OpenGL gaming performance was measured with a variety of games that were developed with unique 3D graphics engines. I was eager to see the results of outfitting a GeForce3 with a 1GHz processor.
Keep in mind that the graphics settings for most of the tests were set to high quality levels. With today's high-end hardware, the days of playing at resolutions less than 1024x768 without antialiasing are numbered.
First up is Quake 3. Although it's over two years old, the games graphics engine is well know for scaling upwards in performance with a faster processor.
Quake 3 Performance
Pairing up the GeForce3 with a faster processor certainly provided an increase in game performance. In this case, a gain of over 20% was realized using maximum quality settings (although texture compression was enabled).
With a bit of luck when overclocking the processor and graphics card, close to 100 frames per second could be reached at a resolution of 1280x1024. It seems like only yesterday that we were saying the same thing about 1024x768.
The second OpenGL game tested is Alice, which is based on the Quake 3 engine. Performance in Alice is typically a bit slower than what we see with Quake 3, but the graphics are equally impressive. Texture compression was disabled in these tests in order to stress the GeForce3 a bit more.
Similar results were obtained in Alice as the 1GHz Pentium 3 outperformed the 700MHz by 35% at a resolution of 1024x768 and 20% at 1280x1024.
Deviating from the Quake 3 graphics engine, I tested Bioware's MDK2 which is based on the Omen graphics. The Omen engine is acclaimed for rendering round, smooth surfaces and highly detailed characters. MDK2 uses a complex dynamic lighting system which is hardware accelerated by the GeForce3's transform and lighting processor.
We begin to see a performance pattern developing with OpenGL based games. With the 1GHz processor, MDK2 performance increases by 33% to 137.9 frames per second at a resolution of 1024x768 and 27% at 1280x1024. Let's see if this pattern holds true for yet another game based on a different graphics engine.
A recent game sporting its own 3D graphics engine is Croteam's Serious Sam. This test uses the Karnak demo, which is reminiscent of the Crusher demo for Quake 2. Karnak offers continuous action and is a good hardware stress test since it keeps both the processor and graphics card occupied under a heavy workload.
These results are based on the Beyond 3D benchmarking scripts which disables the games hardware auto-detect feature to ensure identical settings are used regardless of a systems specifications.
Serious Sam Performance
At a resolution of 1024x768 the largest gain in performance is achieved thus far with a whopping 42%. Even at 1280x1024 performance increased by 30%, which is an indication that Serious Sam is a processor intensive game.
Looking towards the near future when DroneZ will be released by Zetha gameZ, the DroneZ demo and its nGenius II graphics engine was put to the test. While DroneZ supports the advanced graphics features of the GeForce3, this particular test was run in GeForce2 Normal mode.
Following the aforementioned performance pattern, DroneZ responds similar to the other OpenGL based games. A 27% and 25% increase in performance were realized at resolutions of 1024x768 and 1280x1024 respectively.
Impressive results. What about games based on Direct3D?
Next Page: Direct3D Game Performance