution and, accordingly, the overall image quality. A strange fact is that SLI technology doesn’t bring any great gains in the HDR mode.