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Old 05-09-05, 08:28 PM   #1
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Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: silicon valley
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Arrow Doom3 Timedemo for older GPUs

MikeC suggested that I post the results of an experiment I ran with some old NVIDIA cards through the Doom3 benchmark.

The command was "timedemo demo1 nocache" run on the same system to ensure all the tests would be consistent. I want to minimize the relevance of the system, since this is a comparison of the cards to each other, not an absolute performance test. YMMV.

DOOM3 Timedemo FPS (Frames Per Second) at 640480

NOTE - The 5900U was a NV35GL engineering sample with a 5900 BIOS and slow RAMs clocked at 300/500 (250 DDR). The RAM is clocked well below consumer cards and performance is NOT AT ALL representative of consumer 5900 Ultras. The rest of the cards were consumer cards or engineering samples clocked at the same speeds as a consumer card of the same kind.

The system had a fresh install of Windows XP no service packs, and Doom3 with the 1.1 patch. Hardware baseline: nForce2 A7N8X-E Deluxe / Barton 3000+ 333 MHz fsb / 512M dual channel PC3500 @ 333 MHz / 2x WS Raptors RAID0 on motherboard controller.

So it seems you better have a 128M GeForce4 Ti or higher (excluding the FX 5200) to enjoy Doom3 at the minimum resolution of 640x480.

I didn't see significant image quality changes from 256M, 128M, and 64M cards. Video RAM down to 64M was acceptable, but there was a horrible decrease in image quality dropping below 64M RAM. With 32M RAM, it was really bad:
- coloring on the walls was banded
- shotgun smoke was square
- fog effects had linear edges
- lighting was cartoonish, posterised if you know Photoshop jargon.

What surprised me:
- It appears that 32M cards provide better FPS than 64M cards equipped with better GPUs, at the cost of image quality. The GeForce 256 and GF2 GTS @32M had better FPS than the GF2 MX or GF4 MX @64M.
- The FX 5200 performed dismally in raw speed, and didn't seem to provide any better image quality. I expected a low-end NV3x card to be better than a high-end NV2x card because of DX9 compatability. I'd rather have a faster DX8 card than a slower DX9 card.
- I also used to think 20 FPS was acceptable, but after the testing session, I'd rather play at a lower screen resolution than play Doom3 below 30 FPS.
- A 4-pipeline NV36 (FX 5700 U) with DDR-II was supposed to perform on par with a 4-pipeline NV30 with DDR-II (FX 5800U) at the same clocks, but the 5800U performed consistently better, about 10 FPS better than the 5700U at each setting. (Unfortunately I gave away my GF3 and GF 5700 before this organized testing, so they don't appear.)

The zip attachment is the spreadsheet. There are more measurements, but I got fed up with Excel before I could make it all pretty.

EDITED for spelling, detail, and clarity.
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Last edited by ricercar; 05-11-05 at 07:14 PM.
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