Return to Castle Wolfenstein

We started out this comparison with Quake III Arena as the benchmark of choice and pointed out its age as all competing cards were able to produce frame rates over 130 fps. Now we have a much more up-to-date implementation of the Quake III engine in Return to Castle Wolfenstein. This implementation is definitely much more stressful as we're not able to see the same types of frame rates, although the standings don't change all too much. An interesting note to make is that the 128MB frame buffers of the GeForce4 cards do come in handy when all of the texture quality and detail settings are turned up as it significantly reduces the amount of variation in frame rates.

As usual, we tested with the default high quality settings enabled and simply adjusted the resolution from 1024 x 768 up to 1600 x 1200.

Return to Castle Wolfenstein
atdemo1 - 1024x768x32
NVIDIA GeForce4 Ti 4600

NVIDIA GeForce4 Ti 4400

NVIDIA GeForce3 Ti 500

NVIDIA GeForce3

ATI Radeon 8500

NVIDIA GeForce4 MX 460

NVIDIA GeForce3 Ti 200

ATI Radeon 8500LE

NVIDIA GeForce4 MX 440

NVIDIA GeForce2 Ti 200

150.5

149.6

143.5

139.9

138.4

133.8

133

132.6

116.9

100.8

|
0
|
30
|
60
|
90
|
120
|
151
|
181

Just as was the case with Quake III Arena, initially at 1024 x 768 we don't see much variation between the top few cards. The GeForce4 does not distance itself from the GeForce3 all that much, and the GeForce4 MX performs quite well, even outperforming the GeForce3 Ti 200.

Return to Castle Wolfenstein
atdemo1 - 1280x1024x32
NVIDIA GeForce4 Ti 4600

NVIDIA GeForce4 Ti 4400

NVIDIA GeForce3 Ti 500

NVIDIA GeForce3

ATI Radeon 8500

NVIDIA GeForce4 MX 460

NVIDIA GeForce3 Ti 200

ATI Radeon 8500LE

NVIDIA GeForce4 MX 440

NVIDIA GeForce2 Ti 200

144.7

138

111.5

110.8

107.6

103.7

101.6

96

85.9

66.9

|
0
|
29
|
58
|
87
|
116
|
145
|
174

Increasing the resolution one notch divides the results much quicker than under Quake III Arena, with the two GeForce4 cards separating themselves from the Ti 500 by a good 24 - 29% margin.

The raw memory bandwidth of the GeForce4 MX 460 is what is able to keep it up in performance, just on the heels of the Radeon 8500 and even slightly ahead of the GeForce3 Ti 200. Unlike Serious Sam, the two pixel pipeline limitation of the MX's architecture does not pose a significant setback for the card under RtCW. We musn't forget that the game is still based on the Quake III engine which was released when cards had no more than two rendering pipelines whereas Serious Sam is a much newer engine.

Return to Castle Wolfenstein
atdemo1 - 1600x1200x32
NVIDIA GeForce4 Ti 4600

NVIDIA GeForce4 Ti 4400

NVIDIA GeForce3 Ti 500

NVIDIA GeForce3

ATI Radeon 8500

NVIDIA GeForce4 MX 460

ATI Radeon 8500LE

NVIDIA GeForce3 Ti 200

NVIDIA GeForce4 MX 440

NVIDIA GeForce2 Ti 200

125

112.8

90.6

82.4

79.3

78.8

73.2

73.1

61.6

44.8

|
0
|
25
|
50
|
75
|
100
|
125
|
150

At 1600 x 1200 we once again see the same stellar performance out of the GeForce4 series; the MX 460 continues to do good here as well.

Serious Sam: The Second Encounter Unreal Performance Test 2002 - Build 856
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