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HIS Excalibur 9550 VIVO HIS Excalibur 9550 VIVO: We take a look at a budget card based that is a good choice for casual gamers, and features VIVO as well.
Date: July 16, 2004
Manufacturer:
Written By:
Price:

Need for Speed: Underground

NFS: Underground provides a lot of night time scenery with particle effects from DX9, and makes a nice change from the usual shoot em ups we test with. All settings were set to highest although "light trails"were left off.

1024x768

No AA/AF
2xAA/8xAF
4xAA/8xAF
HIS 9550 ViVo
36.92
23.60
12.55
MSI 5950 Ultra
47.74
45.84
37.15

1200x1024

No AA/AF
2xAA/8xAF
4xAA/8xAF
HIS 9550 ViVo
27.93
15.55
8.5
MSI 5950 Ultra
46.11
41.60
35.50

NFS Underground is very playable on the 9550, although you will likely want to tweak the game settings from highest to around the mid range area. Doing this should net you enough performance to apply 2xFSAA, at 1024x768 and still have acceptable frame rates.

Call of Duty

The latest WWII shooter uses a heavily modified Quake 3 engine. We ran the benchmark using our own custom timedemo of myself, Brook and a few others trying to kill each other.

1024x768

No AA/AF
2xAA/8xAF
4xAA/8xAF
HIS 9550 ViVo
69.6
29.4
25.7
MSI 5950 Ultra
75.0
58.5
55.5

1200x1024

No AA/AF
2xAA/8xAF
4xAA/8xAF
HIS 9550 ViVo
50.0
20.1
17.6
MSI 5950 Ultra
62.7
37.8
36.7


Without graphic enhancements, Call of Duty runs fine although the single player map of Berlin will no doubt bring the frames down. Since the 9550 isn't designed to be a hardcore gamers card, the results produced thus far have been pretty good, but let's look at a few games that won't tax a graphics card as much.

Return to Castle Wolfenstein

Based on the Quake 3 engine (although modified) this might seem to be a strange test of a graphics card in this day and age, but considering the 9550's lower performance capabilities I thought it might be nice to include some easier going games.

1024x768

No AA/AF
2xAA/8xAF
4xAA/8xAF
HIS 9550 ViVo
132.8
128.3
119.2
MSI 5950 Ultra
140.7
136.8
128.7

1200x1024

No AA/AF
2xAA/8xAF
4xAA/8xAF
HIS 9550 ViVo
94.4
58.9
46.9
MSI 5950 Ultra
126.4
123.0
104.2

If RtCW is your staple gaming diet and you are looking for a cheap upgrade then the 9550 is a good buy and should be on your list. 3 figure numbers that are not that far behind the 5950 Ultra can be had easily enough at 1024x768 and even the 1200x1024 numbers are very good.

Serious Sam Second Edition

Another game that won't overly tax a card is Serious Sam Second Edition, tested here in the OpenGL flavour.

1024x768

No AA/AF
2xAA/8xAF
4xAA/8xAF
HIS 9550 ViVo
65.6
55.3
47.6
MSI 5950 Ultra
124.1
120.2
115.7

1200x1024

No AA/AF
2xAA/8xAF
4xAA/8xAF
HIS 9550 ViVo
44.9
37.4
31.8
MSI 5950 Ultra
119.1
100.0
90.8

Serious Sam SE is probably just about on the cusp of acceptable FPS across the board, but again we have used high quality settings throughout, and a lot can be tweaked in game. The demo used is also pretty intense so you'll find that the 9550 runs Serious Sam SE perfectly well for the majority of the game.

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