Roundup: Mainstream Graphics Cards From ATI And Nvidia

Benchmark Results: Tom Clancy’s EndWar

EndWar uses an enhanced Unreal 3 engine that looks very good on-screen. This game really isn’t ideal for benchmarking because its frame rate is capped at 30 FPS by a software limiter. This is typical for current real-time strategy games and limits setting options for benchmarking to a narrow range.

Nevertheless, we observed it was possible to depress frame rates below 30 FPS in Replay Kopenhagen. We could only use the 1920x1200 resolution without AA—in that case, the 3D engine and the fastest graphics cards all had enough headroom to hit the 30 FPS limit, which produced identical results for all contenders. Borderline cards in this category include the GeForce 9800 GTX+, which achieved frame rates of 29.5 FPS, which rounded up to 30 FPS. Any faster cards were clipped to 30 FPS, though they probably could have delivered at least a few more frames per second unfettered.

When AA was turned on, our measurements worked better, because the replay could load even the most powerful graphics cards more heavily. The top-end graphics card classes are sure to hit the 30 FPS ceiling more often, so we thus had to treat the results as producing absolutely fluid rendering (no more was possible in this game world). At the bottom of the range, results are less ambiguous—if a graphics card lacks sufficient power, a difference of 10 FPS means a 30% decrease in performance. The High graphics-quality slider setting was as high as we could go.

  • Bloodblender
    All I can say is that Tom's recent articles have been an excellent read, and this exactly the stuff I (as well as many others) require for their research purposes. Keep up the great work!
  • dirtmountain
    Nice article,very well done, but you need to show the 4670 in CF as costing $162, not $81 as shown in the final chart.
  • rambo117
    the iceQ concept is amazing. keeps my 3870s nice and chilly (70C) while hardcore gaming
    and not to mention they both look intimidating in my case ;)
  • pij
    Quick question -

    4770 in crossfire or single 4890 best bet???..
  • to me the gaming benches are most important but energy efficiency and heat dissipation run a close 2nd. thanks for providing it all!
  • Julianbreaker
    Newegg has quite a few 4850s that retail for $100 and it appears to be getting consistently better benchmarks than the 4770. I am confused as to why you would not recommend it over the 4770. Perhaps you are confused by simple maths.
  • radiowars
    PijQuick question - 4770 in crossfire or single 4890 best bet???..They already did a whole article on that...
  • bucifer
    I don't understand why you still won't use the 1GB version of the Radeon 4870. It's clear to me that the card is limited by it's amount of video memory when using hi-res, AA and AF.
    Searching for prices in US and Europe it retails cheaper than the GTX260(192 or 216).
    The point is: the card should be included in the test just as the GTX260-216. It's clearly a better option than the 512 mb version and it's good for comparison!
  • masterjaw
    Nice article here. Most importantly, no unnecessary bias included.
  • holodust
    Nice article, but I don't see how testing these cards on i7 920@3.8 fits into mainstream.