Originally posted by StealthHawk The question is, could they have made better effects by using more PS2.0 instead of using PS1.x.
In benchmark, which has an objective to test DX9 performance, this is not relevant. If it were a game, it of course would be crazy to use PS2 shaders too often.
The only problem with simple PS2.0 shaders in benchmarks is that they can easily be replaced by PS1.X shaders in the drivers, thus falsily improving performance. If I remember right, there once was a certain benchmark - wait it's name was 3dsomething03 or something like that - where the benchmark makers used too simple PS2 shaders that could have been replaced by a dishonest vendor.
But I bet it isn't easy to find a situation where you really need
PS2 shaders. You all have seen the HL2 benchmark screenshots, and there is a minimal difference between DX9 and DX8 - which tells us that DX8 shaders are at least almost as good as DX9. If I've understood right, the only effect that can't be done properly with DX8 in HL2 is the high dynamic range light effects, because like the name says, there needs to be high range of intensity values in the shader code, which only DX9 FP numbers can offer.
I bet this is why things are generally more shiny and the water is 'brighter' in DX9 effects, there is more dynamic range available. But in the HL2 screenshot the DX8 actually looked better to me, the water was too shiny in DX9. In AquaMark3 the scenery with Radeons looked better and it had more dynamic range judging by the screenshots, IMHO, so mebbe the real DX9 is good for something after all.