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Soltek Qbic EQ3702M Mini Barebone System Review - Page 6 Of 7

OPENGL GRAPHICS

The strength of NVIDIA's OpenGL drivers should be a consideration when weighing the factors that go into purchasing a system with integrated graphics or an add-in graphics card. From GLQuake to Call of Duty, I can count the number of times an OpenGL game has crashed on me on one finger.

The com_maxfps console variable was set to "999" for all OpenGL benchmarks.

Jedi Knight 2

Jedi Knight 2: Jedi Outcast received a number of Game of the Year awards in 2002. The game was developed in conjunction with Raven Software using a modified Quake 3 Team Arena engine. The system requirements for Jedi Knight 2 call for a Pentium 2 or Athlon processor running at 350MHz, a 16MB OpenGL compatible graphics card, and DirectX 8.0a. The combination of lightsaber combat and Force powers gave Jedi Knight 2 a unique appeal to gamers and fans of the Star Wars universe.

Jedi Knight 2

Jedi Knight 2 performance was measured by playing back a timedemo from the ffa_yavin map with EAX sound enabled. All in-game graphics options were configured to their maximum setting while anisotropic filtering was controlled by the game. I was unable to capture the minimum frame rate with FRAPS since the timedemo would end whenever I pressed the Scroll Lock hotkey that was assigned to enable logging.

Jedi Knight 2 Performance

Matched with a fast processor, the integrated GeForce4 MX posts some very impressive results in Jedi Knight 2.

Wolfenstein Enemy Territory

Wolfenstein Enemy Territory is a free team-based multiplayer game that was developed as a collaborative effort between Gray Matter Studios, Nerve Software, Splash Damage, Activision, id Software, and Even Balance (PunkBuster). Enemy Territory was awarded GameSpy's Multiplayer Game of the Year for 2003.

The minimum system requirements for Enemy Territory consist of a Pentium 3 600MHz processor or AMD equivalent, 128MB of RAM, a 32MB OpenGL compliant graphics card, and DirectX 8.1.

Wolfenstein Enemy Territory

FRAPS was used to record frame rates while playing back a match that was recorded on the Railgun map. The first three minutes of the demo was used to determine performance. All in-game graphics options were set to their maximum value with texture compression enabled. Sound quality was set to ultra high (44khz).

Wolfenstein ET Performance

Once again, we find that the integrated GeForce4 MX provides acceptable performance at a variety of graphics settings. Since all in-game features were set to their maximum settings, additional performance can be achieved by lowering settings.

Call of Duty

The huge success of Call of Duty reinforces that first person shooters derived from the Quake 3 engine are alive and doing well. Call of Duty, which was developed by Infinity Ward, was awarded in 2003 as TechTV X-Play's Best PC First Person Shooter and GameSpy's Game of the Year.

In order to prepare for benchmarking Call of Duty in this and upcoming reviews, I recorded two multiplayer demos. The first demo takes place on the Burnville map and the second demo, which is more graphically demanding, was from the POW Camp map. I used the POW Camp demo in this review.

Call of Duty - POW Camp

Call of Duty was programmed to sense a change in the amount of frame buffer memory allocated to the system and will request that in-game graphics settings be optimally reconfigured. An optimal system settings feature is also available within the game itself. After changing the frame buffer memory in the BIOS, the following message appeared when Call of Duty was subsequently executed.

Call of Duty Configuration Message

The following graphics and performance settings were generated based on the amount of frame buffer memory that was allocated in the BIOS, which was 32MB, 64MB, or 128MB.

Call of Duty Graphics and Performance Settings
Setting32MB64MB128MB
Video Mode640x480800x6001024x768
Character TexturesNormalNormalHigh
General TexturesNormalHighHigh
Texture FilterBilinearBilinearBilinear
Texture Quality16-BitDefaultDefault
Wall MarksOnOnOn
Ejecting BrassOffOnOn
Dynamic LightsEverythingEverythingEverything
WorldNicestNicestNicest
Model DetailNormalNormalNormal
BloodYesYesYes

The sound provider setting was set to Miles Fast 2D Positional Audio and I initially ran a series of timedemos with high sound quality (44khz) enabled. However, there were noticeable pauses during the timedemo runs at 800x600 and 1024x768 that were a result of excessive disk reads. I gained back enough memory by lowering the sound quality to normal (22khz) to complete each benchmark without any delays due to disk activity.

Call of Duty Performance

As with Halo, the integrated GeForce MX struggled with Call of Duty. In most cases, the latest games will only be playable at 640x480 along with toning down in-game graphics options. It is doubtful that AA or AF will be used.

Next Page: Add-In Graphics Cards and Conclusion

Last Updated on January 5, 2004


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