|ZOTAC GeForce 9800 GTX+ Zone Edition Video Card|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Video Cards|
|Written by Olin Coles|
|Monday, 01 September 2008|
Page 12 of 18
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. Benchmark Reviews uses the Crysis Benchmark Tool by Mad Boris to test frame rates in batches, which allows the results of many tests to be averaged.
The very first thing we discovered in the low-resolution tests was how seemingly poor both of our multi-GPU products performed. The Gigabyte GeForce 9800 GX2 was the lowest of the group at 1280x1024, matched in performance to a single Sapphire Radeon HD 4850 or GeForce 9800 GTX. The CrossFireX set of 4850's suffered the same rapid-response overhead bottleneck and performed almost the same as a single Radeon 4870 or GTX 260. To be fair, none of these video cards will probably ever realistically see game-play at a resolution this low, so this performance illustrates how high-end GPU power can be cut short if the monitor (resolution) doesn't match it.
Low-resolution testing allows the graphics processor to plateau maximum output performance, which thereby shifts demand onto the system components. At the lower resolutions Crysis 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, and is helpful in creating a baseline for measuring maximum output performance in the next few test results. At the 1280x1024 resolution used by 19" monitors, our results show that performance is beginning to really drop despite the small difference is pixels drawn. In terms of general performance, all of these products maintain the same performance ratio as before, except for the 9800 GX2 which seems to beneficially hold its ground.
Up to this point in our review, the GeForce 9800 GTX+ has trailed slightly behind the closest competition: ATI's Radeon HD 4850. Tested in Crysis with no post-processing effects added, these two video cards are neck and neck. Although it's good to know that one matches another, it's not so impressive that a nearly two-year-old GeForce 8800 GT that costs half as much can practically match performance of both the newer and more expensive cards. I've said this before several times, and I will say it again: ZOTAC's GeForce 8800 GT AMP! Edition video card is a budget beast!
Reading the test results at 1920x1200 resolution using SOYO's DYLM26E6 monitor for testing, Crysis forced 2.3 million pixels to be processed by our graphical test products. For our widescreen users, these benchmarks below indicate that the NVIDIA GeForce 9800 GTX+ is practically the same as an ATI Radeon HD 4850; likewise the Radeon HD 4870 matches the performance of NVIDIA's GeForce GTX 260 video card, although the 4870 stops delivering post-processing effects at 8x AA and the GTX 260 can reach 32x AA (if the application supports it). Before we leave Crysis though, I decided to include a look at post-processing performance with 4x AA enabled at the 1680x1050 and 1920x1200 widescreen resolutions. The chart below shows the average frame rate performance with 4x Anti-Aliasing enabled.
At 1680x1050, the Radeon HD 4870 is no match for the GeForce GTX 260 it's outpaced thus far. Additionally, the AMP!ed GeForce 8800 GT crawls right up to the 9800 GTX+ which trails directly behind the slightly overclocked Sapphire Radeon HD 4850. But once the Honeywell 22-Inch LCD was swapped out for something with higher resolutions, I began testing at 1920x1200 and the differences were made very clear.
At 1920x1200 the G92 graphics processor falls flat on its face. At a lowly 13 FPS, the ZOTAC GeForce 9800 GTX+ ZONE Edition video card delivers performance far from playable. The Radeon HD 4850, while managing to the nearly double the performance with 20 FPS, still isn't anything to get excited about. Finally, at the high-end portion of our chart the Radeon HD 4870 delivers a decent 25 FPS while the GTX 260 delivers 31 FPS.
With only a small dose of anti-aliasing added to Crysis, only the GTX 260 came close to playable frame rates. Our Island timedemo mixes a some beach and water views so it's going to be on the high side of frame rates when compared to actual game play, but as you can see the Radeon products do very well when post-processing effects are added. Sapphire's hot-potato HD 4870 defended ATI's name as best as it could, but didn't fail nearly as bad as G92 GPU-based video cards. NVIDIA's G92-based GeForce 8800 GT and new 9800 GTX+ really stand out like a sore thumbs against the newer graphics processors, which yield far better frame rates in our Crysis testing.
In our next section, Benchmark Reviews tests with Unreal Tournament 3. Read on to see how a blended high-demand GPU test with low video frame buffer demand will impact our test products.