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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  • edge929 - Tuesday, August 03, 2004 - link

    I think I'll wait about a YEAR for prices to come down to reasonable levels, then I'll get a 6800 Ultra and play it the way it's suppose to be played. Reply
  • VortigernRed - Tuesday, August 03, 2004 - link

    Derek,

    There is def something wrong with your figures here.

    http://www.anandtech.com/video/showdoc.aspx?i=2146...

    You have a Geforce 6800 ontperforming a X800XTPE by about 70% on the top graph "high quality med res" also theX800 Pro scores are identical to the R9800 Pro. Maybe you have left a higher quality setting on with the X800s (AA or something)

    Gibhunter: Geforce4 MX is nothing like a GF3 TI 200. GF4 MX offers a similar featureset as the GF2 and pretty much the GF256 before it, however it has a better memory controller and so offers performance similar to the higher end Geforce2s ie Pro and Ultra. GF3 offers PS and VS.

    Reflex: JC always said that Doom3 targeted the Gefore256s featureset. However that does not mean the Geforce256s performance of course.
    Reply
  • Koing - Tuesday, August 03, 2004 - link

    Thanks for report Derek.

    I probaly own't be playing it for ages as I'm notmuch of a pc gamer but that is that.

    Koing
    Reply
  • Reflex - Tuesday, August 03, 2004 - link

    #36: Huh? GF3 was always the minimum spec for it... Reply
  • unclebud - Tuesday, August 03, 2004 - link

    "John Carmack has spoken of possible issues when overclocking a graphics card with Doom 3,"
    sounds like Mr C is trying to excuse his code bloat (to me).
    what happened to "voodoo 3 2000 will be able to run doom 3 fine"?
    Reply
  • araczynski - Tuesday, August 03, 2004 - link

    reminds me a lot of Deus Ex 2, cept more atmospheric and more responsive. Reply
  • araczynski - Tuesday, August 03, 2004 - link

    on my system 2.4@3.3/1GB/5900(128) the game plays very nicely with everything maxed (AA off) at 1024x768. the game is very good, especially in terms of atmosphere and graphics, the sound isn't as good as i think it could've been, but still very nice. also some issue with it not seeing 7.1 setups as surround, have to downgrade in windows to 5.1.

    worth teh wait i think, at least singleplayer is, don't really care about the multiplayer from this type of genre so won't try it.
    Reply
  • gibhunter - Tuesday, August 03, 2004 - link

    #27, GF4MX is more like GF3 Ti 200. GF2MX was more on par with the original Geforce video card.

    I am interested to see if the Radeon 9200 loses any frames per second on a slower CPU. My guess is that it doesn't take a very powerful cpu to max it out hence it should hover right around 20fps on even a P4 2GHz.
    Reply
  • maverick81 - Tuesday, August 03, 2004 - link

    I have a laptop with a AMD mobile 64 3200 and a ATI mobility 9600 with 64 mb. I have been using it for ganes until my x800 gets here. Only been playing doom 3 for about 4 hours. It seems to run fine, not as good as a desktop but playable. Reply
  • thebluesgnr - Tuesday, August 03, 2004 - link

    Derek,

    do you have a FX5200 or 5500 with a 64-bit memory interface to test?

    also, I'd like to see the Radeon 9550 results.

    Thanks,
    Reply

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