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Gainward PowerPack! Ultra/2100 Geforce 6800 Golden Sample 128MB Review- Page 4 of 7

TEST SYSTEM
The 6800 Non-Ultra is considered to be at the low-end of the high-end of video cards, a somewhat perplexing position. To compliment this fact, the test system also occupies the same consumer real estate, being quick but not too quick, slightly expensive but not too extravagant. Here's the more necessary specs. I'm leaving out the optical drives and other meaningless parts.
  • Athlon64 Clawhammer 512k c0 stepping @ 2.1GHz, 210MHz HTT
  • Stock AMD AL/Cu HSF with a dab of AS5
  • Abit KV8-MAX3 Motherboard with OTES and Vantec Cu Active NB Cooler
  • 2x512mb Corsair Value Select PC3200 @ cas2.5
  • WD400JB 8mb cache HD
  • SB Audigy1, using Creative drivers
  • Fans by Zalman
  • Cybertron Mid-Tower case
  • 500W PowerMagic Dual Fan PSU, 21A 12v rail
  • 20" Dell CRT, 17" eMachines CRT for DualView

SiSoftware Sandra 2004 Performance
CPU Arithmetic: 9664 MIPS Dhrystone ALU, 3320/4328 MFLOPS, even with a 2.2ghz Opteron 148

CPU Multi-Media: 20063 it/s Integer x4 aEMMX/aSSE, 21511 it/s Floating Point x4 iSSE2, once again even with Opteron 148, and edging out Athlon XP 3200+

Cache & Memory: Combined Index of 5541 MB/s, Speed Factor of 8.8, right in line with other Athlon64 rigs, although the 512k of cache on this cpu makes the 1mb blocks transfer more like an Athlon XP

Memory Bandwidth: 3171/3170 MB/s, an expected result for DDR running @ 420mhz @ cas2.5

Overall, the performance speaks for itself, as this rig is a bang for the buck setup which delivers where it counts in speed and value. Let's now have a look at performance of the Gainward 6800.
 

GAMEPLAY PERFORMANCE
Positive community feedback let me to use one of the newer drivers released to the hardware enthusiast community, version 66.00.

Reportedly, this version features speed increases in Doom 3, IL-2 Sturmovik, the Counter Strike Stress Test and some other games, as well as the elimination of a problem in MS Flight Simulator as well as the snowflake bug in Ghost Recon, all with no compromise in visual quality. It also features detection of HDTV's, and allows for the user to change the HDTV signal format. One problem with this driver however is the muddy visual quality of video files and a Digital Vibrance Direct3D issue, problems I'm sure won't show their faces in a future revision. Overall though, this version has proven to be the community's choice.

Let's move on to the gameplay performance.

Unreal Tournament 2004 (DirectX 9-Class)

Features: Hi-poly models, large arenas and detailed terrain, DX9 pixel and vertex shader usage

Tests Ran: 3 botmatches, averaged (Rankin, Colossus, and Convoy) using Benchemall (http://www.benchemall.com/)

In-Game Settings: Graphical details maxed, vsync and sound off
 

Unreal Tournament 2004 (DirectX 9-Class)

Comments: Despite being only a 3-Quad (12 Pipeline) video card, the Gainward 6800 proves its mettle, producing great results in the botmatches at 1600x1200 @ 88 fps, a feat un-attainable by the last generation of cards. Also of not is the almost nonexistent performance hit of AA and AF at the resolution of 1024x768. Though cpu-bound, this game still has a performance curve dependant on resolution and eye-candy used. In previous generation cards it was hard to determine the right combination of resolution, AA, and AF for this game, but there's enough power in the 6800NU to be able to have it all... Well, almost. To reinforce my test results, I also ran ONS-Torlan with 4XAA and 16X AF, with 10 bots, and sound set to high quality. This proved that the 88.2fps attained @ 16x12 4x/16x was valid for the benchmark, but not so much in real gameplay situations. 1024x768 netted 55.4 fps, 1280x1024 ran at 40.6 fps, and 1600x1200 was a bit slow at 26.4 fps. Onslaught maps using bots are very heavy on systems, and the 12x10 resolution with 4XAA and 16XAF proved to be a great balance.

Preferred Settings: 1280 x 1024, 4x AA / 16x AF

Doom 3 (OpenGL 1.5)

Features: Per-pixel lighting, Bump, Diffuse and Normal Mapping, Dot Re-rendering, Per-poly Collision Detection

Tests Ran: in-game "timedemo1" benchmark

In-Game Settings: All features enabled, vsync and sound off, framerates recorded on second run of this timedemo
 
Doom 3 (OpenGL 1.5)

Doom 3 (OpenGL 1.5)

Comments: The Gainward 6800 handles Doom 3 beautifully, maintaining playable enough of framerates for the image quality slider to never have to be set to medium. 1024x768 is considered to be a low resolution nowadays, but AA aficionados would probably enjoy playing at this resolution with 4XAA and 8 or 16X Anisotropic Filtering. Fans of the 1280x1024 resolution can also enjoy this game with 2XAA applied and the "high quality default" 8X AF. 1600x1200 is also playable at high quality, albeit without AA (arguably not needed at this high of a resolution). I downloaded another timedemo and ran it, obtaining 4-8 more fps average. Actual gameplay was also a few fps above the id supplied timedemo. Image quality in this game is beautiful but dark, and it's good to not feel the framerate dip from heat haze effects present in the nv3x series. This video card should handle future Doom 3 engine titles with ease, as the results shown here only further solidify this card's performance boastability. One problem I had however was 1600 x 1200 with 4xAA and AF applied. The card just could not produce results consistent with the others, probably lending itself to the 128mb RAM, 800mhz memory, and 3-Quad design.

Preferred Settings: High Quality, 1600 x 1200, 0x AA / 8x AF

Serious Sam: The Second Encounter (OpenGL circa 2001)

Features: Large Environments, Directional Light, Procedural Particles, Glare/Haze Effects

Tests Ran: Benchemall Timedemo

In-Game Settings: Highest Detail Settings, Sound and vsync off

Serious Sam: The Second Encounter (OpenGL circa 2001)

Comments: This game can now be considered completely long-in-the-tooth. Its effects qualities have been completely usurped by the likes of Doom 3 and other modern OpenGL titles. I can bash this title all I want, but booting the game up, kicking the resolution, AA and AF up all the way makes for a satisfying FPS experienced coupled with legendary gameplay. Lots of AF really helps this game look more modern, and gobs of AA also aid in making this title look better than it ever has. Croteam will be releasing Serious Sam 2 based on a new Serious Engine sometime soon, but in the meantime, the chainsaw-toting wiseguy in the white T-shirt still provides plenty of engaging entertainment. Once again, I engaged in some real gameplay on the side, to see if the 104.7 fps @ 16x12, 4xAA/16xAF was believable. Well, for having no sound and AI it was, as I turned EAX on, selected medium difficulty, and proceeded to obtain 65.7 fps, still completely playable, acceptable and enjoyable.

Preferred Settings: 1600 x 1200, 4x AA / 16x AF
 


Next Page: Savage, Gunmetal, BF:V

Last Updated on September 27, 2004


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