|Palit GeForce 9800 GT Super+ 1GB Video Card|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Video Cards|
|Written by Ronald Tibbetts and Olin Coles|
|Monday, 13 October 2008|
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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 past few tests we've seen the pecking order remain fairly consistent. The Palit 9600 GT Sonic Edition begins the list, followed by the Palit GeForce 9800 GT Super+ 1GB, then the Foxconn 9800 GTX OC, followed by the Radeon HD 4850, and finally the Radeon HD 4870. The 9800 GT has held a consistent lead over the 9600 GT, and likewise it has trailed the GeForce 9800 GTX and Radeon HD 4850 in our tests.
For Call of Duty 4 tested at 1920x1200, the Palit Super+ 9800 GT does well enough to keep way ahead of the 9600 GT with a frame rate of 52.0 but still far enough behind the 9800 GTX which scored 63.7 FPS. Since performance has remained identical in each game we've tested, our decision will ultimately be decided by price.