Final Words

This is the first game we've seen in a long time that has impressed us with amazing visual quality running at 640x480. The incredible artwork and unbelievable programming that went into this game are nothing short of awesome.

Summing up the data we've collected is almost impossible, as the value in the numbers varies infinitely based on one's perspective. We are always most interested in value here at AnandTech, and far as bang for Doom3 dollar, the 6800 or 6800 GT are very solid options. Unfortunately, availability of these parts may not be high enough to get one of these NV40 based cards into everyone's hands.

The absolute fastest card we've seen for Doom 3 has been the 6800 Ultra series of cards. Though, after experiencing multiple issues with our eVGA Ultra Extreme part (it won't make it through one benchmark run at GT speeds anymore), we are reminded of John Carmack's comment about Doom 3 taxing graphics cards in ways beyond current games and that this fact may cause problems for those who overclock their cards. Could this cause issues with factory overclocked cards, or is our experience just an unfortunate coincidence? Only time will tell, though Doom 3 will be our new graphics overclocking benchmark just to make sure we aren't pushing our cards too high in future vendor reviews.

The most important thing to take away from all this is that most will not likely "need" to upgrade their graphics solution in order to play this game at acceptable quality. Of course, by acceptable, we mean that a drool rag may be required to prevent damage to your keyboard. Yes, the game does look better, smoother, and insanely good at higher resolutions and quality settings (though the jump from High to Ultra Quality doesn't have the visual impact the uncompressed maps do on video RAM). But we can't, in good conscience, say that this game looks bad on anything but a Radeon 9200 or GeForce 5500, as these were the only cards we had to disable advanced options on to attain (almost) playable framerates. Even older cards like the GF4 4400 could handle running with all the 'important' bits enabled.

Bottom line: if Doom 3 is a game you want, buy your copy before you upgrade your graphics card and decide for yourself if the added polish is really worth the extra money. If it is, take a look at our numbers again, dial in a performance level and pick the card that's right for you.

But, what we can't see from this article is just how CPU limited this game can get. Running on an overclocked S939 FX53 does a very good job of eliminating the CPU as a performance bottleneck and shows graphics card performance very clearly. But we really do need a better picture of performance across different CPUs. Coming later this week, we will have a CPU focused Doom 3 article, and hopefully a couple other surprises as well. Stay tuned as Doom 3 week continues.
Low End Tests: Last Man Standing
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  • Xtian - Tuesday, August 03, 2004 - link

    I think it is about time to benchmark using common resolution settings. Most people with LCD screens want to run their games at the native
    1280x1024 resolution of their LCDs.
    So, will my 128MB radeon 9700 (non pro) be able to run the game at 1280x1024 ? Anyone who knows ?
    /Xtian
    Reply
  • gmenfan - Tuesday, August 03, 2004 - link

    How do you run the timedemo included with the game? Also, does anybody know the command to raise the refresh rate. Reply
  • Pollock - Tuesday, August 03, 2004 - link

    I'm getting very depressed...I have a GeForce2 MX that I got for free from my friend... Reply
  • Drayvn - Tuesday, August 03, 2004 - link

    Would you be able to use the 4.9 beta catalyst drivers, supposedly they are for the doom3 performance issues? Reply
  • RuStYwAvE - Tuesday, August 03, 2004 - link

    Why do you guys want to see the benchmarks on a gf4 4200 and ati 8500.
    4200 is slightly underclock 4400 so subtract a few framerates and the ati 8500 should perform better then a ati 9200 since it has a higher core and memory speed.
    Also i think the old geforce3 and geforce3 ti 500 is much better then a geforce fx 5200 and is equilivalent to a 5200 ultra and 5600 just under a geforce4 4200.
    Reply
  • Bonesdad - Tuesday, August 03, 2004 - link

    All this and you didn't test the much loved GF4 4200??? I believe this card to be much more popular than the 4400 and I also believe many more of us currently own one... Reply
  • implicit1 - Tuesday, August 03, 2004 - link

    I think something is wrong in the High Quality Med Res benchmark as well. The 9800xt is being beaten by the 9800pro, maybe the numbers are switched around? Reply
  • cliffa3 - Tuesday, August 03, 2004 - link

    in response to the laptop question, if it burned out a vid card, don't play with it sitting on your lap...geez.

    Seriously tho, the thinkpads are an awesome line...the only way to go imo. You might want to wait until the mobility 9800s come out if you want a real desktop replacement for gaming...don't know if they'll show up in the thinkpad line anytime soon (or at all). I know there was a news clip a while back on anandtech about it, you might want to dig and find that.
    Reply
  • DerekWilson - Tuesday, August 03, 2004 - link

    VortigernRed -- you were exactly right -- copied the wrong numbers over in my sleep haze.

    Its fixed now.
    Reply
  • Lucid484 - Tuesday, August 03, 2004 - link

    What about my GeForce 2 Ti!!!!! Which is OC to 300CPU/505RAM ...eh id prolly only get 5 fps anyway! Reply

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