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Multi-GPU World Tour 2006 - Uncommon Benchmarks - Page 1 of 9

INTRODUCTION

Welcome to one of the three uncommon benchmark reports from the Multi-GPU World Tour 2006. Our assignment for this project was to evaluate gameplay performance on six different systems that were assembled from scratch. It was a daunting task and we appreciate the support of the manufacturer's who contributed to our cause.

The following web sites were part of this massive effort and are to be commended for their hard work.

The six systems were based on one of two competing platforms that feature multi-GPU (Graphics Processing Unit) technology - ATI CrossFire and NVIDIA SLI. As explained in the introduction, systems were tied to a price point and consisted of hardware specific to each platform.

Platforms Compared
Newegg and ZipZoomfly are having a blowout sale on
AMD's Athlon 64 X2 3800+ and Athlon 64 X2 4400+ processors!

The games we tested were categorized as "uncommon benchmarks" since they are rarely used for benchmarking purposes. While the games do not have an in-game benchmarking feature, we have conducted numerous gameplay walkthroughs with them before.

Two of the games were released in 2002 and lend themselves to being useful for compatibility testing. ATI and NVIDIA perform extensive regression testing to ensure that updated drivers continue to work with all of the supported hardware. Even so, bugs still slip through the cracks.

THE GAMES

Morrowind

Morrowind debuted in 2002 and was developed by Bethesda Softworks. Morrowind was one of the first titles to implement pixel shader programs, which helped produce its impressive looking water effects. High-end systems back then had difficulty keeping up with the demands of the graphics engine. Some believed that its back-to-front rendering technique prevented the game from taking advantage of hardware-assisted occlusion culling.

Morrowind
Click Image to Enlarge - 1024x768 (247KB)

Brothers in Arms

Brothers in Arms: Road to Hill 30 was developed by Gearbox software using a modified version of Unreal Engine 2. The World War 2 squad-based tactical shooter was released in 2005 and features a form of High-Dynamic Range (HDR) that resembles a soft lighting bloom effect. The storyline is exceptional and is based on the 502nd Parachute Infantry Regiment who dropped behind German lines during the Battle of Normandy.

Brothers In Arms
Click Image to Enlarge - 1024x768 (176KB)

Neverwinter Nights

Neverwinter Nights debuted in 2002 and was developed by BioWare. The Shadows of Undrentide and Hordes of the Underdark expansion packs were released in 2003 and the revenue from premium modules is used to support the community and provide ongoing updates. Neverwinter Nights is based on the Aurora 3D Rendering Engine, which was written in-house using the OpenGL API (Application Programming Interface).

Neverwinter Nights
Click Image to Enlarge - 1024x768 (291KB)

Painkiller

Developed by the Polish game studio People Can Fly, Painkiller was designed to duplicate the old-school first-person shooter style of gameplay found in titles such as Doom, Quake, and Serious Sam. Painkiller was released in early 2004 and the Battle Out of Hell expansion pack came out that November. Painkiller features beautifully rendered levels, unique enemies and weaponry, gigantic level bosses, and was used by the Cyberathlete Professional League for their official 2005 World Tour game.

Painkiller
Click Image to Enlarge - 1024x768 (273KB)

Dungeon Siege 2 Demo

Dungeon Siege 2 was developed by Gas Powered Games and debuted in August of 2005. Dungeon Siege 2 is an action role-playing game (RPG) with gameplay elements that are similar to the hack-and-slash style made famous by Diablo. The effects system was completely re-written to use pixel shader and vertex shader 2.0 and detailed textures were used to give the graphics a crisp look. The demo includes the latest patch that brings the retail game up to version 2.2.

Dungeon Siege 2
Click Image to Enlarge - 1024x768 (393KB)

Next Page: System Specifications

Last Updated on July 30, 2006


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