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NVIDIA GeForce FX 5950 Ultra Preview - Page 3 Of 8

AQUAMARK3

The commercial version of AquaMark3 has a variety of useful performance and visual tests. For this preview, benchmarks were run at a resolution of 1024x768 with AA and AF disabled and with 4X AA and 8X AF. In addition to an overall average frame rate, the AquaMark3 results also includes the average frame rate from each of the eight sub-tests, or chapters, that measure the performance of a specific graphics feature.

AquaMark3 - 1024x768 - No AA - No AF
Aquamark3 - 1024x768 - No Antialiasing - No Anisotropic Filtering

And at 1024x768 with 4X AA and 8X AF.

AquaMark3 - 1024x768 - 4X AA - 8X AF
Aquamark3 - 1024x768 - 4X Antialiasing - 8X Anisotropic Filtering

In the results with AA and AF disabled, the GeForce FX 5950 exceeded the performance of the Radeon 9800 Pro by 12% in the overall score (46.1 fps vs. 42.1 fps). However, with 4X AA and 8X AF applied, the table turns in favor of the Radeon 9800 Pro as the GeForce FX 5950 Ultra falls behind in overall AquaMark3 performance by 22%.

AM3 Performance Hit - No AA/No AF to 4X AA/8X AF
AquaMark3 Performance Hit - No AA/No AF To 4X AA/8X AF

Note that the Radeon 9800 Pro experienced a 49% hit in performance when moving from no AA and no AF to 4X AA and 8X AF in 3DMark03, while only taking an 18% hit in AquaMark3. The loss in performance on the GeForce FX 5950 Ultra when applying 4X AA and 8X AF was 40% in 3DMark03 and 43% in Aquamark3.

IMAGE QUALITY

Much like 3DMark03, AquaMark3 contains an image capture facility, which was configured to capture an image every 500 frames on the GeForce FX 5950 and the Radeon 9800 Pro while running at 1024x768 with 4X AA and 8X AF. Frames 1000, 1500, and 3500 were selected for this comparison. Again, the size of the comparison images was doubled.

Frame 1000 Images Captured

AquaMark3 Image Capture - Frame 1000
AquaMark3 Image Capture - Frame 1000

Viewing the full size images will reveal a difference in the brightness of the smoke as its rendered on the GeForce FX 5950 and the Radeon 9800 Pro. However, note the banding of colors on the greenish colored platform above and to the right of the smoke as shown below on the GeForce FX 5950 Ultra.

GeForce FX 5950 Ultra                         Radeon 9800 Pro
Frame 1000 Image Differences

Frame 1500 Images Captured

AquaMark3 Image Capture - Frame 1500
AquaMark3 Image Capture - Frame 1500

This comparison below shows an area from the top left of the craft located in the center of the screen. Increasing the gamma of these images made it easier to point out that the edges and textures have a cleaner looking appearance on the Radeon 9800 Pro.

GeForce FX 5950 Ultra                         Radeon 9800 Pro
Frame 1500 Image Differences

Move over about two inches to the left and focus your attention on the textures that make up the rocky hill. The textures are sharp on the GeForce FX5950 Ultra while they are blurry on the Radeon 9800 Pro although this method of comparison doesn't illustrate the difference very well.

I recommend superimposing one image over the other and then switching back and forth between them. This type of comparison can be done with most graphics viewers. Personally, I run two or more instances of Irfanview. One instance shows the image taken from the GeForce FX 5950 Ultra and the other instance shows the image taken from the Radeon 9800 Pro. Irfanview will open new instances of itself in the exact same position as the previous instance. If the images being compared were taken from the exact same position, then switching back and forth between Irfanview instances makes differences very easy to spot.

GeForce FX 5950 Ultra                         Radeon 9800 Pro
Frame 1500 Image Differences

Frame 3500 Images Captured

AquaMark3 Image Capture - Frame 3500
AquaMark3 Image Capture - Frame 3500

The image below shows us an example of the mediocrity of 4X antialiasing on the GeForce FX 5950, although it becomes less noticeable at higher resolutions. Enthusiasts have wanted NVIDIA to deliver higher quality antialiasing ever since the GeForce4 debuted.

GeForce FX 5950 Ultra                         Radeon 9800 Pro
Frame 3500 Image Differences

Unlike 3DMark03, we find that the Radeon 9800 Pro provides better image quality in the AquaMark3 tests.

Next Page: Gameplay Testing - Call of Duty Demo

Last Updated on October 28, 2003


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