It's been a long time coming, but we finally have Epic's first Unreal Engine 3 based game out on the PC. While the final version of Unreal Tournament 3 is still a little farther out, last week's beta release kept us occupied over the past several days as we benchmarked the engine behind Rainbow Six: Vegas, Gears of War and Bioshock.

Used in some very beautiful games, Epic's Unreal Engine 3 has been bringing us some truly next-generation game titles and is significantly more demanding on the CPU and GPU than Valve's Source engine. While far from the impossible-to-run that Oblivion was upon its release, UE3 is still more stressful on modern day hardware than most of what we've seen thus far.

The Demo Beta

Although Unreal Tournament 3 is due out before the end of the year, what Epic released is a beta of the UT3 Demo and thus it's not as polished as a final demo. The demo beta has the ability to record demos but it can't play them back, so conventional benchmarking is out. Thankfully Epic left in three scripted flybys that basically take a camera and fly around the levels in a set path, devoid of all characters.

Real world UT3 performance will be more strenuous than what these flybys show but it's the best we can muster for now. The final version of UT3 should have full demo playback functionality, with which we'll be able to provide better performance analysis. The demo beta also only ships with medium quality textures, so the final game can be even more stressful/beautiful if you so desire.

The flybys can run for an arbitrary period of time, we standardized on 90 seconds for each flyby in order to get repeatable results while still keeping the tests manageable to run. There are three flyby benchmarks that come bundled with the demo beta: DM-ShangriLa, DM-HeatRay and vCTF-Suspense.

As their names imply, the ShangriLa and HeatRay flybys are of the Shangri La and Heat Ray deathmatch levels, while the vCTF-Suspense is a flyby of the sole vehicle CTF level that comes with the demo.

Our GPU tests were run at the highest quality settings and with the -compatscale=5 switch enabled, which puts all detail settings at their highest values.

Our CPU tests were run at the default settings without the compatscale switch as we're looking to measure CPU performance and not GPU performance.

The Test

Test Setup

Intel Core 2 Extreme QX6850 (3.33GHz 4MB 1333FSB)
Intel Core 2 Quad Q6700 (2.66GHz 4MB 1066FSB)
Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 (2.40GHz 4MB 1066FSB)
Intel Core 2 Duo E6750 (2.66GHz 4MB 1333FSB)
Intel Core 2 Duo E6550 (2.33GHz 4MB 1333FSB)
Intel Core 2 Duo E4500 (2.2GHz 2MB 800FSB)
Intel Core 2 Duo E4400 (2.0GHz 2MB 800FSB)
Intel Pentium Dual-Core E2160 (1.8GHz 1MB 800FSB)
Intel Pentium Dual-Core E2140 (1.6GHz 1MB 800FSB)
AMD Athlon 64 X2 6400+ (3.2GHz 2x1MB)
AMD Athlon 64 X2 6000+ (3.0GHz 2x1MB)
AMD Athlon 64 X2 5600+ (2.8GHZ 2x1MB)
AMD Athlon X2 5000+ (2.6GHz 2x512K)
AMD Athlon X2 4200+ (2.2GHz 2x512K)
AMD Athlon X2 4000+ (2.1GHz 2x512K)

Motherboard Intel: Gigabyte GA-P35C-DS3R
AMD: ASUS M2N32-SLI Deluxe
Video Cards AMD Radeon HD 2900 XT
AMD Radeon X1950 XTX
NVIDIA GeForce 8800 Ultra
NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GTX
NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GTS 320MB
NVIDIA GeForce 7900 GTX
Video Drivers AMD: Catalyst 7.10
NVIDIA: 163.75
Hard Drive Seagate 7200.9 300GB 8MB 7200RPM
RAM 2x1GB Corsair XMS2 PC2-6400 4-4-4-12
Operating System Windows Vista Ultimate 32-bit
UT3 Teaches us about CPU Architecture
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  • p30n - Wednesday, October 17, 2007 - link

    very good point.
  • retrospooty - Wednesday, October 17, 2007 - link

    "What does this show us? At least for UT3 quad (vs dual) is rather a waste."

    ya, thats pretty much what they said in the article. They tested it so the results can be known.
  • thompsjt1 - Wednesday, October 17, 2007 - link

    "THERE ARE NO HIGH RESOLUTION TEXTURES" in the UT3 BETA demo. They didn't include them for download size reasons and I am sure they WILL include them in the real official demo and I think once you are running these high resolution textures and settings are maximized, we will see bigger difference of Nvidia vs AMD numbers.
  • pnyffeler - Wednesday, October 17, 2007 - link

    The article spent a lot of time on the effect of the size of the cache on an Intel processor, but what about AMD? Does the size of the cache matter, or is this yet another example of Intel's Northbridge system being trumped by AMD's advantage of having the memory controller on the CPU?

    I have no misconceptions that AMD has a chance of topping an Intel here. I'm just curious to see how much better Nehalem will be.

    P.S. Thumbs down on the CPU comparison. You said in the setup you were going to test an X2 4200, but it never made the charts. And what about an 8600 GT? I'm going to be running this game at 640x480, aren't I....
  • NullSubroutine - Wednesday, October 17, 2007 - link

    I believe they did not really test AMD's cpus right now due to the awaiting arrival of Phenom which is less than a month away.

    Looks as though the 200-250 range (RV670 bins) are going to kick some bahooty given their higher core speeds, especially at the 1280x1024, 1600x1200, and 1680x1050 resolutions.
  • Chaser - Wednesday, October 17, 2007 - link


    but the real surprise is how competitive AMD is with the Radeon HD 2900 XT.

    I knew with mature drivers this card would rock. It only too a short amount of time. Good job ATI and Anandtech for demonstrating this.
  • aka1nas - Wednesday, October 17, 2007 - link

    That's mainly because there is no AA applied because the UT3 engine doesn't support it in Dx9 mode. AA has been the R600s stumbling block.
  • NullSubroutine - Wednesday, October 17, 2007 - link

    Multi-Sampling seems to run fine, it is Super Sampling that seems to be broken.
  • shabby - Wednesday, October 17, 2007 - link

    The beta demo looks nothing like epic wanted us to think, these pics are back from july.">
  • swaaye - Wednesday, October 17, 2007 - link

    It looks nothing like that because that is a ultra supersampled bullshot. Just like every single other game gets these days. In reality, UT3 looks as good as Gears of War right now, and will look a lot better once we get the high quality assets with the full game.

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