DirectX 8 Performance

Below you can see our plot of the DirectX 8 components.

GF4 Ti4200 64 250 500 4 2 2 128 2000 113 7629 100.0% 100.0% 100.0% 100.0%
DirectX 8 and 8.1
GF4 Ti4800 300 650 4 2 2 128 2400 135 9918 120.0% 130.0% 120.0% 123.3%
GF4 Ti4600 300 600 4 2 2 128 2400 135 9155 120.0% 120.0% 120.0% 120.0%
GF4 Ti4400 275 550 4 2 2 128 2200 124 8392 110.0% 110.0% 110.0% 110.0%
GF4 Ti4800 SE 275 550 4 2 2 128 2200 124 8392 110.0% 110.0% 110.0% 110.0%
GF4 Ti4200 8X 250 514 4 2 2 128 2000 113 7843 100.0% 102.8% 100.0% 100.9%
GF4 Ti4200 64 250 500 4 2 2 128 2000 113 7629 100.0% 100.0% 100.0% 100.0%
GF4 Ti4200 128 250 444 4 2 2 128 2000 113 6775 100.0% 88.8% 100.0% 96.3%
8500 275 550 4 2 1 128 2200 69 8392 110.0% 110.0% 61.1% 93.7%
9100 Pro 275 550 4 2 1 128 2200 69 8392 110.0% 110.0% 61.1% 93.7%
9100 250 500 4 2 1 128 2000 63 7629 100.0% 100.0% 55.6% 85.2%
8500 LE 250 500 4 2 1 128 2000 63 7629 100.0% 100.0% 55.6% 85.2%
9200 Pro 300 600 4 1 1 128 1200 75 9155 60.0% 120.0% 66.7% 82.2%
GF3 Ti500 240 500 4 2 1 128 1920 54 7629 96.0% 100.0% 48.0% 81.3%
9000 Pro 275 550 4 1 1 128 1100 69 8392 55.0% 110.0% 61.1% 75.4%
GeForce 3 200 460 4 2 1 128 1600 45 7019 80.0% 92.0% 40.0% 70.7%
9000 250 400 4 1 1 128 1000 63 6104 50.0% 80.0% 55.6% 61.9%
9200 250 400 4 1 1 128 1000 63 6104 50.0% 80.0% 55.6% 61.9%
GF3 Ti200 175 400 4 2 1 128 1400 39 6104 70.0% 80.0% 35.0% 61.7%
9250 240 400 4 1 1 128 960 60 6104 48.0% 80.0% 53.3% 60.4%
9200 SE 200 333 4 1 1 64 800 50 2541 40.0% 33.3% 44.4% 39.2%
* RAM clock is the effective clock speed, so 250 MHz DDR is listed as 500 MHz.
** Textures/Pipeline is the maximum number of texture lookups per pipeline.
*** NVIDIA says their GFFX cards have a "vertex array", but in practice it generally functions as indicated.
**** Single-texturing fill rate = core speed * pixel pipelines
+ Multi-texturing fill rate = core speed * maximum textures per pipe * pixel pipelines
++ Vertex rates can vary by implementation. The listed values reflect the manufacturers' advertised rates.
+++ Bandwidth is expressed in actual MB/s, where 1 MB = 1024 KB = 1048576 Bytes.
++++ Relative performance is normalized to the GF4 Ti4200 64, but these values are at best a rough estimate.

No weighting has been applied to the DirectX 8 charts, and performance in games generally falls in line with what is represented in the above chart. Back in the DirectX 8 era, NVIDIA really had a huge lead in performance over ATI. The Radeon 8500 was able to offer better performance than the GeForce 3, but that lasted all of two months before the launch of the GeForce 4 Ti line. Of course, many people today continue running GeForce4 Ti cards with few complaints about performance - only high quality rendering modes and DX9-only applications are really forcing people to upgrade. For casual gamers, finding a used GF4Ti card for $50 or less may be preferable to buying a low-end DX9 card. It really isn't until the FX5700 Ultra and FX5600 Ultra that the GF4Ti cards are outclassed, and those cards still cost well over $100 new.

ATI did have one advantage over NVIDIA in the DirectX 8 era, however. They worked with Microsoft to create an updated version of DirectX; version 8.1. This added support for some "advanced pixel shader" effects, which brought the Pixel Shader version up to 1.4. There wasn't anything that could be done in DX8.1 that couldn't be done with DX8.0, but several operations could be done in one pass instead of two passes. Support for DirectX 8 games was very late in coming, however, and support for ATI's extensions was, if possible, even more so. There are a few titles which now support the DX8.1 extensions, but even then the older DX8.1 ATI cards are generally incapable of running these games well.

It is worth noting that the vertex rates on the NVIDIA cards are calculated as 90% of the clock speed times the number of vertex pipelines, divided by four. Why is that important? It's not, really, but on the FX and GF6 series of cards, NVIDIA uses clock speed times vertex pipelines divided by four for the claimed vertex rate. It could be that architectural improvements made the vertex rate faster. Such detail was lacking on the ATI side of things, although 68 million vertices/second for the 8500 was claimed in a few places, which matches the calculation used on NVIDIA's DX9 cards. You don't have to look any further than such benchmarks as 3DMark01 to find that these theoretical maximum are never reached, of course - even with one light source and no textures, the high polygon count scene doesn't come near the claimed rate.

Number nine… Number nine… Seven, seven for n-n-no tomorrow
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  • Neo_Geo - Tuesday, September 7, 2004 - link

    Nice article.... BUT....
    I was hoping the Quadro and FireGL lines would be included in the comparison.
    As someone who uses BOTH proffessional (ProE and SolidWorks) AND consumer level (games) software, I am interested in purchasing a Quadro or FireGL, but I want to compare these to their consumer level equivalent (as each pro level card generally has an equivalent consumer level card with some minor, but important, otomizations).

    Thanks
    Reply
  • mikecel79 - Tuesday, September 7, 2004 - link

    The AIW 9600 Pros have faster memory than the normal 9600 Pro. 9600 Pro memory runs at 650Mhz vs the 600 on a normal 9600.

    Here's the Anandtech article for reference:
    http://www.anandtech.com/video/showdoc.aspx?i=1905...
    Reply
  • Questar - Tuesday, September 7, 2004 - link

    #20,

    This list is not complete at all, it would be 3 times the size if it was from the last 5 or 6 years. It covers about the last 3, and is laden with errors

    Just another exampple of half-asssed job this site has been doing lately.
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Tuesday, September 7, 2004 - link

    #14 - Sorry, I went with desktop cards only. Usually, you're stuck with whatever comes in your laptop anyway. Maybe in the future, I'll look at including something like that.

    #15 - Good God, Jim - I'm a CS graduate, not a graphics artist! (/Star Trek) Heheh. Actually, you would be surprised at how difficult it can be to get everything to fit. Maximum width of the tables is 550 pixels. Slanting the graphics would cause issues making it all fit. I suppose putting in vertical borders might help keep things straight, but I don't like the look of charts with vertical separators.

    #20 - Welcome to the club. Getting old sucks - after a certain point, at least.
    Reply
  • Neekotin - Tuesday, September 7, 2004 - link

    great read! wow! i didn't know there were so much GPUs in the past 5-6 years. its like more than all combined before them. guess i'm a bit old.. ;) Reply
  • JarredWalton - Tuesday, September 7, 2004 - link

    12/13: I updated the Radeon LE entry and resorted the DX7 page. I'm sure anyone that owns a Radeon LE already knows this, but you could use a registry hack to turn them into essentially a full Radeon DDR. (By default, the Hierarchical Z compression and a few other features were disabled.) Old Anandtech article on the subject:

    http://www.anandtech.com/video/showdoc.aspx?i=1473
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Monday, September 6, 2004 - link

    Virge... I could be wrong on this, but I'm pretty sure some of the older chips could actually be configured with either SDR or DDR RAM, and I think the GF2 MX series was one of those. The problem was that you could either have 64-bit DDR or 128-bit SDR, so it really didn't matter which you chose. But yeah, there were definitely 128-bit SDR versions of the cards available, and they were generally more common than the 64-bit DDR parts I listed. The MX200, of course, was 64-bit SDR, so it got the worst of both worlds. Heh.

    I think the early Radeons had some similar options, and I'm positive that such options existed in the mobile arena. Overall, though, it's a minor gripe (I hope).
    Reply
  • ViRGE - Monday, September 6, 2004 - link

    Jarred, without getting too nit-picky, your data for the GeForce 2 MX is technically wrong; the MX used a 128bit/SDR configuration for the most part, not a 64bit/DDR configuration(http://www.anandtech.com/showdoc.aspx?i=1266&p... Note that this isn't true for any of the other MX's(both the 200 and 400 widely used 64bit/DDR), and the difference between the two configurations has no effect on the math for memory bandwidth, but it's still worth noting. Reply
  • Cygni - Monday, September 6, 2004 - link

    Ive been working with Adrian's Rojak Pot on a very similar chart to this one for awhile now. Check it out:

    http://www.rojakpot.com/showarticle.aspx?artno=88&...
    Reply
  • Denial - Monday, September 6, 2004 - link

    Nice article. In the future, if you could put the text at the top of the tables on an angle it would make them much easier to read. Reply

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