AGP Platform Analysis, Part 1: New Cards, Old System

X3: Reunion

Let's start the gaming benchmarks off with X3: Reunion, probably the prettiest (and therefore most graphically demanding) 3d space sim out there today. At 1024x768 and 2x AA, things seem pretty CPU-bound on the Athlon XP 2500+. Even the 9700 PRO puts in a playable performance at this resolution.

I'd like to note that while the minimum frame rate seems low, it occurred during a very short segment of a very long test. The great majority of the time, the frame rates were above 25, and I'd say the game is very playable at this detail setting with any of these cards.

Let's crank it up a notch by setting the game to 1600x1200 and increasing the shader quality. Now the CPU bottlenecking becomes quite clear, as all of the new AGP cards sport identical scores within the margin of error.

Once again, the minimum frame rates misrepresent the ability of these cards to play this game. I'd say it's plenty playable at these settings on any card we tested, except the old 9700 PRO, which is limited by its own lack of power and unable to cope with this resolution.