R600: Finally DX10 Hardware from ATI

Dude! Where's My Driver?

Okay, you have seen what R600 can do under Windows XP. We continue to run most of our benchmarks on Windows XP Professional because frankly, most of you still are on an XP platform. Prior to the Vista launch, we did some testing on Vista Ultimate. The performance was less than stellar from both camps. ATI did not yet have an OpenGL driver and Nvidia had its own performance problems. At launch both were doing better as ATI included their own OpenGL hardware driver but Nvidia still didn't look much better.

We thought that a launch of a DX10 card should be put under the microscope of the OS for which it is primarily built. DX10 is the Vista API and what a better place to try it out. Both companies have had six months to build drivers. While ATI did not have a DX10 card commercially available during that time, it has had the technology and Vista drivers for its existing product lines. Nvidia has publicly had its hardware available so it should shine under Windows Vista Ultimate right? **author coughs**

ATI really only had one issue, OpenGL performance in Doom 3. We understand that Vista sucks about 10% of the frame rate away from most applications due to the driver. However, the performance under the Doom 3 engine could use some work. Hopefully this can be resolved with upcoming Catalyst releases.

Source: Valve Software

Nvidia on the other hand had some really weird issues. Other than the system rebooting for the fun of it in an application, the best was waiting for two to three minutes while 3DMark05 tried to calculate a score or the load times between tests. The expression on Heavy Weapons Guy's face from Team Fortress 2 comes close to how I feel about the way Nvidia's last minute driver did during testing. G80 has been out for six months and Vista has been available to Nvidia developers longer than that. The system rebooted for no apparent reason from the desktop twice and six times in different applications. This kind of instability does not sit well with me. Customers would be fuming if it happened to them. Doom 3 had a drop of almost 40 frames per second compared to XP. Conversely, the numbers for F.E.A.R. were very good so I have to give Nvidia credit there.

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