This content was originally featured on and has been converted to PC Perspective’s website. Some color changes and flaws may appear.

Freelancer is a game that follows in the legacy established by the Wing Commander series back in the early 90’s. Freelancer has some gorgeous graphics matched only by the intense dogfights throughout the game. Fans are screaming for an expansion, but are content with the huge amount of modifications and conversions.

We want a Freelancer expansion! :)

Test Setup

Color Depth 32bits
Level of Detail Maximum (HUD animations, effects, etc.)


Freelancer benchmark results. 1024x768.
*Radeon 9700 is a soft-modded Radeon 9500 running at Radeon 9700 specs.

Freelancer benchmark results. 1024x768.
*Radeon 9700 is a soft-modded Radeon 9500 running at Radeon 9700 specs.


  • Radeon 9700
    This card comes out on top in practically all the tests. It is only matched by its Radeon 9500 sibling at 1024×768. The big shocker here is the fact that the Radeon 9700 consistently beats the FX5900 Ultra by 3 – 10 FPS. This is really interesting as the FX5900 Ultra is double the price of the Radeon 9700. At 1600×1200, the Radeon 9700 continues to dominate the Freelancer test and bests the FX5900 Ultra by 3-10 FPS again. Even at the highest setting of 6×8 AAxAF, the 9700 is still very smooth and playable.

  • Radeon 9500
    The Radeon 9500 performs very well at 1024×768 resolution. At no point was there a noticeable slow-down, even with the highest AA and AF levels. However, at 1600×1200, we begin to see the card struggle. At 1600×1200 with anti-aliasing 4x or higher, we see the performance drop drastically. I experienced really bad mouse lag which made it nearly impossible to hit a moving ship, and difficult to launch a torpedo properly.

  • GeForce FX5900 Ultra
    The FX5900 Ultra did well in Freelancer. For the most part, at any given resolution and at any given AAxAF setting, the card did not appear to struggle or give poor playability (the only exception is 8×0 and higher at 1600×1200 where the FPS is below 25). Compared to the Radeon 9700, we see that it doesn’t perform as well but is still able to play the game properly.

  • GeForce FX5600
    Though the numbers for the FX5600 are not as good the Radeon 9500/9700, the FX5600 performs very well up to and including 4×8 AAxAF at 1024×768. Flight and combat is very smooth. Once past this point, however, we begin to have serious performance issues. The mouse would lag and targeting was harder. At 1600×1200, it was tough playing at 2xAA and higher. I found myself bumping into objects and generally having a tough time targeting enemies.

  • GeForce FX5200
    The FX5200 is only playable up to and including 2×8 at 1024×768 screen resolution. Anything higher was not usable. 1600×1200 gaming is not possible except at 0x0 AAxAF.

  • GeForce 4 Ti4800SE
    The Ti4800SE does extremely well with respect to its other NVIDIA-based brethren: it is forth behind the FX5900 Ultra and significantly better than both the FX600 and the FX5200. At 1024×768, the card performed well and was playable up to its highest setting of 4×8 with some pretty decent frame rates. For 1600×1200, it was playable up to 2×0.

General Remarks

The FX series video card does not appear to perform very well in general in Freelancer. For the price of the FX5900 Ultra, you would expect it to be substantially better than the Ti4800SE which is almost 3x cheaper. The Radeon 9500 and 9700 perform extremely well and both beat the FX5900 Ultra at 1024×768. This is something I find really curious and disconcerting as the FX5900 Ultra should be a better performer given the premium price consumers are currently paying for it. Despite this quirk, the FX5900 Ultra still manages to play Freelancer well.

« PreviousNext »