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Reviews - Featured Reviews: Video Cards
Written by Olin Coles   
Monday, 02 June 2008
Table of Contents: Page Index
Foxconn GeForce 9800 GTX OC 512MB Video Card
GeForce 9800 GTX Features
NVIDIA Hybrid Technology
9800GTX-512N Specifications
GeForce 9800 GTX Closer Look
Foxconn 9800 GTX Detailed Features
Video Card Testing Methodology
3DMark06 Benchmarks
Crysis Benchmarks
Lightsmark Frame Rates
SupComm: Forged Alliance Results
World in Conflict Benchmarks
Foxware Overclocking Utility
9800 GTX Power and Temps
GeForce 9800 GTX Final Thoughts
Foxconn 9800GTX-512N Conclusion

Supreme Commander: Forged Alliance Results

Supreme Commander: Forged Alliance is a standalone real-time strategy computer game expansion to Supreme Commander, developed by Gas Powered Games and published by THQ. Because it is a standalone expansion, it is possible to play without owning Supreme Commander. Forged Alliance adds new game play features to the game, several new units for the three preexisting factions, and is further optimized for increased performance beyond that of the original game.

Supreme Commander makes extensive use of two technologies relatively unused in video games prior to its release, namely multi core processing and multi monitor displays. When detecting a multi-core processor, the game assigns a specific task, such as AI calculations, to each core, splitting the load between them. Supreme Commander is one of the first games to specifically support dual and quad core processors in the game.

In the chart depicted below, Supreme Commander calculates a SupComMark score for the video rendering. The exact formula is a mystery, and since the scores are all comprised of very high numbers the information begins to look very similar. Despite this, there are some differences worth noticing if you pay attention to the numbers. I could have probably subtracted about 7000 points from this test, so that the chart would look more useful, but then I would probably get complaints about the inaccurate scores. At any rate, the lowest man in the test group is none other than our featured product. This puts a strain on my ability to recommend this product, but it could still be too early to tell.

SupCom_Mark_1600x1200.jpg

Unlike the other games we test, Supreme Commander: Forged Alliance does not use a short in-game benchmark to determine a score. In these tests, Supreme Commander plays an entire round of the game from start to finish and generates composite scores based on this lengthy test. This composite score is based on two factors: sim and render.

Supreme Commander: Forged Alliance may not offer the first-person shooter experience that many gamers prefer, but the graphics are among the most demanding possible because of the large world-scape. Even so, there begins to be a trend showing that places high demand on the graphics card, as evidenced by mutually low average frame rates shown below.

SupCom_FPS_1600x1200.jpg

Once the average frame rate scores were calculated, there seemed to be three distinct levels of performance, as shown in the chart above. The Palit GeForce 9600 GT 1GB Sonic represented the mid-level graphic card, while the nearest-neighbor AMP!'ed 8800 GT rubbed elbows with the 8800 GTX and both overclocked 9800 GTX's. In fact, the old MSI GeForce 8800 GTX OC NX8800GTX-T2D768E-HD actually matched performance of the FOXCONN GeForce 9800 GTX Standard OC Edition 9800GTX-512N in Supreme Commander. At the very top of the food-chain was the only real stand-out: the Gigabyte GeForce 9800 GX2 GV-NX98X1GHI-B, which rendered the majority of frames much faster than the others.

Supreme Commander proved to be a harsh gaming engine for video cards, and Crysis certainly applied some heavy pressure, but let's see how World in Conflict holds up against our performance testing in the next section.



 

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