Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory

Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory, based on the original Quake3 engine, has served as our core benchmark for OpenGL games on Linux. The last time that we revisited this benchmark, we saw some very extreme scaling scenarios with regard to the ATI versus NVIDIA benchmarks. If price alone should dictate how video cards scale alone, then we would expect the Radeon 9800 Pro to retail for considerably less than the GeForceFX 5700 Ultra.

Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory No AA

Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory 4xAA

Even though ATI was able to pull off some single digit FPS gains, NVIDIA's lead is already so far ahead that NVIDIA's single-digit FPS gains put ATI just about back where they started. We were particularly lucky with Wolfenstein because there has been no version change since the last GPU benchmark. Below, you can see the first graph from two months ago that demonstrated NVIDIA versus ATI performance in the radar timedemo. Once again, feel free to download the CSV file here.

Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory ATI vs NVIDIA No AA

The next graph is the same timedemo using the 1.0-6629 NVIDIA drivers and the 3.14.6 ATI drivers.

Although most of the changes are minute, there are definite performance increases across the board for both cards. Near second 43, the "fire scene" that hurt performance so badly in the first GPU roundup seems less prevalent this time around. Overlays of screen captures from today's benchmark runs revealed no differences in anti-aliasing or anisotropic filtering. It would appear as though the performance gains that we noticed today are not coming from optimizations - both screenshots are identical down to the individual pixel.

NVIDIA GeForceFX 5700 Ultra 43rd Second

1.0-6111 (Click to Enlarge)

The Test Unreal Tournament 2004


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  • KristopherKubicki - Friday, December 17, 2004 - link

    Pannenkoek: Unfortunately I have large doubts about ATI or NVIDIA ever opening up their drivers. Both companies have more software engineers than hardware engineers. They spend a *lot* of time and money reinventing the wheel between the two of them - and I think they want to keep it that way.

  • KristopherKubicki - Friday, December 17, 2004 - link

    MooseMuffin: It's SUSE 9.1 - i think i might have a typo in there somewhere. We kept it at 9.1 instead of 9.2 just for that reason (the kernel is very updated though).

    Hope that helps,

  • Pannenkoek - Friday, December 17, 2004 - link

    I back up #5: 10-15% gain from 32bit to 64bit is not "meager"...

    Before you ditch the open source 3D drivers for the newer videocards (if any exist...), please keep in mind they have to reverse engineer the cards, as NVIDIA and ATI don't co-operate and no hardware spec's are available. As far as I know only serious 2D OSS drivers are in development.

    Also, we should not applause ATI's gains in performance, as they were abominable to start with. However, we should applause their changing attitude towards open source platforms. Let us hope it will continue to improve!

    And let us hope NVIDIA and ATI will open their hardware in the future, so open source drivers can be made for them. No buggy proprietary drivers tainting the kernel anymore. But I fear we may wait a long time for that to happen. ATI is hugging Direct3D and MS too closely to encourage development of good OSS drivers as a way to counter NVIDIA's lead in OpenGL. And NVIDIA won't open up as long as that is the case.

    Nevertheless, hereby I beg NVIDIA and ATI to design their future generation cards in such a way that opening the spec will not expose their holy IP.
  • Myrandex - Friday, December 17, 2004 - link

    And that should only increase with time with optimized 64bit code, drivers, improved operating system components, etc. Reply
  • icarus4586 - Friday, December 17, 2004 - link

    ...performance gains between 32-bit and 64-bit distributions on Unreal Tournament 2004 were meager

    I agree with Icehawk, and beg to differ with the author. >10% performance gains are not "meager" by any stretch. Imagine NVidia/ATI releases a new Windows driver that increases performance 10%. I'm pretty sure nobody would say that was a "meager" improvement.
  • R3MF - Friday, December 17, 2004 - link

    thank god i have an nForce2 and Ti4200, SUSE 9.1 runs like a dream.

    i have just bought an nForce3Ultra and 6800GT for the parents.

    i will upgrade to an nForce4 and 6800GT early next year.

    notice a trend? you would have to be daft using ATI silicon in a machine you intend to install Linux onto.
  • Icehawk - Friday, December 17, 2004 - link

    I should say total delta from 32:32-bit to 64:64-bit . Reply
  • Icehawk - Friday, December 17, 2004 - link

    I don't know why they say the bump in 64-bit UT performance is minor - if you look at the total delta from 1.0-611 32-bit -> 1.0-6629 64-bit it is a ~13% increase on the 6800 and ~15% on the 5700U which is pretty darn good IMO. Reply
  • MooseMuffin - Friday, December 17, 2004 - link

    How did you guys get these drivers installed on Suse 9.2? As far as I can tell suse 9.2 uses xorg and ati only supplies xfree drivers. Reply
  • mickyb - Friday, December 17, 2004 - link

    ATI's performance is shameful on linux. They have some serious work to do. Reply

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