The Test

Our test platform is the same as the one we used in our recent articles. Necessarily departing from our norm, this round of testing is performed under the 32-bit version of Windows Vista. We used the latest beta drivers we could get our hands on from both AMD and NVIDIA. Here's a breakdown of the platform:

Performance Test Configuration:
CPU: Intel Core 2 Extreme X6800 (2.93GHz/4MB)
Motherboard: ASUS P5W-DH
Chipset: Intel 975X
Chipset Drivers: Intel 8.2.0.1014
Hard Disk: Seagate 7200.7 160GB SATA
Memory: Corsair XMS2 DDR2-800 4-4-4-12 (1GB x 2)
Video Card: Various
Video Drivers: ATI Catalyst 8.38.9.1-rc2
NVIDIA ForceWare 162.18
Desktop Resolution: 1280 x 800 - 32-bit @ 60Hz
OS: Windows Vista x86


We were also able to obtain a beta version of FRAPS from Beepa in order to record average framerates in DirectX 10 applications. Without this, we were previously limited to only testing applications that generate statistics for us. Armed with a DX10 capable version of FRAPS, we can now also take a look at the performance of DX10 SDK samples and other demos that don't include built in frame counters.

For now, though, we are sticking with real world performance. We'll be looking at Call of Juarez, Company of Heroes, and Lost Planet: Extreme Condition. Except for Call of Juarez, we will be looking at DirectX 9 and DirectX 10 path performance. The Call of Juarez benchmark explicitly highlights the enhanced features of their DX10 path, and they don't offer an equivalent benchmark for DX9. If there is demand for Call of Juarez benchmarking down the road, we may look at using FRAPS in both DX9 and DX10 versions. Lost Planet testing required the use of our DX10 version of FRAPS, but Company of Heroes testing was performed using the same method previously available (the performance test in the graphics options section).

In addition to looking at each game on its own, we will take a look at how DX9 and DX10 performance compare overall. Performance scaling with and without AA under each API as well as relative performance of cards under each API will be analyzed.

Index Call of Juarez
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  • jay401 - Friday, July 06, 2007 - link

    They're right though, the charts need work. They are not intuitive and there are multiple better ways to present 'percent change' data that would make sense on first glance without the reader having to decipher an unintuitive method that is contrary to the readability of the article. Reply
  • DerekWilson - Friday, July 06, 2007 - link

    The dx9 vs dx10 scaling graphs have been altered to present the data in a different way.

    Please let me know if this is still not adequate.
    Reply
  • Andyvan - Thursday, July 05, 2007 - link

    I had the exact same reaction to the charts. For the Lost Planet chart with the two colors, either pick better (more standard) colors, or make the performance drop bars grow to the left (or down), and the performance increase bars grow to the right (or up).

    -- Andyvan
    Reply
  • PrinceGaz - Thursday, July 05, 2007 - link

    The best thing to do with those charts is change them to show relative performance in DX10 compared to DX9, with 100% meaning no change (same performance in DX10 as DX9). Improvements with DX10 give scores above 100%, reduced performance gives a result below 100%.

    Doing that would make the graphs much easier to understand than the current mess.
    Reply
  • sterlinglittle - Thursday, July 05, 2007 - link

    This might be a silly question as I can't recall the current status of MultiGPU performance with Vista drivers. Will it be possible to test these games with SLI/CrossFire configurations soon? Reply
  • gigahertz20 - Thursday, July 05, 2007 - link

    The results show exactly why I am waiting to buy a DX10 video card, all these people who rushed out to buy a Geforce 8800GTX or AMD 2900XT..hah..especially all those 2900XT fanboys who said the R600 would destroy the 8800GTX in DX10 benchmarks because it has 320 stream processors and a 512-bit memory interface....well guess what, the benchmarks are in and they show the R600 is still the power hunry POS video card it is. Reply
  • KeithTalent - Thursday, July 05, 2007 - link

    I'm not sure how it is a 'hah' to the people that purchased these cards as they still blow everything else out of the water in DX9, I mean it is not even close.

    So for those of us running at higher resolutions (1920x1200 or higher), an 8800/2900 or two made perfect sense (and still does). I doubt very many people were expecting great DX10 performance right away anyway, particularly as the games available barely make use of it.

    KT
    Reply
  • Sceptor - Thursday, July 05, 2007 - link

    I agree with your idea, I've always skipped over one generation of hardware to another.

    Especially when users are still "testing" Vista gaming for Microsoft, Nvidia and AMD I see no need to part with my money until performance is at least on par with DX9.

    Good article...Nice to see some real numbers on DX10 vs DX9
    Reply
  • DerekWilson - Thursday, July 05, 2007 - link

    there are applications where the 2900 xt does outperform its competition, as is shown by call of juarez.

    it really depends on how developers go forward. we'll have to wait and see what happens. judging the future of AMD/NVIDIA competition under dx10 isn't really feasible with only 3 apps to go by.

    one thing's for sure though, we'd love to see better performance out of the mainstream parts from both camps. And having some parts to fill in the gap between the lower and higher end hardware would be nice too.
    Reply
  • defter - Thursday, July 05, 2007 - link

    I think the point here is that many claimed that "R6xx is designed for DX10, don't judge it based on DX9 performance blah blah blah". Those claims gave the impression, that relative DX10 performance of R6xx series will be much better than their DX9 performance.

    Your tests show that on average, R6xx takes a HIGHER performance hit from moving to DX10. Thus, under DX10 R6xx is even SLOWER than it was under DX9.
    Reply

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