Review Index:

Pixel Shader 3.0 in Motion: FarCry 1.2 Patch Test

Author: Ryan Shrout
Manufacturer: NVIDIA

GeForce 6800 Ultra - Dam Demo

To quote a classic cult movie: "Excuse me sir, is this a god dam?"

FarCry - Dam Demo

The Dam level is much more intense than the Fort level we used on the previous page.  This demo takes place mostly in open outdoors, in high vantage points looking out across a lot of area.  Because of this, there is a lot more that needs to be rendered and the hit on performance is obvious.  I chose this level mainly because of the interactions between characters as you approach the bunker at the top of the hill.  CPU controlled characters fire at each other and fall to the ground giving off explosions and gun fire, making it a true gaming experience to be benchmarked.

You can quickly see, by looking at the line graph, that this level is much more intense on the system being tested.  The Min FPS is around 28 for both SM2 and SM3. The graph shows this low limit being approached fairly often in the latter half of the demo.  Because it is more intense, the SM3.0 path gets a benefit here of 4 FPS right off the bat, even without the AA and AF turned on.

Interestingly, with AA and AF turned on, the SM3.0 path benefit almost disappears, as the Avg FPS gain is only 2 FPS this time.  The Max FPS does increase by 7 FPS but the Min FPS, the one we consider most important, is still evenly matched.

After increasing the resolution, the performance gain of the SM3.0 path is about 5% when comparing the Avg FPS, a modest increase.  The Max and Min FPS get only minor increases here as well.  If you notice on the line graph there are curious spikes where SM2.0 makes dramatic frame jumps over the SM3.0 runs.  Keep in mind that because these framerates were recorded once a second, and that the demos took varying amounts of time to run, the exact peaks and troughs may not line up.

Turning Antialiasing up to 4x and Anisotropic filtering up to 8x again brings the benefits of SM3.0 to a better light.  This time, the Avg FPS is increased by 6 FPS, or 15% and the Max FPS gets an 18% increase from 89 to 105 using the new path.  And while the minimum FPS is kept slightly higher, looking at the time-based graph shows us that the game is simply not playable at this resolution on this level -- the framerate stays below 30 for way too much time.