S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Performance

Version: 1.0005
Settings: full dynamic lighting, everything maxed without AA and no grass shadows.

With the graphics setting turned as far up as we could get them, video memory does seem to be a very important factor in performance. Our 256MB parts simply tanked this benchmark. Getting playability out of this game involves turning down the lighting distance at least (as it doesn't have a huge visual impact) and possibly turning off or down some of the shadow settings.

For this test, we walk in a straight line for about 30 seconds and use FRAPS to measure performance. We use the same save game every time and the path doesn't change. Our performance measurements are very consistent between runs. We do two runs and take the second.

S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Performance

 

 

The 256mb Radeon HD 3850 and GeForce 8800 GT clearly suffer from lack of memory in this case. Of course, the 9600 GT actually outperforms the 3870, so we know it isn't all about the framebuffer, but we would absolutely expect the 512MB 8800 GT to outperform the 9600 GT here as well. Crossfire doesn't seem to help out ATI much here, but SLI provides as close to linear scaling as is possible, which is a nice thing if S.T.A.L.K.E.R. is your game of choice (and with Clear Sky on the horizon).

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  • ritalinkid18 - Monday, February 25, 2008 - link

    I think this review underestimated the price difference. The key here is cost. It said that cost wasn't a factor when comparing the two in question, but then used as a factor when comparing the SSC to the 8800 gt. The 8800gt's pricetag makes cost a big factor.
    Not to mention the SLI vs Crossfire, which is undoubtably the 9600gt's win. ( Case and point: http://www.anandtech.com/video/showdoc.aspx?i=3234...">http://www.anandtech.com/video/showdoc.aspx?i=3234... ) This may be about cost and a cost saving upgrade down the road should be included.

    The fact that the 9600gt is the clear winner here in completely understated.
    Reply
  • 7Enigma - Monday, February 25, 2008 - link

    Derek and Anand I had a quick question. I, like several others, would have preferred you to have a high(er) end card like the 3870 or 8800GTS (or even just the 512meg version of the GT). I understand the purpose of the review is to show mid-range cards, but its the SLI configuration that annoys me.

    In a recent Daily Tech article the author eludes to 2 of these 9600's in SLI being a "better" value than a single more expensive GTS (since the 9600's would technically be less expensive). The problem with this statement as we all know is that it is software dependent on whether the extra card will actually be implemented well. Otherwise you have a single 9600 that would get blown away by a GTS. Unfortunately less informed readers of DT that then come over to Anandtech for the review would be shown the 9600 in SLI as the leader.

    I understand you don't want to muddy the graphs/charts with the last 100 video cards you have reviewed, so here is my question:
    Reply
  • 7Enigma - Monday, February 25, 2008 - link


    While its great to use the latest and greatest CPU/RAM/Mobo (to make sure the system is GPU constrained), is it possible to stick with a static testbed for at least a couple months (say 3-6)?

    Reason being, right now if you had not switched from a QX9650 to a QX9775 between your last review (3870X2), and not switched from Vista 32-bit to 64-bit, we could possibly check back and compare to previous reviews to do our own comparisons. I understand driver revisions are going to still be a factor but as long as we don't see large differences in performance between the drivers it could be a good comparison.
    Reply
  • 7Enigma - Monday, February 25, 2008 - link


    To keep things even more consistent between reviews just keep a HD image of the drive and reformat back to the same static testbed whenever doing a video card review (more expensive but easier would be just a HD swap). We understand you cannot have a dedicated system that doesn't do anything but review video cards, but if you could quickly just swap out a HD or reformat to the same state as a previous review that would end these constant questions about, "Why didn't you test so and so?".

    You could then say, "Look it up yourself!"

    Here's the quote from the DT article in question:

    "As far as performance goes, NVIDIA claims a couple 9600 GT's in SLI mode will perform slightly better than a single 8800 GTX. With the cost of an 8800 GTX still above the $400 price point, the 9600 GT SLI setup is a better investment. Just to mention it, NVIDIA states the 9600 GT puts out twice the frame rates as the 8600GTS when comparing SLI performance."
    Reply
  • 7Enigma - Monday, February 25, 2008 - link

    test Reply
  • 7Enigma - Monday, February 25, 2008 - link

    Test Reply
  • jamynn - Monday, February 25, 2008 - link

    Why are the results for Crysis, Oblivion and Quake Wars 880GT 256 so much lower in this article than they are in their original review in this article? http://www.anandtech.com/video/showdoc.aspx?i=3175...">http://www.anandtech.com/video/showdoc.aspx?i=3175...

    Definetly makes the 880GT256 look alot worse than it originally tested. Looks Suspicous.
    Reply
  • MadBoris - Saturday, February 23, 2008 - link

    Ok, I was waiting for this review to popup on the home page but it never did on my visits why is that?
    It seems now I have to scour the site, in this case the video section, to look for it on some whim. The home page has really become disappointing, sometimes it shows an interesting blog but doesn't include this review, the home page is doing a disservice to visitors. I hope you guys can fix that or start sending all new content to the home page.

    Secondly, I would have really liked a comparison to the 8800GT 512 in this review, the question to me is the 8800GT 512, for only $20 - $30 more, worth it over this card.
    Reply
  • niva - Friday, February 22, 2008 - link

    I still have my Tyan Tachion 9700 Pro in my 6 year old system and runs just fine and I use every day for office/email/internet and gaming! Of course I don't run any of the stupid games which require new gen cards. I'll keep it until it dies I think. Ultimate card evar though at the time it came it was high end as heck!

    Seriously though, we should all be happy that we actually HAVE a mid-price range market now. I am, thanks Nvidia!
    Reply
  • Groovester - Thursday, February 21, 2008 - link

    It seems strange that no mention was made of the 8800GS card. Perhaps it wasn't available when AT decided to test the 9600, but it would be nice had they tested the two. After all, they are NVidia's two newest mid-range video cards. According to the 8800GS specs, if they are going to retail for about the same price, it looks like the 8800GS would perform better. And I doubt that I would be using the new color "saturater" of the 9600. Reply

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