Doom 3: OpenGL 2.0
Doom 3 is probably one of the most if not the most anticipated game of the year. This game is loaded with eye candy and lavishly styled in a "H.K. Geigeresque" dark world. It features tons of new technology mostly in form of lighting. This game almost seems as though it has two purposes, to be the most gorgeous game to date, and to bring the most updated of hardware to its knees.
What I did for this test was simply run the timedemo demo1 three times in order to get an accurate measurement. The first one was thrown away and the second two are averaged out. The FPS was then recorded in Fraps and then I graphed it frame by frame to get an accurate measurement of the benchmark.
As you can see there is a lot of play below the 30fps marks on this graph, but I am not entirely sure how accurate the timedemo really is, because with this hardware setup, I was playing Doom 3 comfortably at 1600x1200 while maintaining around 30-45fps. However this benchmark does tell me something interesting. By looking at the average FPS scaling down as it does even at the different AntiAliasing settings, it is apparent that my CPU is a bottleneck when playing this game.
The overclocking increased performance as expected, and I also tried tweaking and creating an autoexec.cfg to see if there was a tangible speed difference. The overclocked settings do not use the autoexec.cfg settings.
These were the settings used in the autoexec.cfg configs:
set com_videoRam "256"
set image_downSizeBumpLimit "1024"
set image_downSizeBump "1"
set image_downSizeLimit "1024"
set image_downSize "1"
set image_useCache "1"
set image_cacheMegs "256"
set image_cacheMinK "10240"
set r_displayRefresh "85"
set com_allowConsole "1"
You can read all about console tweaking in our Doom 3 guide.
Once again it is apparent that my CPU is holding back the power of this video card, however it is quite apparent that it can perform very well. The use of the autoexec.cfg didn't seem to have any real tangible difference on my system. Of course for some it does wonders. As I don't know exactly all the effects of the commands it is only speculation why it works on some systems more than others. My basic understanding suggests that it should have the greatest effect on computers with less ram or older video cards.
At any rate this card performed very well with Doom 3, although NVIDIA hardware performs much better at OpenGL, but saying as such doesn't mean this card is any slouch. As I stated earlier I had no real problems with running the game at 1600x1200 with no AA and everything turned up. When playing multiplayer over LAN I did prefer to lower the settings to 1024x768 with 2xFSAA which also gave a very pleasant experience.
The card was more than capable of rending all of the pretty cinematic like imagery very well and it was a pleasure to play Doom 3 on this card as you can see in this screenshot.
FarCry 1.1: Direct X 9.0
FarCry is also a very new intense game featuring the Cry engine. Unlike Doom 3 which is mostly indoors and a claustrophobic environment, FarCry is outdoors and a lush tropical landscape. For the test I did run-throughs of the "Fort" level and monitored the game in Fraps to record the FPS. Because this isn't a time demo that means that each play-through was different and not 100% precise. However I did make sure I did go through the same routines each time through. I killed every enemy, had 2 scoping sections and used the rocket launcher to down a couple aircraft in the later portion of the level. Also I used the space bar to skip in game movies.
Once again notice that the scaling shows that my CPU is a limitation. However the average in game play was comfortably over 30 for all 3 settings of play. There were a few lag spikes that were put in there, but nothing that I would say detracted from playability of the game. Overall I was impressed how fast I could play the game with all settings on without having to worry about the card crapping out on me.
Overclocking pushed the averages from the 30s to the low 40s. This of course made a dramatic change in game play and helped out quite a bit. Here's a screenshot on the beach.