|Sapphire Radeon HD 4870 Toxic Video Card|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Video Cards|
|Written by Olin Coles|
|Monday, 29 September 2008|
Page 9 of 13
Unreal Tournament 3
Unreal Tournament 3 (UT3) is a first-person shooter and online multiplayer video game by Epic Games and is the next installment of the Unreal series after Unreal Tournament 2004. It is published by Midway Games and was released in North America for Windows on November 19, 2007.
Unreal Tournament 3 is actually the fourth game in the Unreal Tournament series and the eighth Unreal game, but it has been numbered in terms of the engine it runs on. UT3 is subsequently part of the third generation, because it runs on the Unreal Engine 3, and does not reuse any content from previous versions.
Since Unreal Tournament 3 was designed as a DirectX 9 video game with no current support expected for DirectX 10, we use Windows XP Pro (Service Pack 3) for our benchmark testing. After completing tests on a wide range of products with settings at their highest, it appeared that Unreal Tournament 3 really didn't stress the video cards nearly as much as I would have liked.
Beginning at the low resolution of 1280x1024, the benchmark scores are so close (and suspiciously high) for our collection of products that it might be time to eliminate this game from our testing process. Nevertheless, it looks like the Unreal Engine 3 game engine doesn't care too much for the ATI Radeon HD 4850 or 4870 video cards. Even the CrossFireX set was just barely able to keep pace with the others that it surpassed in previous tests. With all High Quality settings and tweaks enabled along with 16x anisotropic filtering, Unreal Tournament 3 doesn't add strain to any of the graphics cards tested like Crysis did.
As the resolution was raised, the GeForce 9800 GTX+ eventually leveled out between the Radeon HD 4850 and 4870 Toxic, which is really where the 55nm G92 product belongs for a low-demand game such as this one. The ZOTAC GeForce GTX 280 AMP! Edition loses just a single frame per second (0.6%) between 1280x1024 and 1680x1050, and the Sapphire Radeon 4850 drops only 6%. For now it appears that just about any graphics card can play Unreal Tournament 3 without issue, but quite frankly I don't know anyone who actually plays this game.
When I tested the Honeywell HWLM2216 recently, I noticed how the 1680x1050 widescreen display resolution of this 22" LCD monitor offered very little strain over a 19" standard display LCD monitor. Comparatively, 1680x1050 produces 1.76 MP and 1280x1024 produces 1.31, so there's only a very small difference expected between performance levels. The biggest difference is in the user experience, because the widescreen monitor comes in very handy for watching multimedia video or playing large world-scape video games.
At 1680x1050 resolution, the differences were beginning to show, but only 1920x1200 will be useful for illustrating how each product performs. Producing 2.3 MP with a 1920x1280 resolution on our 26" SOYO DYLM26E6 test monitor, each product is now separated far enough apart to sort out the winners and losers. The Sapphire Radeon HD 4850 still trails behind the GeForce 9800 GTX+ by 6 FPS, but put another 4850 together for a CrossFireX set and they lead by 28 FPS. The Sapphire Radeon HD 4870 Toxic enjoys a 13 FPS lead over that same GeForce 9800 GTX+, but the GeForce GTX 260 beats the 4870 and both CrossFireX 4850's by 21 FPS and 6 FPS respectively. When everything was said and done, the overclocked ZOTAC GTX 280 AMP! Edition video card once again topped the other product, producing a 38 FPS lead over the Toxic Edition video card.
Unreal Tournament 3 appears to provide a very minimal load on the high-end video cards we're testing. Thankfully there are several new games arriving to market late into 2008, so with some luck this benchmark will only be used for low-end graphics comparison into the future.
Our last benchmark of the article is coming next, which puts our collection of video cards against some very demanding graphics.