Unreal Tournament 2003

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

Despite recent waning in online popularity and controversy over driver optimizations, Unreal Tournament 2003 remains an important benchmark as many up-coming games are based on the UnrealEngine. With games like Deus Ex 2, UT2004, and Tribes: Vengeance around the corner we hope to gain a glimpse of future performance based on UT2003. We’re using CTF-Face3 as our benchmark map as it is probably the best approximation of upcoming maps in UT2K4 and other larger mapped games.

The pyramids of CTF-Face3

Demo Setup

Skin and Texture Details Ultra High
Effects (i.e. coronas, decals) All enabled
Anisotropic Filtering Specified through LevelOfAnisotropy variable


ATi & Nvidia Video Card Roundup #2 - Graphics Cards 42
*Radeon 9700 is a soft-modded Radeon 9500 running at Radeon 9700 specs.

ATi & Nvidia Video Card Roundup #2 - Graphics Cards 43
*Radeon 9700 is a soft-modded Radeon 9500 running at Radeon 9700 specs.


  • Radeon 9700
    The Radeon 9700 does really well in the UT2K3 test. The fact it can perform the CTF-Face3 benchmark at 1024×768 without any problems is a big achievement. At 1600×1200, we see that when anisotropic filtering is enabled for 2x AA and above, we see a drastic drop in performance. You should get better performance if you let the video driver do the filtering or if you bring down the details.

  • Radeon 9500
    The Radeon 9500 has a strong showing in CTF-Face3. It can perform reasonably well up to 6xAA without any anisotropic filtering. The only playable setting at 1600×1200 is 0x0. At any higher setting we see performance below what many of us consider unacceptable. Interesting to see that the Radeon 9500 and the Ti4800SE are nearly identical early on at 1024×768, but the Radeon pulls ahead at 4xAA.

  • GeForce FX5900 Ultra
    With the help of NVIDIA’s optimized The FX5900 Ultra pushes some impressive numbers in Unreal Tournament 2003 even though the NVIDIA driver has been optimized for this game (could be good or bad depending on who you ask). At 1024×768 everything is pretty much playable even 8xAA which is something I have not seen in my time testing video cards. At 1600×1200, the FX5900 Ultra loses some performance but still maintains very playable frame rates.

  • GeForce FX5600
    The FX5600 performs really well from 0x0 to 4×8 at 1024×768. We see nice frame rates well above 60 FPS which gives you a lot of breathing space for intense fights. At 1600×1200 however, we see that the FX5600 is only playable at 0x0 and maybe 0x8 if you adjust your settings.

  • GeForce FX5200
    The FX5200 is only playable at 0x0, 0x8, and 2×0 at 1024×768. Given the price of this particular card, it’s not too surprising that it doesn’t perform too well at higher details and at higher resolutions. However, it is great to see a budget card capable of playing CTF-Face3 with 2xAA enabled.

  • GeForce 4 Ti4800SE
    The Ti4800SE performs pretty well at 1024×768 despite being an older card. It can play UT2K3 well up to 4×0 at 1024×768. At 1600×1200 we don’t see any results that shows any promise. It’s clear that the Ti4800SE is not intended for gaming at high resolutions.


« PreviousNext »