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Home > Hardware Reviews > Graphics Cards

Wednesday, October 27, 2004
PowerColor X300

4. 3DMark05

3DMark05 - Page 04

With 3DMark05, Futuremark continues the tradition in its benchmarking software by providing a state-of-the-art Microsoft ® DirectX ® 9 3D performance benchmark.
3DMark05 is an all new 3DMark version taking the most out of Microsoft's DirectX 9. The previous version 3DMark03, did a nice introduction into this level of technology. However 3DMark03 used DirectX 9 specific features in a limited manner, because fully supporting hardware was rare at the time of its launch. In contrast, 3DMark05 requires DirectX 9 hardware with full support for at least Shader Model 2, and takes shader usage to never before seen levels.
Just like its predecessors, 3DMark05's point system is set so that at the moment of release, the high-end VGA cards available in stores can only score around 5000 3DMarks, whereas the worst card that meets the programs requirements yields a score of 1000.

Game Test 1 - Return to Proxycon

Being the sequel to the "Battle of Proxycon" from 3DMark03, in "Return to Proxycon" we're once again set in space and the battle continues as space pirates invade a cargo ship in order to take control of its valuable cargo.

This test tries to simulate a future first-person shooter game with all the high details that it entails. The dynamic shadows, high-detailed environment and advanced lighting techniques ensure that under normal circumstances, no recent card can run it with decent frame rates.

The framerates on the first test of the 3DMark05 are really low in comparison to GT1 in 3DMark03, where a typical card would get more that 200+ fps. Still, the X300 performed suprizingly better than the 9600pro.

Game Test 2 - Firefly Forest

A forest gets filled with magic fireflies in the night. The moon is nearly full, illuminating the forest with a bluish faint light. The magic fireflies have flickering bright green lights that playfully move around the forest.

This scene is a nice example of a smaller scale outdoor scene with rich vegetation. Immediate visibility is not so far, and there is a skybox surrounding the whole scene.

A large number of trees with their branches swinging separately, and dense vegetation being dynamically distributed according to the camera movements, make this test the most demanding of the three.

 

With only a negligible difference of 0.2 between them, we can only conclude that the two cards are equally slow...

Game Test 3 - Canyon Flight

A Jules Verne type airship flies through a canyon guarded by a dangerous sea monster. The airmen defend their ship using heavy cannons, but these seem to have no effect on the huge sea monster. Finally the crew manages a narrow escape using the "last resort" afterburners of the airship.

This scene is fairly complex with large areas of water reflecting the high canyon walls. The water actually is one of the key points of interest in this scene. The water not only does realistic looking reflections and refractions, it has a depth fog, making the sea monster swimming under the airship actually look deep down in the water. The air in this scene also uses
a volumetric fog, making distant cliffs of the canyon really look far away.

 

The X300 performed slightly slower than the 9600pro. This game test is the lighter, yet most impressive of the three and hence the higher framerates.

Final Score

 3DMarks on 3DMark05 are now calculated by the following formula:

(Game Test 1 * Game Test 2 * Game Test 3)^0.33 * 250

That's basically the geometric mean of the total frames in each game multiplied by 250. That means that all game tests are now equal.

Let's see our result for the X300:

The conclusion depends on your way of looking at the scores. According to Futuremark, 1000 3dmarks is the minimum score you'll ever get with a videocard on 3DMark05. In which case the X300's 1045 points are a bit disappointing. On the other hand though, its score is at the same level as the 9600pro. Maybe some older benchmarks with a wider range of scores will provide us with a clearer indication.




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