Anyone remember X-Isle:
Dinosaur Island? Well, the company behind that (Crytek
Studios) is who we all now know as the developer of Far Cry. As
mentioned in my test configuration on the first page, I ran all tests with Far
Cry patched with the elusive 1.2 patch. The scope of this review doesn't involve
comparing against the 1.1 patch so you'll not see that here. There are likely
volumes of information, debates and articles revolving around the Far Cry 1.2
patch. Again, this review is not focusing on the patch itself but
you're only a Google away if you so desire.
Then...X-Isle: Dinosaur Island
And Now...Far Cry
First, a few important notes regarding how I benchmarked
Far Cry version 1.2 with Shader Model (SM) 3.0
support was used for all tests.
The ATI X800XT PE was always tested at its default
The 6800 Ultra OC was tested at both its default and
overclocked clock/memory speeds.
As the ATI X800XT PE is not capable of SM3.0 support,
the 6800 Ultra OC was tested with both the SM2.0 and SM3.0 path. This was
done via the following console command:
\r_SM30PATH [0,1] where 0=off
(SM2.0) and 1=on (SM3.0). This was actually never issued "in game", rather,
it was as a command line argument:
FarCry.exe –DEVMODE "r_SM30PATH=1"
Further, the command line actually had a few more
Bin32\FarCry.exe -DEVMODE "#demo_num_runs=2"
research" "demo mydemo"
It should be noted that
zero-based, so the value of 2 above actually indicates that the
timedemo looped three times. I disregarded the first run as the Far Cry
DLLs, textures, etc are still loading into memory during that first run. I
then took the average of runs #2 and #3 for the results you see below.
Unless otherwise stated, all references to fps (frames
per second) will be towards the average (avg) value and not the minimum
Far Cry - Pier - 3DCenter.org's PCGH_VGA
PCGH_VGA timedemo has become a popular choice due to the high polygon count
(150,000 according to their website). Here we can see that the BFG 6800 Ultra OC was on par
with the X800XT PE. SM3.0 provided a modest performance increase. It took a
considerable overclock to break even with the X800XT PE at 1600x1200 with 4xAA/16xAF.
This is understandable due to the fillrate advantage afforded by the X800XT PE's faster core.
Far Cry - Carrier - My Custom Timedemo
Note that the
core clock speed for the overclock is 455MHz instead of 460MHz. The carrier
level was the only area in the game where the BFG 6800 Ultra OC exhibited artifacting at
460MHz. So, I bumped it down 5MHz and no artifacting occurred.
This is a custom
timedemo that I created on what many consider to be one of the more stressful
areas in the game. This is a close heat as well with the greatest variance being
only ~6fps. It's nice to see that the BFG 6800 Ultra OC picked up a 10fps boost with the
overclock to bring it up to the X800XT PE again at the highest res/settings.
Far Cry - Regulator - 1.2 Patch Timedemo
Now we're getting
into the four timedemos that are included with the 1.2 patch. There is a reason
that these four maps were chosen and it has to do with geometric instancing and
per pixel lighting in a single pass. Procedural geometric instancing enables
articulation of highly detailed models with the ability to inductively specify
billions of objects with a few lines of code. Regulator benefits from instancing
with the grass and trees.
The BFG 6800 Ultra OC has
gains of ~11% at 1024x768 but we see things level off once more at 1600x1200
between the two cards. You'll also notice a trend by now at 1024x768 that
indicates the CPU being a bottleneck.
Far Cry - Training - 1.2 Patch Timedemo
benefits from geometric instancing in SM3.0 with trees and grass. Training is
also one of the more demanding maps at times. The result here is a more level
playing field with the X800XT PE tying and taking a top spot again at 1600x1200 and
4xAA/16xAF. So far, however, phrases like "top spot" need to be taken with a
grain of salt as we're talking about deltas here within the margin of error.
Far Cry - Research - 1.2 Patch Timedemo
from SM3.0 are not so much with geometric instancing but being able to handle
per pixel lighting in a single pass on the BFG 6800 Ultra OC while the X800XT PE will require
multiple passes. For the first time we see an increase of over 15% with the
BFG 6800 Ultra OC being 16% faster than the X800XT PE at 1600x1200 with 0xAA/0xAF (and ~22%
faster when overclocked). The trend at 1600x1200 continues but the X800XT PE pulls
out a 17% increase over the BFG 6800 Ultra OC when it's not overclocked.
Far Cry - Volcano - 1.2 Patch Timedemo
benefits from per pixel lighting speed under SM3.0. These results are impressive
for the BFG 6800 Ultra OC at 1600x1200 with 0xAA/0xAF as it pulls a ~24% performance gain
over the X800XT PE. Other than that, the results are what we would expect by now with
all things being fairly equal with SM3.0 implemented.