The Test

We decided to focus solely on how graphics card selection impacts the framerate of Doom 3 using the built in timedemo utility and prerecorded demo1.demo benchmark. This was done in the interest of getting useable data out as soon as possible. We are currently playing with recording our own demos and testing other aspects of the game. From what we've seen so far, it seems like demo1 and the timedemo utility report an accurate picture of performance.

In order to eliminate as much bottleneck as possible from the system, we went with our overclocked FX53 in the 939 platform. After having gathered data for this and other reviews we are working on, our overclock may have had more impact if we had pushed the RAM of the system rather than the multiplier of our processor. But that's another article.

 Performance Test Configuration
Processor(s): AMD Athlon 64 FX53 (oc to 2.6GHz)
RAM: 2 x 512Mb OCZ 3500 Platinum Ltd (2:3:2:10)
Hard Drives Seagate 120GB 7200 RPM (8MB Buffer)
Video AGP & IDE Bus Master Drivers VIA Hyperion 4.51
Video Card(s): NVIDIA GeForce 6800 Ultra Extreme
NVIDIA GeForce 6800 Ultra
NVIDIA GeForce 6800 GT
NVIDIA GeForce 6800
NVIDIA GeForce FX 5950
ATI Radeon X800 XT Platinum Ed.
ATI Radeon X800 Pro
ATI Radeon 9800 XT
NVIDIA GeForce FX 5900 Ultra
NVIDIA GeForce FX 5700 Ultra
ATI Radeon 9800 Pro 128
ATI Radeon 9700 Pro
ATI Radeon 9600 XT
NVIDIA GeForce FX 5500
ATI Radeon 9200
NVIDIA GeForce 4 Ti 4400
Video Drivers: ATI Catalyst 4.7
NVIDIA ForceWare 61.77
Operating System(s): Windows XP Professional SP1
Motherboards: MSI MS-6702E (VIA K8T800 Pro Chipset)


Our tests are divided into sections that reflect the general performance capabilities of the cards tested. For example, High End consists of current generation cards such as the X800 Pro and 6800, Low end consists of much older or very low performance cards like the GF4 Ti 4400 and the Radeon 9200. Midrange is essentially everything in between and is the largest category with the most tests.

Index High End Tests: Tourney
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  • redscull - Friday, September 03, 2004 - link

    Thought I'd share my own benchmarks, especially so people can see the impact the CPU makes. I ran once to let the demo cache, then took the average of two following times.

    Shuttle SN85G4V2, Athlon 64 3000+, 1GB PC3200, XFX 6800 GT 256MB, Raptor drive

    1600x1200, no AA, High Quality: 58.2
    1024x768, 4xAA, High Quality: 63.0

    I'm 0.7 and 2.2 fps slower in those tests, and the only real difference between my system and the review system is about a $550 CPU upgrade =)
    Reply
  • uethello - Friday, August 06, 2004 - link

    I appreciate all the hard work that went into this review but I wish you had used a more realistic / mainstream CPU i.e.; AMD 2500+ or a p4. Just my .02 All in all, though, a fantastic article. Reply
  • Phiro - Friday, August 06, 2004 - link

    Question, how much memory does each card have? Does it make a big diff with Doom3 if you have 128mb vs. 256mb? I'm asking becuase there is a huge price difference between a 6800 128mb and a 6800 256mb. Reply
  • Locutus4657 - Thursday, August 05, 2004 - link

    I just thought I would post that I am running an AMD64 3000+ with 1GB Ram on a Chaintech MB with an ATI Radeon 9600XT. Running 1024.768 medium quality is no problem! Reply
  • DerekWilson - Thursday, August 05, 2004 - link

    KrazyDawg ...

    You're right ... copied down wrong again.

    Last time I copy data while I'm trying not to fall asleep, I promise.
    Reply
  • KrazyDawg - Thursday, August 05, 2004 - link

    Can the results for the High Quality Med test be fixed? It shows the Radeon 9800 Pro with a higher frame rate than the 9800 XT. Also, the 9800XT has the same frame rate as a 9700Pro. Reply
  • KrazyDawg - Thursday, August 05, 2004 - link

    Will there be a noticeable difference in frame rate between a 9800 Pro 256MB and a 9800 Pro 128MB? Reply
  • Jeff7181 - Wednesday, August 04, 2004 - link

    GREAT article guys. After playing it for a couple days, I agree 100% with what was said. Awesome game, brilliant developing by Carmack and his team. There's not a game I'd rather be playing right now... some people aren't impressed by it... because they filled their head with hype about how it will be revolutionary and a breakthrough in gaming. While it's not quite THAT amazing, it is in my opinion, easily the best looking game you can buy today... including Far Cry. Reply
  • mattmm - Wednesday, August 04, 2004 - link

    Maybe I'm missing something, or I'm just uneducated with PCI-Express. But shouldn't PCI-E be involved in testing? If thats the way the graphics slot standard is headed, why havent they produced high perofmrance cards like the 6800 for that platform? And what is everyones feeligns about being left int he dust with your $500 AGP card in a couple months "IF" PCI-E is debuted with something better? Like a majority I'm faced with having to buy a whole new system for this game, but I dont want to jsut put something together to play this game NOW, I want it for games LATER as well. Just dont want to make the mistake of sinking the dough into a technology where in a few months the possibility of something far greater is bound. (I know its the hate-love relationship with advancing technology) Reply
  • PrinceGaz - Wednesday, August 04, 2004 - link

    I made a slight mistake earlier when I said the console command to show the framerate while playing is "con_showfps 1", it is actually "com_showfps 1". Sorry.

    #57- my CPU is actually a slightly overclocked XP 1700+ which I've ran at 1800+ speeds ever since I built this box. I did try overclocking my Ti4200 to Ti4400 speeds (275/550), which is well within its maximum possible overclock without any visible corruption (290/580).

    As you'd expect, a faster graphics card did next to nothing for my framerate at 640x480 as that was pretty much CPU limited. The 10% gfx overclock only raised the framerate of the 640x480 low quality mode by 1%, from 31.4 fps to 31.7fps. I doubt even a 6800 Ultra could manage more than 33fps with my CPU, mobo, and memory. So an XP 1800+ on a KT266A mobo has a roughly 33fps ceiling regardless of graphics card or mode.

    At 1024x768 medium quality, the 21.2fps at 250/500 was raised by a healthy 8% to 22.9fps with the 250/550 overclock of 10%, so a faster graphics card would in my system would definitely push that a lot higher, probably close to 33fps. Increasing core speed alone had a greater impact than memory alone, at 275/500 I measured 22.2fps, while at 250/550 I got 21.8fps. If you've got any GeForce4 Ti series card (even an overclocked Ti4600), regardless of your CPU I'd recommend running at 800x600 in Medium quality mode, or possibly High quality mode with Aniso disabled though you're unlikely to see much difference and theres always the risk of texture swapping at some point.
    Reply

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