Pixel Shader Performance
SiS's new Xabre400 has one great advantage over NVIDIA's and ATi's low cost cards - a pixel shader unit, which allows freely programmable texture effects. Unlike vertex shaders, a pixel shader can not be emulated in software, putting the competition at a serious disadvantage. Of course, the question arises how fast the Xabre's pixel shader really is. 3D Mark offers a number of tests to answer this very question.
The Xabre will be measured against a GeForceTi500, a GeForce4 Ti4600 and a Radeon 8500. Of course, this comparison pitting a low cost card against three high end offerings is anything but fair, but for lack of competition in the same price segment there really isn't much of a choice.
Game 4 - Nature
This part of the benchmark uses the pixel shaders to render flowing water:
This scene depends heavily on DirectX 8 features. The trees, grass and butterflies are animated, transformed and lit using vertex shaders. The movements of the fisherman are made by morphing, also using a vertex shader. The surface of the lake uses vertex shaders, pixel shaders and cube maps. Due to the pixel shader use, this test cannot be run without DX8 compatible graphics hardware. The scene only has a high detail run and affects the 3DMark score accordingly.
The Xabre400 doesn't cut a bad figure at all in this test when compared to the GeForce3 Ti500. Nonetheless, it is inevitable that the GeForce4 Ti4600 and the Radeon 8500 should dominate this test.