Quake 4 Performance

There has always been a lot of debate in the community surrounding pure timedemo benchmarking. We have opted to stick with the timedemo test rather than the nettimedemo option for benchmarking Quake 4. To be clear, this means our test results focus mostly on the capability of each graphics card to render frames generated by Quake 4. The frame rates we see here don't directly translate into what one would experience during game play.

Additionally, Quake 4 limits frame rate to 60 fps during gameplay whether or not VSync is enabled. Performance characteristics of a timedemo do not reflect actual gameplay. So why do we do them? Because the questions we are trying to answer have only to do with the graphics subsystem. We want to know what graphics card is better at rendering Quake 4 frames. Any graphics card that does better at rendering Quake 4 frames will play Quake 4 better than another card for Quake 4. While that doesn't mean the end user will see higher performance in the game, it does mean that the potential for seeing more performance is there. For instance, if the user upgrades a CPU before the next graphics card upgrade.

What this means to the end user is that in-game performance will almost always be lower than timedemo performance. It also means that graphics cards that do slightly better than other graphics cards will not always show a tangible performance increase on an end user's system. As long as we keep these things in mind, we can make informed conclusions based on the data we collect.

Our benchmark consists of the first few minutes of the first level. This includes both inside and outdoor sections, with the initial few fire fights. We tested the game with Ultra Quality settings (uncompressed normal maps), and we enabled all the advanced graphics options except for VSync. Id does a pretty good job of keeping framerate very consistent, and so in-game framerates of 25 are acceptable. While we don't have the ability to make a direct mapping to what that means in the timedemo test, our experience indicates that a timedemo fps of about 35 translates into an enjoyable experience on our system. This will certainly vary on other systems, so take it with a grain of salt. But the important thing to remember is that this is more of a test of relative performance of graphics cards when it comes to rendering Quake 4 frames -- it doesn't directly translate to Quake 4 experience.

Quake 4 Performance

It seems that even an overclock can't save NVIDIA's newest part from succumbing to the latest ATI OpenGL enhancements that have drastically improved Doom 3 engine based game performance. Of course, not all OpenGL games faired well with the latest round of drivers from ATI, with City of Heros/Villains performing very poorly in spite of its use of OpenGL. ATI cards seem to do very well in this benchmark indeed with the X1900 GT coming out the clear performance and value winner.

Quake 4 - No AA
 
800x600
1024x768
1280x1024
1600x1200
1920x1440
ATI Radeon X1600 XT
77.1
61.8
43.8
34.5
25.3
ATI Radeon X1800 GTO
114.7
93.5
68.9
53.9
40.3
ATI Radeon X1900 GT
130.8
109.6
82.7
65.5
51.7
ATI Radeon X1900 XT 256MB
148.3
129.2
101.8
82
65.6
ATI Radeon X1900 XT
159.2
145.2
117.5
95.4
75.7
NVIDIA GeForce 6600 GT
54
42.4
31.3
23.5
15.5
NVIDIA GeForce 6800 GS
78.9
58.4
44.8
34.7
23.5
NVIDIA GeForce 7600 GT
96.5
71.2
54.6
41.7
32.4
NVIDIA GeForce 7800 GT
98
75.3
56.3
45.8
36.9
NVIDIA GeForce 7900 GS
92.5
70.2
58.2
44.8
38.3
XFX GeForce 7900 GS 480M Extreme
94
76.1
59.3
46.4
40.1
NVIDIA GeForce 7900 GT
105.2
80.6
63.6
49.9
42.2


Quake 4 Performance

Enabling 4xAA serves to clench Quake 4 as a benchmark that greatly favors ATI hardware when running at the highest possible quality settings. This is the exact opposite of what we have been saying about Quake 4 performance ever since the game launched, but it seems ATI has finally solved their OpenGL performance issues -- at least with this particular engine.

Quake 4 - 4X AA
 
800x600
1024x768
1280x1024
1600x1200
1920x1440
ATI Radeon X1600 XT
59.4
47.5
33.7
24.5
15.7
ATI Radeon X1800 GTO
84.2
67.1
48.3
37
25.7
ATI Radeon X1900 GT
97.7
78.6
57.5
44
33.1
ATI Radeon X1900 XT 256MB
119.8
99.8
73.9
57.3
42.1
ATI Radeon X1900 XT
134.9
113
84.2
66.3
51.5
NVIDIA GeForce 6600 GT
37.6
27.7
19.3
14.3
 
NVIDIA GeForce 6800 GS
58.7
42.8
30.9
23.8
15.3
NVIDIA GeForce 7600 GT
67.9
48.5
34.7
26.6
19.9
NVIDIA GeForce 7800 GT
75.1
57.1
41.2
31.8
21.5
NVIDIA GeForce 7900 GS
71.6
55.8
40.9
32.6
22.1
XFX GeForce 7900 GS 480M Extreme
73.3
56.9
43
34
23.1
NVIDIA GeForce 7900 GT
78
60
45.1
35.2
23.9

Half Life 2 Episode One Performance Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory Performance
POST A COMMENT

29 Comments

View All Comments

  • phusg - Tuesday, September 12, 2006 - link

    Hi Derek,

    I'm a little late to the ball but still

    > cheaper price tag

    really grates me! I know it's pretty endemic but it's still logically incorrect. A price tag can be lower of higher, but not cheaper, unless it's the price tag being sold. It's the product itself that can be cheaper.

    Cheers Derek and don't let me catch you making this one again or there'll be hell to pay ;-)

    Pete
    Reply
  • imaheadcase - Thursday, September 7, 2006 - link

    Could you post a link to the bf2 demo you use, so we can compare are systems video cards to new ones? Reply
  • Stele - Wednesday, September 6, 2006 - link

    At first glance, it seems that ATI has markedly improved their OpenGL implementation, at least for the Doom 3 engine:
    quote:

    ...the latest ATI OpenGL enhancements that have drastically improved Doom 3 engine based game performance.

    quote:

    ...clench Quake 4 as a benchmark that greatly favors ATI hardware when running at the highest possible quality settings. This is the exact opposite of what we have been saying about Quake 4 performance ever since the game launched....

    However, after a moment's thought considering the vast difference in performance from before, and also the following qualifiers:
    quote:

    Of course, not all OpenGL games faired well with the latest round of drivers from ATI, with City of Heros/Villains performing very poorly in spite of its use of OpenGL.

    quote:

    ...but it seems ATI has finally solved their OpenGL performance issues -- at least with this particular engine.

    one can't help but wonder - just wonder - if there's anything here that smells like the last quake.exe driver optimisation trick ... which, curiously enough, was also pulled by ATi (iirc it was during the Radeon 8500's time?). I wonder!
    Reply
  • Ryan Smith - Wednesday, September 6, 2006 - link

    There's no quackery as far as we know of. The problems with City of Heroes is a shader corruption bug, and a bug related to rendering on a secondary buffer, according to Cryptic(the developers of CoH). Whatever ATI did to speed up OpenGL performance here, they apparently didn't take in to account CoH. Reply
  • Stele - Thursday, September 7, 2006 - link

    Excellent! Am deciding between the X1900GT and 7900GS (when the latter shows up in the channels), and this improvement would help strengthen the case for the X1900 a bit. :) Reply
  • S3anister - Wednesday, September 6, 2006 - link

    found an XFX version on this card on newegg for 189MIR.

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82...">http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82...
    Reply
  • emilyek - Wednesday, September 6, 2006 - link

    A worthless sku. x1900gt and x1800xt/gto2 are better and almost $50 cheaper. Reply
  • sharkdude - Wednesday, September 6, 2006 - link

    The Oblivion percentages are the same in this graph as in the graph on page 4 for all resolutions when in fact only the 800x600 numbers should be the same. On page 5 the numbers should be 4.1%, 10.1%, 6.4%, and 7.3% for 800x600, 1024x768, 1280x1024, and 1600x1200. Note the text below the chart should also change 15% to 10%. Reply
  • DerekWilson - Wednesday, September 6, 2006 - link

    corrected -- but your number for 16x12 appears to be wrong as well. :-) Reply
  • Lifted - Wednesday, September 6, 2006 - link

    Thanks for including the 6600 and 6800 cards in the benchmarks. Reply

Log in

Don't have an account? Sign up now