With Splinter Cell being a tactical first person shooter, emphasis is placed on the player's stealth ability. As such, I chose to keep the shadow level setting at high when running the timedemo since it is a special effect that is critical for serious gameplay.
The ForceWare 56.64 drivers corrected assorted rendering errors that occurred with Splinter Cell configured to use the buffer setting. This is the preferred rendering path for NVIDIA hardware and it was the default rendering path for the Xbox, which exposes NVIDIA-exclusive features. The glitches consisted of shadows being rendered incorrectly and in some cases they were not being rendered at all. The Firing Squad has more details on this particular problem and when it first appeared.
The shadow mode was left at the buffer setting, which is the default for the GeForce FX and also recommended by Ubisoft. The settings that were altered for the performance tests were the shadow resolution and effects quality. The shadow resolution was set at high (H) for the first two set of tests and lowered to medium (M) for the third test. The effects quality varied between very high (VH), high (H), and medium (M).
Splinter Cell Performance
The proper rendering of shadows increases the processing load that is place on the Apogee AA5700U, but the visual effects are worth the trade-off. Notice that there was no change in performance between the high (H) and very high (VH) effects setting.
Splinter Cell Performance
The style of gameplay in Splinter Cell does not require split second reflexes or high frame rates. The relatively low performance at 1280x1024 may not be impressive, but it does not necessarily hinder gameplay. However, the advantage of lowering the effects to medium (M/M) settings is that performance will increase by as much as 25%.
FINAL FANTASY XI BENCHMARK
The Final Fantasy series of role playing games are extremely popular among console gamers. Final Fantasy I, II, and III debuted on the original Nintendo Entertainment System, IV, V, and VI on the Super Nintendo, VII, VIII, and IX on the Playstation, and X, XI, and X-2 on the Playstation 2. Final Fantasy VII and VIII were released for the PC.
Final Fantasy XI Online
Final Fantasy XI is a Massively Multiplayer Online RPG (MMORPGs) that runs on the PC and Playstation 2. MMORPGs consist of large persistent worlds that are inhabited by thousands of players. To determine how well Final Fantasy XI will run on your PC, Square Enix released a second version of their benchmark, which runs in a high and a low resolution mode.
Final Fantasy XI Benchmark
The low resolution mode runs at a resolution of 640x480 and the high resolution mode runs at a resolution of 1024x768. This page at FilePlanet explains the in-game performance you can expect based on the results of the low resolution benchmark score.
Final Fantasy XI Benchmark Results
The low quality setting results are in the 5000 point range although the resolution used in the test was 640x480. This score is categorized as an "Incredibly Tough" PC:
We assume that your computer can run FINAL FANTASY XI for Windows incredibly well with the default settings. If your video card exceeds the recommended system requirements, it may be possible to run FINAL FANTASY XI for Windows easily even in high resolution mode or with bump mapping enabled.
Note that the score explanation section on the FilePlant page is preceded with a comment that states the scores are for the low resolution mode only. With this being the case, it is unclear how the high resolution mode score translates into in-game performance.