Introduction

With our recent architecture and feature set coverage over the ATI Radeon X1000 series launch, we were a little bit light on the performance numbers. Rather than fill out some of the tests and update the article, we decided to take a little more time and do it up right. We have heard the call for more game tests, and today, we bring them on in spades. Our expanded tests include the games mentioned in our earlier coverage, the much requested Battlefield 2, and we illustrate the stellar way in which the new X1000 series handles enabling 4xAA on the games that we tested.

While scaling-with-aa on the new X1000 series is very good, will it be good enough to make up for the price difference with competitive NVIDIA hardware? Certainly, the feature set is of value with ATI offering the added benefit of MSAA on MRT and floating point surfaces, high quality AF, SM3.0, and Avivo. But performance is absolutely critical on current and near term games. Currently, many HDR methods avoid floating point output and MRTs in order to maintain compatibility with AA on current hardware. Until game developers shift to full floating point framebuffers or make heavy use of multiple render targets, ATI's added AA support won't make much difference to gamers. High quality anisotropic filtering is definitely something that we have begged of NVIDIA and ATI for a long time and we are glad to see it, but the benefits just aren't that visible in first-person shooters and the like. Shader Model 3.0 and Avivo are good things to have around as well; better API support, image quality, and video output are things that everyone wants.

However, the bottom line is that performance sells video cards. The first thing that people question when they are looking for a new card is just how well it runs in their favorite game. Hopefully, we will be able to shed some light on the issue here.

We will look at resolutions from 800x600 up to 2048x1536 and antialiasing tests will be included where possible. In games where we tested both with and without antialiasing, we will also show a graph of how performance drops due to AA scales with resolution. This data will be a lower-is-better graph (less drop in frame rate is a good thing) and will be shown scaled over resolution (as a performance drop will increase in percentage with resolution). The test system that we employed is the one used for our initial tests of the hardware.

Battlefield 2 Performance
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  • bob661 - Friday, October 07, 2005 - link

    If AT is going to cover that in a later article, then the observations ARE NOT short sighted. Since we're picking nits, if the other sites are giving you ALL the information you require, why do you insist on bagging on AT? Just go to get your info, make your decision, and STFU. Reply
  • tfranzese - Friday, October 07, 2005 - link

    Because, unlike you, I like to compare the results between all my favorite sites. Maybe you're not mature enough to understand the reasons for that, so I'll fill you in: Humans make mistakes, so trusting one persons judgement or methodology is not an intelligent decision in the real world.

    Also, it makes no mention in the article that near-term games are to be tested in a future update of this sort. Yes, I expect they'll be around once retail boards are reviewed, but if they plan on continuing tests on IQ, shader abilities, etc then what sense does it make to pass judgement until those tests are complete?
    Reply
  • bob661 - Friday, October 07, 2005 - link

    Did you not read tfranzese's post that you replied to? Scroll up about 1/2 inch. That quote is from the article. Your quote,
    quote:

    so trusting one persons judgement or methodology
    , says you like to sample different websites to get whole picture yet you bag on one site (AT) that doesn't give you enough info. If you go to different sites to get the whole picture, why bag on any of them? You're still getting all of the info you need.
    Reply
  • bob661 - Friday, October 07, 2005 - link

    LOL...oops..you made that quote yourself. I can't believe you quoted but yet you still imply that AT isn't going to do any furthur testing in the areas you would like to see tested. I quit..lol! Reply
  • tfranzese - Friday, October 07, 2005 - link

    The further testing I am referring to are with near-term titles, not SM3.0 analysis. I think you're misunderstanding what I'm saying or I'm not being clear enough.

    I also do believe it's short-sighted to judge an architecture before all the tests are complete. Right now I know IQ and SM3.0 examinations are coming up, but it looks like they're done with the game benchmarks until the suite is updated and retail boards are available.

    Anyway...

    Sure, I can get the majority of my data from a collection of sites, but if I voice my criticism I could hope that someday I may only have to visit three sites instead of ten to confirm and compare results and analysis. Not that I didn't enjoy reading all those articles during my downtime at work.
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Friday, October 07, 2005 - link

    quote:

    I also do believe it's short-sighted to judge an architecture before all the tests are complete. Right now I know IQ and SM3.0 examinations are coming up, but it looks like they're done with the game benchmarks until the suite is updated and retail boards are available.


    Naw, we're not done. And while it's true that http://labs.anandtech.com/search.php?q=x1800&p...">you can purchase an X1800XL, we're still missing the X1800 XT. $440 or so for the XL http://labs.anandtech.com/search.php?q=7800%20gtx&...">isn't much cheaper than a 7800 GTX, and while the X1800 XT might be faster overall, the 7800 GTX beats the XL in nearly every test.

    Also, one big question mark that still remains is SLI vs. Crossfire performance. SLI is here now and working for the 7800 cards. X1800 XT is still a month out, and Crossfire X1800 XT... who knows? Three months, maybe more? After the delays of the X800 Crossfire parts, I'm not even ready to venture a guess on X1800 CF. :|
    Reply
  • DerekWilson - Friday, October 07, 2005 - link

    We will test the near term games along with SM3.0 as many people have asked us for this. Let us know if you need anything else. Reply
  • DigitalFreak - Friday, October 07, 2005 - link

    What about running EQ2 with AA turned on via the setting in EQ2.ini? I would assume that the results would be similar to the other tests though.

    Benching the Call of Duty 2 demo would be cool as well. A couple of sites have seen a performance increase when using a 512MB card vs a 256MB one. May actually be the first game where 512MB is worth having.
    Reply
  • tfranzese - Friday, October 07, 2005 - link

    Donka! Reply
  • phaxmohdem - Friday, October 07, 2005 - link

    I know all my "gaming" monitors at home run at 1280x1024 What gives with the benchmarks of this uncommon? resolution? Thats 81,920 extra pixels unaccounted for in the graphs for many of us running 17 and 19 inch LCD's. Reply

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