Review By Kalyan Rai - December 13, 2004 Edited By Ed Piotrowski
Everyone's perception of gaming acceptability varies. In most situations, the perfect frame rate should be greater than 60 - beyond the limit of detection of the human eye. For me personally, I feel a gaming experience that is fluid should start at an average of 40 frames per second or greater. With that I present the following compiled results and when I refer to something as playable will mean the average frame rate is higher than 40.
To start the performance investigation of the card, Doom 3 is the perfect way to get things rolling. Id released the hugely anticipated title in August, just in time to coincide with my receipt of the Leadtek A400 Ultra TDH. Doom III is an OpenGL game and uses a liberal amount of bumpmapping, which gives the game world a much more detailed look. The game itself is set in dark, closed areas with interaction between the sparse lighting and objects creating a heavily shadowed environment. The built-in timedemo was run with the in-game setting at "High Quality".
The results derived were with sound disabled as this was id's implementation of the timedemo feature. The results compiled do speak for themselves; the Leadtek A400 Ultra TDH delivers a playable platform at the resolutions tested with 4x anti-aliasing and 8x anisotropic filtering enabled. Enabling AA and AF will affect overall average fps but not enough to make you want to compromise any in-game settings. It's not all clear sailing, as there are times when the frame rate can drop into the teens. With that said, these occurrences are not the norm. Performance stays above the magical number of 30 fps during normal gameplay. I have been enjoying Doom III at a resolution of 1280 by 1024 with the said antialiasing and anisotropic filtering settings and in-game "High Quality" setting.
Crytek's Far Cry has been wowing many gamers since its release. A true DirectX 9 game, it is a visual feast with plenty of special effects available through the use of pixel shaders, bump mapping and other tricks. Far Cry's engine is capable of rendering beautiful indoor scenes along with equally breathtaking outdoor levels. The introduction of the 1.2 patch (which was later recalled) brought with it GeForce 6-series specific Shader Model 3.0 support. Now Crytek has released its 1.3 patch, which uses the SM 3.0 render path by default if you have set your in-game graphics to "very high." Examples of SM 3.0 tricks utilized by Crytek were thought to include dynamic branching techniques as well as geometric instancing. The results below are with Patch 1.3 and with all in-game settings set to their maximum. The built-in demos that came with the 1.3 patch were run.
With no Forceware optimizations, it's very clear that the use of anti-aliasing and anisotropic filtering takes its toll on the average frame rate across all resolutions tested. Benchmarks aside, the results do not mean the game is not enjoyable if you do not compromise on any IQ setting. Far from it. With the Leadtek A400 Ultra TDH, I have been progressing through the levels at resolution of 1280 x 1024 with 4x AA and 8x AF enabled at acceptable average frame rates of above 40 during most gameplay situations.