Low End Tests: Last Man StandingAnd finally, we have the low end budget cards and previous generation equipment. We ran these tests at the default resolution set by each of the first three quality settings. We ran the High Quality setting, as last years midrange cards almost make our playable frame rate list. For some, this may be close enough, but we really want to see that 40-45 frames per second average before we call it rock solid.
At Medium quality, the GeForce 4 Ti 4400 falls in our playable range, which is very impressive for such an old card. Medium quality still looks great, and even with the quantization visible on lighted surfaces (especially in specular highlights) is still aeons beyond what one would expect this venerable card to handle. The id team has certainly out done themselves with quality support for previous generation hardware while building in plenty of scalability.
Though we didn't test it here, the best setting for both the 5700 Ultra and 9600 XT is Medium Quality at 800x600, as it gives the best performance and balance of visual experience.
Another bit of goodness to take away from these tests is that Low Quality and Medium Quality really don't show a tangable difference on these cards. There is absolutely no reason to run Low Quality on any card that has more than 64MB of RAM. This means that textures won't be resized, though some quantization may be evident from the compression used on normal, specular, and diffuse maps.