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Facelift: The ATi Radeon 9600 XT

Battlefield 1942 - Secret Weapons Of WWII

This is the newest version of the very popular first person shooter from EA Games. The game uses the so-called Refractor II 3D engine, which uses neither pixel nor vertex shader. As the game offers no benchmark or replay modes, we tested the in-game performance "by hand."

We started a local server with the map "Hoolendoorn" and played as an axis soldier. After spawning, we walked towards an unmanned tank, got in and drove it along a pre-determined route. After arriving at the end of this little trip, we got out an did a 360° turn. Since we can't guarantee that we got the completely same route every time, give the scores below a tolerance of +/- 2-4 frames. The fact that the NVIDIA cards stuttered every once in a while didn't make the whole procedure any easier either...

The results are suprising indeed, especially considering that the original BF 1942 has been available for quite a while now and doesn't use any pixel or vertex shaders. NVIDIA's FX cards stutter every 2-3 seconds, even when they were running at framerates of 70fps. NVIDIA seems to have found a solution, though, as the stuttering vanished when the v52.16 drivers were installed.

ATi's 9600 cards are around twice as fast as NVIDIA's GeForce FX 5600 Ultra. As before, the performance delta only diminishes starting at 1600x1200. With 52.16 drivers, the FX5600 Ultra performs much better but still not good enough to beat the 9600 XT.