Elder Scrolls: Oblivion benchmark results
Frame rates - longer bars are better
This leaves DirectX 10 gaming as a great unknown and we simply won't be able to answer that question for a few months to come - or just as soon as a rather more stable version of Call of Juarez appears.
We also can't investigate the new features of HD 2900 XT such as Custom Filter Anti-Aliasing (CFAA). Modes run from 4x CFAA - which is 2x anti-aliasing run through a Narrow Tent filter - to 24x CFAA, which is 8x anti-aliasing with Edge Detection, which sounds superb but until we see them in action it's not much more than techno-babble.
Looking back at our DirectX 9 testing figures, we can extrapolate that the HD 2900 XT will indeed match an 8800 GTS, so AMD is delivering fair value for money. On the down side, it's clear to us that AMD has been unable to extract the performance that it wanted from R600 despite the employment of enormous core and memory speeds.
Nvidia grabbed the high end with 8800 GTX and Ultra, while AMD struggled to get the HD 2900 XT out of the factory door. Now it's here, and with boards priced at around £249, the Radeon HD 2900 XT take the fight to the GeForce 8800 GTS, and it's a very even battle. Hopefully, we'll have a clearer idea of their respective abilities when DirectX 10 games are published.
PowerColor Radeon HD 2900 XT graphics card
Quality and speed
Frantisek, HardOCP has done a bit of a demolition job on the 2900XT partly with regard to the different AA filters including the different tents.
They have included a number of screengrabs to illustrate the quality of AMD versus Nvidia and frankly they are pretty much identical in most respects however when it comes to AA the AMD card images look blurred. I have no intention of taking issue with HardOCP - in the main they do excellent work - however I have been in this situation way back in the days of Radeon 9800.
This was a time when AA was quite novel and I simply wanted to illustrate what it could do so. I used Microsoft Train Simulator as an example because the train tracks suffer from horrible jaggies as they converge towards the horizon. Enabling AA smoothed the image considerably so I set about taking screen grabs to illustrate the success.
In the images the rails looked good with AA but the trees that line the track looked like green lollipops with no distinguishing features and the grabs with AA therefore looked terrible. Much like the images on HardOCP..
Of course I was looking at stills from a moving image and was effectively missing the point. As you drive past a tree you can't see the leaves and branches. Stand under a tree in Oblivion and you get the benefit of all sorts of eye candy.
Ever since I have been very wary of taking screen grabs as they often show visual information that is out of context.
As for the most recent comment, yes it would have been 'fair' to run a pair of Ultras in SLI however I only had one Ultra - does anyone have two? - and simply wanted to illustrate how £500 of AMD hardware compared with £500 of Nvidia hardware.
Sli vs Crossfire?
Two things spring to mind:
- If you used Crossfire for the ATI, surely you should have included an SLi config for the nvidia setup, for a more balanced report?
- Is it just me or does Crossfire's performance benefits look feeble (on a %age increase in frame-rate basis) compared to typical performance gains from Sli?
Reply to ref Numbers, numbers
Fair enough, I respect your view and find it meaningful, thank you very much for reply.
I have seen some image quality comparisons lately and the usage of CFAA with Wide Tent in Oblivion with 2900XT seems to be useful a lot for overall quality, I'm looking forward to your further testing.
ref Numbers, numbers
Frantisek makes a good point about the R600 range but I'm not sure how much it bears on the 2900XT. I take the view that gamers might spend £249 on a 2900XT but the man in the street has no need to spend anything like as much to get decent movie playback. And they would want a quiet graphics card while they were about it, which sounds like a cue for a 2400 or 2600.
Of course image quality matters in games and both the 2900 XT and the 8800 Ultra look superb in Oblivion and Half-Life 2 but the real test will come when we can get our hands on DX10 games.
Numbers, numbers, numbers...
...but what about in-game/in-application/movie playback (etc.) graphic quality itself?
There is no comparison and that's quite disappointing, because I represent those, who prefer graphic quality and the hyped numbers are second or third on the list. And ATI cards have always been better in that since Radeon 7XXX and that's not just my opinion, I believe.
I hope this is only a quick review and you're going to return to that subject later, this article doesn't contain all the information I find important.
Regards from your regular reader,