Splinter Cell Chaos Theory Performance Test

Firingsquad has a new <A HREF="http://www.firingsquad.com/hardware/splinter_cell_chaos_theory_1/default.asp" target="_new">SCCT performance review</A>. This is a good game demo for GF6 owners to try as the SM3.0 with HDR makes for a nice looking game to check out even if it's not right up your alley for gameplay.

Anyway, big news is that it seems ATI owners are still stuck with only 1.1 shaders as there is no 2.0 shaders in the retail game so far, just like in the demo. GF6 owners get the option of 1.1 or 3.0 shaders. Be aware, the game defaults to PS3.0 with HDR on GF6800 series anyway, so initial framerates will not be what you are used to seeing in a game.

While NV owners get the better gaming experience overall with more visual options, I didn't find a real performance boost using 3.0 mode in the demo but did see improvements when I updated to the latest NV drivers. But it's ATI owners getting the best performance so far. I think in the future they should show more NV 3.0 shader to ATI 1.1 shader comparisons, if that's how card owners will be playing the game. Hard game to bench, but NV should be shown both ways (1.1 and 3.0) IMO. Keep in mind this is a timedemo that was provided with the game, so I question how fair/impartial it is, and how it reflects real gameplay. I can't say if it is a TWIMTB<b>Benched</b> timedemo benefitting NV or not, But it is clear that UBI really left ATI out of the picture by making this a shader 1.1 or shader 3.0 game only.

You can see the performance hit as well as screen images of HDR. HDR looks amazing. But they do not show the LOW framerates with HDR, only the average. My own testing of the demo so far has shown framerates way too low at times to ever consider HDR at resolutions above 1024x768. So I would like to have seen low's listed too, not just average fps. Not to mention this is a timedemo, not actual gameplay. But IMO, it paints a much better HDR performance picture than actual gameplay will show. GF6 owners <A HREF="http://www.gamershell.com/download_8455.shtml" target="_new">try the demo</A> and judge for yourself. I am sure there will be follow ups to this initial review, so we'll have to wait and see how the story unfolds. Not sure if this will become a standard benched game or not due to extra time involved for the reviewers.

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  1. Well, no major interest so far, but I had one comment to add. In the Review comments section, someone asked how playable it was with HDR, and the reviewer commented that at 1024x768 with HDR on, the minimum framerates for the GF6800U was 24.5fps, and for the 6800GT the minimum was 14.8 fps. And that more falls in line with what I have seen. Keep in mind, HDR is on by default. Anyway, They really should have commented on that in the review as the average framerates for the timedemo isn't a clear picture of the playablility with HDR. Anyway, see comment 13 at end of their review.

    Another interesting line from that comment is:

    <i>"We will certainly be exploring that in future
    articles, but right now we have lots of NDA content on tap for early
    next week that needs to be written about first so that will have to
    wait. "</i>

    Loads of NDA content for early this week. Sounds good to me. R520? Wishful thinking. :eek:

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    <P ID="edit"><FONT SIZE=-1><EM>Edited by Pauldh on 04/03/05 03:01 PM.</EM></FONT></P>
  2. What is HDR?

    Welcome to my Shed of Pleasure
  3. HDR = High Dynamic Range lighting. [H] had <A HREF="http://www.hardocp.com/article.html?art=Njc4LDQ=" target="_new">a little writeup</A> on it back when farcry patch 1.3 came out.

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  4. they're going to implement HDR in hl2 i think (i'll try to get linky) but is there any real visual difference between sm1.1 and sm3.0? because nobody in reveiws really mentions it that much

    great minds think alike, fools seldom differ...
  5. I hadn't heard that. With HL2 framerates so high, maybe valve can implement HDR with playable framerates. Rough thing will be HL2 really benefits from AA, so if you have a high end card, it's a trade off; Use HDR or AA?

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  6. Err I thought HDR was already in HL2?

    Geez am I the only one who's missing out on some info?!

    I remember the HL2 tech demo showing HDR, and I clearly remember CSS having HDR in Dust.

    What the heck is going on here?

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  7. Ok after seeing the images and benches, I have to say: no offense but if Ubisoft set out to make their game pro-nVidia, they sure sucked at it.

    I was expecting an ATi thrashing!
    Instead I see my card plain kickin' ass. :cool:

    Not to mention, even WITH SM3.0, the thing Kinney was hopped up on, the cards would never reach ATi's level of performance. And just imagine if ATi had SM3! Not only this but to see that hardware shadow mapping (whatever that is), described as performance enhancing, not even enabled on the ATis is even more funny.

    Also, as far as some of the images, I can honestly tell you that someone seriously doesn't know how to code for HDR, IMO. Christ, in many of the shots, there is barely THAT much HDR, and yet we see a halving of performance most of the time? Sorry but that just doesn't register as "proper implementation". HDR is like an extra light added, most of the time. It just shouldn't have such an impact. In fact it can also act as a contrast field heightener if anything. I'm just plain disappointed at the performance impact taken for such a visual enhancement.

    One observation, in the last SM1.1 vs SM3 comparison pics, is it me or is SM1.1 actually the one who is mislabeled and should SM3? I mean, look at the brightness, it clearly is HDR in the first pic!

    Oy, a bit of a messy start for the game I'd say. In anycase, my card rules. :tongue: [/hey let me gloat a bit, it's been 2 years I've been touting a video change, and Ape teased me all that time about it!]

    PS: The XL does too. :wink:

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  8. yeah, about when i said hdr will be in hl2, it will only be in a new level/map they will be releasing separate to the original, like a mod downloadable through steam, still can find a link on it, although i think hdr and nice 4xAA will be possible with x800s and 6800s seeing the kind of frame rates these card can acheive

    and i hope drivers come out for scct to help with the hdr and sm1.1 (i want 2.0 for my x800pro) or i may just have to get it for the xbox

    found a link <A HREF="http://forums.steampowered.com/forums/showthread.php?s=27fcb68da23d364cb664fad80382bdea&threadid=270319">steam forums</A>

    screw the clickie (sorry): http://forums.steampowered.com/forums/showthread.php?s=27fcb68da23d364cb664fad80382bdea&threadid=270319

    great minds think alike, fools seldom differ...<P ID="edit"><FONT SIZE=-1><EM>Edited by tedlogun on 04/04/05 10:46 AM.</EM></FONT></P>
  9. I was a little busy over the weekend going out and (<A HREF="http://forumz.tomshardware.com/software/modules.php?name=Forums&file=viewtopic&p=51542#51542" target="_new">figuring THIS out</A> no replies you'll notice, and up to this point I think the only pageview is from someone I specifically directed to the thread, wow talk about dead region of THGC). Saw Sin City also, awesome, and easily lend itself to game format I think, just need a good engine (maybe even XIII's engine).

    ANYWHOOOOoo0oo, Notice that while they mention noticeable differences, they aren't much more impressive than just PS1.4 v. 1.1 like we've seen in Morrowind. Sure it's nice, but it's definitely not a PS2.0 vs 3.0 comparison, so it ends up being almost a useless IQ comparo.

    Interesting that the ATI's performance is without basic acceleration benifits (like ) which UBI says is supported, but for some reason doesn't work, and eve with those benifits the nV's don't quite catch up. It does make it easy to decide which card is #1 and the reasons, like FiringSquad did, but it does make the game effectively useless for comparison, and like Eden mention, kinda shows that even with this advantages it's not that impressive a difference for how much everyone else is held back (remember it's not just ATi with other PS2.0. parts out there).

    - You need a licence to buy a gun, but they'll sell anyone a stamp <i>(or internet account)</i> ! - <A HREF="http://www.redgreen.com/" target="_new"><font color=green>RED </font color=green> <font color=red> GREEN</font color=red></A> GA to SK :evil:
  10. HDR was already implemented in the HL2 demos and in one of the offshoots (CS:S or Vampires or something).

    As it is HDR similar to rthdribl (supposedly), it shouldn't have too much performance penalty. They may also be adding FP-HDR, but I don't think so (not sure), and that would be like FartCry/nV's technique.

    What Splinter Cell looks like to me more than being preferential is being lazy. From what I've read it's between 50-100man hrs to add the PS2.0 path, and they didn't bother. This to me would make sense when your target market it Xbox, and then the two gaming extremes, old cards (1.1) and new+NextGen cards (3.0+). Bringing out another PS2.0 game doesn't get you much attention, bringing out an 'SM3.0' game garners a ton of attention even if it's not really a good showcase of the technology. The GDR stuff looks ok, but not as impressive as the FartCry effects, some of which are quite impressive. Compare;

    <A HREF="http://www.firingsquad.com/media/hirez.asp?file=/hardware/far_cry_1.3_midrange/images/09.jpg" target="_new">No HDR</A> and <A HREF="http://www.firingsquad.com/media/hirez.asp?file=/hardware/far_cry_1.3_midrange/images/10.jpg" target="_new">The Lowest setting of HDR</A>

    Now that's a more stark contrast than splinter cell. And the temporary flare effect when looking out from the foliage, that's impressive as an effect with HDR. HDR on Slinter Cell is like the Difference between 4XAF and 16X AF, nice and you'd use it if you can, but not a killer app.

    As much as it's interesting trying to put the conspiracy on this, I think UBi simply decided it wasn't worth the extra 100man hours to polish the game for PS2.0 users (which doesn't include the FX owners). I'm sure that if those extra man hours had offered benifit to nV owners you'd see them spend the extra time because they'd be trying to please their partner, but since it only benifits 3rd parties, ahh save the money.

    - You need a licence to buy a gun, but they'll sell anyone a stamp <i>(or internet account)</i> ! - <A HREF="http://www.redgreen.com/" target="_new"><font color=green>RED </font color=green> <font color=red> GREEN</font color=red></A> GA to SK :evil:
  11. There's a huge difference, but the lights seemed TOO bright with the HDR? Is that just me?

    <font color=red>You're a boil on the arse of progress - don't make me squeeze you!</font color=red>
  12. Yeah they do seem a little over bright esepcially when you see it with HDR 11 or even 6 instead of 1.

    But at least that one is like, "Wholey that's a big diff!", whereas Splinter Cell is, "well that's nice".

    Many HDR effects currently have the 'overbright aspect to it. It works for some things and that's the way we would perceive it in reality (like the foliage/sun flare in FartCry), but sometime it does seem lick a gimmicky effect. I'm not sure if it'll look any more natural when it goes to FP32 instead of FP16, I'd doubt it, but who knows, gonna have to wait for the next gen cards (R520/G70-80) to find out for sure.

    - You need a licence to buy a gun, but they'll sell anyone a stamp <i>(or internet account)</i> ! - <A HREF="http://www.redgreen.com/" target="_new"><font color=green>RED </font color=green> <font color=red> GREEN</font color=red></A> GA to SK :evil:
  13. I think HDR adds alot to the SCCT demo without ever looking too overbright. Swapping back and forth between PS1.1 and PS3.0 with HDR to me showed a very noticable difference. And that's why I wasn't happy either way. I clearly like the look of HDR, but had poor performance. Turn HDR off and the performance is alot better but the game seems definatetly darker and honestly way less impressive. Maybe if I had only played it at PS1.1, I'd have been ok with it. But reducing eye candy is hard to swallow and remain perfectly content. I'm pretty much sold that HDR can make for a nicer gaming expereince, but a 6800U is too whimpy to make it real practical. 24.5 fps low for the 6800U and 14.8 fps low for the 6800GT at plain ole 1024x768, doesn't cut it in my book. Then check all the other shader 3.0 options(soft shadows, tone mapping, parallax mapping) and it's even worse.

    Let me ask you, is AA ever compatible with HDR? ie. can both work at once depending on the implementation of HDR used? I have no clue. If powerful enough, is there any chance that say a R520 could play at 1280x1024 4XAA/8XAF with HDR also? Will it depend on the game, or are the two mutually exclusive eye candy options?

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  14. Yes the HDR in FC was overexposed. It's far from reality I'd say, especially if any of you remember that weird reactor shot where the blue light was so strong it started hiding most of the reactor itself.

    It is definitely not your average real life lighting effect.

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  15. What I don't quite yet grasp is why is HDR suddenly a SM3 technology?

    Wasn't that thing advertised way back in the beginnings of DX9? And since ATis can do it since the R300, why is SCCT making it hard for us to access a technology we R300+ users all can get?

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