|Low Resolution Performance|
Performance results are segregated between low and high resolutions and are based on the standard Quake 3 high quality settings. Another set of benchmarks was conducted with maximum quality settings which includes high geometry and the texture detail at its maximum setting. In both cases, performance with texture compression enabled and disabled was measured.
Using maximum quality settings, with texture compression disabled, provides improved image quality, but places a heavy load on the use of graphics memory. If fact, there are some levels in Quake 3 that experience severe slowdowns with 32MB GeForce based cards using a maximum texture detail setting.
Note that when 16-bit color depth was used, 32-bit texture quality was used. Keep in mind that sound was disabled. Enabling sound results in a performance loss which varies by system. In my case, enabling high quality sound in Quake 3 results in a loss of around 5-8 fps.
Quake 3 High Quality - 640x480 - Demo001
In 16-bit color, the performance of all three GeForce2 based cards is about the same with texture compression enabled and disabled. Even in 32-bit color, the GeForce2 MX only experiences a 5% loss in performance with texture compression disabled.
Quake 3 Max Quality - 640x480 - Demo001
Moving to maximum quality settings shows the performance of the GeForce2 MX beginning to deteriorate due its SDR memory and the increased texture memory associated with maximum texture quality. With texture compression disabled, the GeForce2 MX loses 13% in 32-bit color performance although the frame rate remains over 100fps. For the GeForce2 GTS and Ultra, it's business as usual.
Quake 3 High Quality - 800x600 - Demo001
At a resolution of 800x600 performance of the GeForce2 GTS and Ultra remain solid. The GeForce2 MX has difficulty keeping up - especially with texture compression disabled. However, it does manage a respectable 82.2 fps in 32-bit color and 104.4 fps in 16-bit color.
Quake 3 Max Quality - 800x600 - Demo001
We begin to see a slight degradation in performance of the GeForce2 GTS with texture compression disabled under maximum quality settings. Performance of the GeForce2 MX falls further behind while the Ultra is barely breaking a sweat.
At a resolution of 640x480, the GeForce2 MX is clearly the winner considering its price. Even at 800x600 the MX performs adequately, although the GeForce2 GTS will offer better sustained frame rates under high and maximum quality settings. There's really no need to consider the Ultra when playing Quake 3 at low resolutions.
Next Page: Hi-Res Performance