There is surely some sort of sick pleasure and satisfaction when you hear the words “Holy S#!*” come through your speakers after you’ve cranked the image quality settings as high as they will go in Unreal Tournament 2004. For our testing, we decided to use the Red Planet Onslaught map as this game type offers a wide variety of intensity. Thought here are times when you might be the only person at a specific area of the map, there are also many occassions where everyone faces off in total chaos to capture a node. With 25 bots in the map, we were sure to have some interesting gameplay.
For each card, all settings were set to “Quality” mode with V-Sync disabled. Specifically on the NVIDIA cards, the option for Trilinear Optimizations was disabled to force “true” trilinear filtering.
At these low settings, we see the results end up largely a draw. Here, we find we are largely CPU bound with the graphics load failing to stress these cards.
Jumping ahead to a resolution of 1600*1200 find a completely different scenario. Here, the GeForce 6800 Ultra has taken a commanding lead and is already close to doubling the framerate of the GeForce FX 5950 Ultra.
Decreasing the resolution to 1280*1024 and enabling the eye-candy reduced the performance gap between the cards. However, the positions of the three cards remains the same. Though not a landslide, the GeForce 6800 Ultra walks away with the highest framerate.
When you want to see how much horsepower a graphics card truly has, you have to see how it handles running a title at 1600*1200 with all the eye-candy enabled. Here, the GeForce 6800 Ultra truly shines as it holds more than a 20fps advantage in framerate over its competition. If you think this plot is impressive, you should see the game in action at these settings and framerates.