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Reviewed by: Carl Nelson [03.05.08]


Gaming Performance

This is an area where I am not sure exactly what to expect. We know that SP1 includes an update to DirectX 10 (bringing it to 10.1), but today's games barely make use of DX10 in the first place; in most cases, it's a better idea to use DX9 mode to attain playable framerates.

So we'll take a quick look at some gaming benchmarks, and see if SP1 does anything for us:

So far, pretty much what I expected.

Call of Duty 4

Since COD4 doesn't include a benchmarking utility, manual benchmarking was required. For this, I ran the same 30 second portion of the game five times on each configuration. An average of those 5 runs were given. I chose the beginning of the "Heat" level because it started off with a lot of explosions, and it has to calculate a lot of ragdoll effects with a ton of enemies being thrown about, and more firing your way. Also, the same 30 seconds can be spent sitting in the exact same spot, so runs are easily repeatable and benchmarks aren't affected by gameplay as much.

Again, within 1 fps of each other.


Crysis comes with built-in GPU and CPU benchmark timedemos. However, as HardOCP has found, drivers are being optimized for performance in the timedemos that don't necessarily reflect in the game itself. This is cheesy, and why we would never use these benchmarks in a video card review.

However, for the purpose of this review where the graphics card and driver do not change, it will be perfectly fine. We ran both the CPU and GPU test, in DX9 mode at 800x600, with all settings at "Low Quality"

Hey, some consistent results! But is 1-2 FPS really something to get excited about? Perhaps for those people who are gaming on a fine line of playable/unplayable framerates this will help. In any case, I think things will improve even more with future driver revisions from the video card manufacturers.

Unreal Tournament 3

We used the handy UT3 Benchmark Utility and one of the included botmatch timedemos. Like the Crysis benchmark, I have a feeling that graphics makers may optimize for this. However, we're using the game video card in each system here, so that doesn't matter.

Hey what's this? A 6% increase in performance? Okay, not much to get excited about, but the results were consistent across quite a few benchmarks I ran in UT3.

At the very least, it's encouraging to see that SP1 presents some real performance increases, even with a relatively old DX9 video card.

Next Page: (Windows Software - PCMark Vantage)