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NVIDIA GeForce FX 5900 Ultra (NV35) Preview - Page 2 of 2

GAME PLAY TESTING

A time consuming part of this preview was spent on measuring performance during game play. Using FRAPS to record average and minimum frame rates, I played a variety of games that included first person shooters, flight and race sims, and role playing titles. Most of the testing involved playing in three to five minute sessions with various high quality graphics settings enabled in order to get a "feel" for the performance of the GeForce FX 5900 Ultra.

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Although game play results are not as accurate as playing back a fixed-path benchmark, I've invested a great deal of time repeating game play scenarios in order to increase their accuracy during subsequent runs. There are times when a game play scenario can't be repeated, such as a bot match in Quake or Unreal Tournament. But results from subsequent matches should be close to those obtained from the initial match when the same graphics settings are used. While variations in performance will occur, they tend to have a greater impact on the minimum frame rate. I am confident that these results will be representative of the performance one would obtain with a GeForce FX 5900 Ultra on a similarly configured system.

Unfortunately, due to time constraints, I was unable to provide comments on game play results. However, with the GeForce FX 5900 Ultra, 4X antialiasing and 8X anisotropic filtering can be enabled at 1024x768 or higher in all of the games I tested and a fluid frame rate obtained.

Finally, game play testing can reveal issues that can be system, driver, or hardware related. With the exception of antialiasing not functioning in Age of Mythology and Morrowind, the GeForce FX 5900 Ultra was rock solid.

Games Tested

  • Age Of Mythology - v1.05
  • Dungeon Siege - v1.11
  • Enclave Demo
  • IL2-Sturmovik - v1.2
  • Morrowind - v1.2.0722
  • Need For Speed 2 Hot Pursuit Demo
  • Quake 3 Arena - v1.30
  • Raven Shield Single Player Demo - v1.0
  • Return To Castle Wolfenstein Single Player Demo - v1.0.1
  • Star Trek Elite Force 2 Single Player Demo - v1.0
  • Unreal Tournament 2003 Demo - v2206
  • Unreal 2 The Awakening Demo - v.1000
  • Warcraft 3 - v1.05

Age of Mythology - v1.05

Age of Mythology

Age of Mythology Game Play Results

Age of Mythology Game Play Results

Dungeon Siege - v1.11

  • Played 3 minutes into the first level.


  • Direct3D, All Complex Shadows, Trilinear Texture Filtering, Maximum Object Detail.


  • EAX Enabled Sound.

Dungeon Siege

Dungeon Siege Game Play Results

Dungeon Siege Game Play Results

Enclave Demo

  • Played 4 minutes into the first level.


  • Direct3D, Light Campaign, Decals On, All Quality Shadows, Maximum Character LOD, Maximum Curved Surfaces LOD, Complex Surfaces On, Maximum World Textures, Maximum Character Textures, Blood On, Damage Indicator On, In-Game Anisotropic Filtering.


  • 3D Sound On.

Enclave

Enclave Game Play Results

Enclave Game Play Results

IL2-Sturmovik - v1.2

IL-2 Sturmovik

IL-2 Sturmovik Game Play Results

IL-2 Sturmovik Game Play Results

Morrowind - v1.2.0722

  • Walkthrough the town of Seyda Neen.


  • Direct3D, 25% AI Distance, 75% View Distance, Real-Time Shadows Disabled.


  • Hardware Sound

Morrowind

Morrowind Game Play Results

Morrowind Game Play Results

Need For Speed 2 Hot Pursuit Demo

  • One lap around the Calypso Coast track.


  • Direct3D, Maximum Settings For Car Detail, Special Effects, World Detail.


  • Direct3D / EAX Audio.

Need For Speed 2

Need For Speed 2 Hot Pursuit Game Play Results

Need For Speed 2 Hot Pursuit Game Play Results

Quake 3 Arena - v1.30

  • Played against six bots on Q3DM1.


  • OpenGL, High Quality, Maximum Geometry, Maximum Texture Detail.


  • High Quality Sound.

Quake 3

Quake 3 Game Play Results

Quake 3 Game Play Results

Raven Shield Single Player Demo - v1.0

  • Played 4 minutes into the first level.


  • Direct3D, All Graphics Settings on High including Rainbow, Hostage, and Terrorist Shadows.


  • High Quality Sound, 3D Audio, EAX.

Raven Shield

Raven Shield Game Play Results

Raven Shield Game Play Results

Return To Castle Wolfenstein Single Player Demo - v1.0.1

  • Played 4 minutes into the first level.


  • OpenGL, High Quality, Lightmap Lighting, High Geometric Detail, Extra Character Textures, Trilinear Texture Filtering, Compressed Textures, NVIDIA Distance Fog.


  • Sound Quality 22KHz.

Return To Castle Wolfenstein

RTCW Single Player Game Play Results

Return To Castle Wolfenstein Game Play Results

Star Trek Elite Force 2 Single Player Demo - v1.0

  • Eliminated all the aliens, which takes around 2 minutes, from the Attrexian Station hangar.


  • OpenGL, High Texture Quality, Trilinear Texture Filtering, Anisotropic Filtering, Simple Lighting Distance Close, Simple Shadows, Precise Flares, Dynamic Lightmaps, Close Entity Fade Distance, High Special Effects Detail, High Subdivisions, High Curve Error, Near Level of Detail Distance, Deform Geometry, Detail Surfaces, Detailed Textures, Multitexture, Wall Decals.


  • Sound Quality 44KHz, EAX2.

Star Trek Elite Force 2

Star Trek Elite Force 2 Single Player Game Play Results

Star Trek Elite Force 2 Single Player Game Play Results

Unreal Tournament 2003 Demo - v2206

  • Played against six skilled bots on DM-Antalus.


  • Direct3D, Normal Texture Detail, Highest World Detail, Normal Character Detail, Normal Physics Detail, Character Shadows On, Trilinear Texture Filtering.


  • Hardware 3D Audio, All Voices / Announcements.

Unreal Tournament 2003

Unreal Tournament 2003 Game Play Results

Unreal Tournament 2003 Game Play Results

Warcraft 3 - v1.05

  • Played back two minutes, starting at the 12 minute mark, from a one-on-one match on the Lost Temple map at normal speed with sound enabled.


  • Direct3D, High Model Detail, High Animation Quality, High Texture Quality, High Particles, High Lights, Unit Shadows On, Occlusion On.


  • Dolby Surround Sound, Environmental Effects, 3D Positional Audio, Ambient Sounds, Unit Responses, Movement Sounds.

Warcraft 3

Warcraft 3 Game Play Results

Warcraft 3 Game Play Results

CONCLUSION

The icing on the cake was served up Saturday night when I downloaded and played the demo of Unreal 2 The Awakening. With just about every graphics option set to high, including master shadow detail, I played through the first level with the room lights off and headphone volume cranked up.

Click to Enlarge - 1MB

Click to Enlarge - 1MB

With the combination of high quality textures and real-time shadows, the graphics in Unreal 2 are splendid. The style of game play reminds me of Aliens vs. Predator where you never know what's around the corner or on top of a building. Upon completing the demo, the internal frame rate counter registered an average of 61 frames per second. The graphics settings I had enabled were 4X antialiasing and 8X anisotropic filtering at a resolution of 1024x768.

Click to Enlarge - 1MB

Click to Enlarge - 1MB

While the Unreal 2 screenshots I provided are high quality PNG format, they don't represent the excellent image quality you can achieve with the NV35. Frankly, I find the continued bickering from comparing image quality from one graphics card to another amusing. While one might be able to spot marginal differences when viewing static images, it's a different story when comparing images that are being rendered at 30 or more frames per second.

As for NVIDIA, the NV35 puts the company firmly back as a major player in the high-end graphics market. The GeForce FX 5900 Ultra with 256MB of RAM will have a suggested retail price of $499 and will be available toward the end of June. Follow-on products will include the GeForce FX 5900 with 128MB of RAM at $399 and the 128MB GeForce FX 5800 at $299.

Be sure to check out volt's supplementary article on the NV35.

UPDATES

May 18, 2003 - Added game play results from the Star Trek Elite Force 2 single player demo, which is based on the Quake 3 graphics engine.

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Last Updated on September 27, 2009

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