Performance in Semi-Synthetic Benchmarks
The scenes in Aquamark3 the graphics adapter to be able to remove hidden surfaces efficiently enough: the overdraw coefficient in this benchmark is very high. Also, the performance of the vertex processors is very important in this test, because some scenes feature complex geometry.
RADEON X1800 XT is the leader here, but even though its hidden pixels removal techniques have been significantly improved, the gap between the leader and its closest rival, GeForce 7800 GTX, is very small: only 3-5fps, while the overall performance level is around 60-75fps. It seems to me that the newcomer wins only due to its higher core working frequency. The slower RADEON X1800 XL competes with GeForce 6800 Ultra in pure speed mode and with GeForce 7800 GT in eye candy mode with enabled FSAA and anisotropic filtering.
Final Fantasy XI Official Benchmark 3
The Final Fantasy XI test has very heavy texturing workload. So the results in this benchmark depends on the ability of the testing participants to cope with this type of workload.
RADEON X1800 XT features only 16 pixel processors, while the top GeForce 7 has 24 of them, so even 625MHz graphics chip frequency cannot help ATI solution here. It loses, although not dramatically. Moreover, even RADEPN X850 XT PE appears faster than RADEON X1800 XT. It gave us some food for thought that maybe there are some serious issues with the current version of the CATALYST driver. We don’t know if this benchmark uses fixed TnL functions, but if it does, then the problem might be connected with the inefficient TnL emulation.