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Intel Pentium 3 1GHz Processor Review
By: Mike Chambers - July 25, 2001

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Direct3D Game Performance

As with OpenGL, a variety of older and upcoming Direct3D games were put to the test. We begin with Unreal Tournament, which is known to be heavily dependent on the central processor.

Unreal Tournament

While the Thunder demo may not be indicative of heavy multi-player action since it's based on a one-on-one match, the demo's performance scales well with faster processors.

Unreal Tournament Performance

Note that the percent increase of the frame rate in Unreal Tournament actually became greater as the resolution increased. At 1024x768, the 1GHz processor provided an increase in frame rate of 27% over the 700MHz processor. At 1280x960, the frame rate increased by 30%.

Nascar Heat

The Nascar Heat demo is a racing simulation and uses 16-bit color. A result of 30 frames per second in the games built-in benchmark is considered acceptable for good gameplay.

Nascar Heat Performance

As with Unreal Tournament, performance in Nascar Heat is highly dependent on processor speed. This is illustrated by the difference in the frame rates between 1024x768 and 1280x1024 on each CPU, which is less than one frame per second. However, the extra 300MHz pays off by providing a 25% increase in performance at both resolutions.

3DMark2001 is MadOnion's latest synthetic benchmark that measures 3D graphics performance under DirectX 8. The Game 1 and Game 3 tests were used which are processor intensive tests - especially when the high quality settings are used.

3DMark2001 Game 1

The Game 1 Test uses real-time physics for the truck movements and the flying robots use artificial intelligence. The logic for these features is done entirely on the central processor. The high quality mode for Game 1 adds dynamic shadows which is also processor intensive.

3DMark2001 Game 3

While the Game 3 Test is less taxing on the processor, the high quality mode contains reflections, which can slow down performance considerably.

3DMark2001 Game 1 Performance

3DMark2001 Game 3 Performance

Although the Game 1 high quality test only yields 24.9 frames per second, the 1GHz processor outperformed the 700MHz with an increase in performance of 46% at a resolution of 1024x768 and 52% at 1280x1024.

The high quality results for both tests are biased towards the capabilities of the central processing unit as the frame rate shows little or no change with each processor.


AquaNox, which is currently being developed by Massive Development, utilizes the GeForce3's pixel shader capabilities. Pixel shaders were disabled in this test and although the benchmark is demanding on system resources, it may not be representative of the performance of the completed game.

AquaNox Performance

It's unfortunate that the AquaNox benchmark hasn't been released to the general public yet as it contains a sophisticated and impressive 3D graphics engine. While performance seems rather poor for such high-end hardware, AquaNox is more of a simulation based game where high frame rates won't be necessary for decent gameplay.

Next up is a bit on overclocking and then I'll wrap things up.

Next Page: Overclocking and Conclusion

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Last Updated on July 25, 2001

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