|Palit GeForce 9600 GT 1GB Sonic NE/960TSX0202|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Video Cards|
|Written by Olin Coles|
|Saturday, 31 May 2008|
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Crysis Benchmark Results
Crysis uses a new graphics engine: the CryENGINE2, which is the successor to Far Cry's CryENGINE. CryENGINE2 is among the first engines to use the Direct3D 10 (DirectX10) framework of Windows Vista, but can also run using DirectX9, both on Vista and Windows XP.
Roy Taylor, Vice President of Content Relations at NVIDIA, has spoken on the subject of the engine's complexity, stating that Crysis has over a million lines of code, 1GB of texture data, and 85,000 shaders. To get the most out of modern multicore processor architectures, CPU intensive subsystems of CryENGINE 2 such as physics, networking and sound, have been re-written to support multi-threading.
Crysis offers an in-game benchmark tool, which is similar to World in Conflict. This short test does place some high amounts of stress on a graphics card, since there are so many landscape features rendered. For benchmarking purposes, Crysis can mean trouble as it places a high demand on both GPU and CPU resources.
Low-resolution testing allows the graphics processor to plateau maximum output performance, which thereby shifts demand onto the system components. At the lower resolutions 3DMark will reflect the GPU's top-end speed in the composite score, indicating full-throttle performance with little load. This makes for a less GPU-dependant test environment, is helpful in measuring the maximum output performance in the test results.
Even without Anti-Aliasing turned on, Crysis keeps the top four competitors around 60 FPS. It's clear that the CryENGINE2 is a heavy hitter, as the insanely overclocked ZOTAC 8800 GT AMP! Edition outperforms the GeForce 8800 GTS 640MB by over 26% and the 8800 GTX by almost 3%. But without a real strain on the GPU, these products all compare relatively well across the field (except for the 8800 GTS 640 MB, which looks to be a sinking ship despite some outrageous overclocking).
With a full gigabyte of vRAM available to its frame buffer, the Palit 9600 GT Sonic should show some improvement as the demands increase. What comes as a surprise to me is how the single (overclocked) G92 9800 GTX was able to outperform the two G92 GPU's inside the GeForce 9800 GX2, which did not shine so bright in this low-resolution test.
At the 1280x1024 resolution which mirrors what gamers using a 19" LCD monitor would experience, the results are still excellent yet begin to near the 30 FPS threshold for acceptable performance. The aging G80-based GeForce 8800 GTS unit takes a pretty heavy hit, and drops below all other products tested. In terms of general performance, all of these products maintain the same performance ratio as before.
While 3dMark06 showed the 9600 GT to be superior to the 8800 GS, they look a lot more even in Crysis. Additionally, the ZOTAC 8800 GT AMP! Edition video card is running with the most expensive products available in this test, although nowhere near the performance of the 9800 GX2 which is beginning to pull away from the pack with more than a 22% lead.
Thanks to the AA optimizations in the G90-series GPU, all of the products based on this chip with easily outperform both of the older G80 GPU's by a significant margin as the resolution is raised and bandwidth demands are increased. It's obvious that the new 65nm G90 core architecture is to be credited, and perhaps the new PCI Express 2.0 interface which allows twice as much graphics data bandwidth also played its part. Either way, our benchmarks below certainly indicate that the older technology doesn't even come close to the level of performance in a high-pressure Crysis regardless of clock speeds or vRAM.
Surprisingly, the three GeForce 8800 series products maintained a rather constant performance ratio between one-another throughout the Crysis benchmark tests. While the overclocked ZOTAC GeForce 9800 AMP! Edition clearly outperformed the AMP!'ed 8800 GT by nearly 14 frames per second on average, the Palit GeForce 9600 GT actually improved as the demand increased. At the end of our Crysis testing, the 1GB of video frame buffer didn't seem to make a serious argument for the Palit product as it performed nearly the same as the 8800 GS it walked over previously, and the ZOTAC 8800 GT AMP! Edition which walked over it was humbled.
In our next section, Benchmark Reviews switches to video-output only benchmarking, and uses Lightsmark for an apples-to-apples comparison of performance.