|ZOTAC GeForce 9800 GTX+ Zone Edition Video Card|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Video Cards|
|Written by Olin Coles|
|Monday, 01 September 2008|
Page 11 of 18
Call of Duty 4 Benchmarks
Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare runs on a proprietary game engine that Infinity Ward based off of the tried-and-true Q3 structure. This engine offers features such as true world-dynamic lighting, HDR lighting effects, dynamic shadows and depth of field. "Bullet Penetration" is calculated by the Infinity Ward COD4 game engine, taking into account things such as surface type and entity thickness. Certain objects, such as cars, and some buildings are destructible. This makes distinguishing cover from concealment important, as the meager protection provided by things such as wooden fences and thin walls does not fully shield players from harm as it does in many other games released during the same time period. Bullet speed and stopping power are decreased after penetrating an object, and this decrease is calculated realistically depending on the thickness and surface of the object penetrated.
This version of the game also makes use of a dynamic physics engine, a feature which was not implemented in previous Call of Duty titles for Windows PC's. The new in-game death animations are a combination of pre-set static animations combined with ragdoll physics. Infinity Ward's use of the well-debugged Quake 3 engine along with new dynamic physics implementation allows Call of Duty 4 to be playable by a wide range of computer hardware systems. The performance may be scaled for low-end graphic cards up to 4x Anti-Aliasing and 16x Tri-linear anisotropic texture filtering.
Before I discuss the results, I would like to take a moment to mention my general opinion on Fraps software when it comes to game performance benchmarking. If you're not familiar with the software, Fraps (derived from Frames per second) is a benchmarking, screen capture, and real-time video capture utility for DirectX and OpenGL applications. Some reviewers use this software to measure video game performance on their Windows system, as well as record gaming footage. My opinion is that it offers a valid third-party non-bias alternative to in-game benchmarking tools; but there is one caveat: it's not perfect. Because the user must manually begin the test, the starting point may vary from position to position and therefore skew the results.
In my testing with Fraps v2.9.4 build 7039, I used the cut-scene intro to the coup d'état scene when Al Asad takes over control. First I allowed the level to load and let the scene begin for a few moments, then I would use the escape key to bring up the menu and choose the restart level option, I would immediately press F11 to begin recording the benchmark data. This scene is nearly four minutes long, but I configured Fraps to record the first 180 seconds of it to remain consistent. Once the scene would end, I would repeat the restart process for a total of five tests. So within a 2 millisecond starting point margin, all benchmark results are comparable which is probably as good as it can possibly get with this tool.
In our frame rate results, all five of the test scores collected were within 0.5 FPS of one-another. The average of the results were rounded to the nearest whole number for the chart you see above. Call of Duty 4 showed some small degree of difference in graphics performance at the lower resolution of 1280x1024, but it tapered out thereafter for both the 1680x1050 and 1920x1200 resolutions.
When the frame rate results are reviewed under close inspection, one of the most popular games of 2008 indicates that an overclocked GeForce 8800 GT is really not much different than the newest 9800 GTX that costs twice as much. Even when you compare the results of the Radeon HD 4850 which cost roughly the same, there isn't a compelling argument for the GTX+ series. Possibly making matters appear even more bleak for NIVIDIA is the Radeon HD 4870 that matches performance of the slightly more expensive XFX GeForce GTX 260.
Call of Duty 4 put a reasonable amount of strain on the ZOTAC GeForce 9800 GTX+ ZONE Edition graphics card, and just because its a high-end card that appears to position itself at the low-end of our chart doesn't mean it didn't perform well for during our tests. Since the maximum anti-aliasing available in COD4 is 4x, there won't be any problem with the GeForce 9800 GTX+ playing this popular video game.
In our next section, we shall see if the performance-demanding video game Crysis will help NVIDIA prove the 9800 GTX+ is worth your consideration.