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Home > Hardware Reviews > Graphics Cards

Thursday, August 05, 2004
Gainward CoolFX 6800 Ultra/2600 Golden Sample

4. Aquamark 3

Aquamark3


Since the majority of today's applications and games are compatible with DirectX 9, the need for benchmark applications that thoroughly test DX 9 has become paramount. Aquamark3 is just such a benchmark and uses the 3D engine (Krass engine) from the Aquanox game.

Unlike synthetic benchmarks, Aquamark3 allows benchmarking in a real-world scenario with an engine and art assets representing the complexity of current state-of-the-art games. The results you get from Aquamark vary from a general result score (AquaMark Triscore), which is a result of 9 chapters where each one utilizes different graphical operations. The AquaMark3 benchmark also delivers scores for specific hardware components as well as an overall score for the entire system.

The chapters that stress Graphics performance are the following:

In this section we present comparison charts for the following chapters: High particle count, Vertex and pixel lightning and Massive Overdraw

- High particle count

This chapter demonstrates a high number of particles being used for simulating dust and smoke. Each particle is approximated by a mass point with one degree of freedom for its rotation.

The particle system of this test is designed to render a large number of physically, accurately simulated particles, as efficiently as possible.

 


No problem at all for Gainward's CoolFX 6800 to render many particles.

- Vertex and pixel lightning

The objects in this scene show a broad range of different material and lightning effects used in modern game engines.

Aquamark3 tests two things: It applies many vertex and pixel shader changes straining the graphics hardware and its many texture lookups (determining the lighting contribution and material reflectivity) also strain the Multitexturing and rasterization components.

Here it finds it hard to process lightning effects, noting that Radeon 9800 XT is behind by only a small difference of 12 FPS.

- Massive Overdraw

This scene demonstrates the application of the particle system for large explosions. The test stresses the graphics hardware by the high overdraw of textured areas as many particles overlap each other. A huge explosion that is included on this chapter, pushes the VGA card to the limits. It's really awesome if you imagine the number of pixels and shaders needed to make such an explosive scene.


This is an important test, because the explosions in games require a lot of vertex and pixel processing. In many games when an explosion occurs, this cause frames to drop suddenly at that particular moment. So this test is a simulation of what to expect from your card when facing explosions and other similar effects in games.

 

The 46 fps says a lot for the capabilities and the smooth performance of the 6800 Ultra.

- Aquamark Triscore

The Aquamark Triscore comprises 3 values: the overall system performance, the performance of the graphics system and the CPU performance. Keep in mind that this is not the total result of the above tests, but the result of the whole benchmark process including all 9 chapters.

This score is a sum of all chapters and not just the 3 minor chapters examined. And as you can see, Gainward's CoolFX 6800 Ultra maintains it's lead.




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