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Home > Hardware Reviews > Graphics Cards

Friday, August 27, 2004
Asus AX X800 XT Review

4. Aquamark 3

Aquamark3

Since the majority of today's applications and games are compatible with DirectX 9, the need of benchmark applications that use DX 9 has been brought up. The benchmark uses the 3D engine (Krass engine) of 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 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 stresses the Graphics performance are the following:

In this section I 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.


Complicated particles in great numbers were a big challenge for previous GPUs to deal with. But with the latest chipsets released this issue is no more. And as you can see from the above results, there is a big difference between the 2 generations.

- 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.




Since the release of Radeon and FX cards, the Vertex and Pixel lighting techniques have been used in a great extend offering a new perspective on graphics. This part of the Aquamark benchmark renders complicated lighting effects, the very same used in games. Here again the X800 XT is very close to the seemigly indominable 6800 Ultra.

- 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 a bombastic scene.

This is an important test, because the explosions in games require much 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.

 

In this complicated explosion the previous generation VGA cards failed to keep their smooth performance falling to the unacceptable 28 fps score. But even to this most complicated graphical condition, Asus X800 XT managed to remain very stable keeping its performance is good levels.

- 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.

For 1459 points Asus' X800 XT is behind the 6800 Ultra card in Aquamark 3.




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