by Rob Williams on March 31, 2008 in Graphics & Displays
NVIDIA’s 9600 GT card is a great offering for the price range, but ASUS ups the ante by offering a TOP version that adds 70MHz to the core and 100MHz to the memory. Add in HDMI support and the ability to overclock the card even higher… then the EN9600GT TOP proves to be a great offering.
Each graph for our benchmarking results are labeled with the resolution that the game was played at, while omitting secondary settings such as Anti-Aliasing, Anisotropic Filtering, texture quality, et cetera. To view all specific settings that we used, please refer to our testing methodology page, where we have screenshots for each game.
Post-apocalyptic FPS games have been done over and over, but S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Shadow of Chernobyl was unique in many ways. First was the fact that the story was loosely based off of a real-life tragedy, the Chernobyl nuclear plant explosion, with the player starting out post-disaster working to survive in the now very brutal world.
One of the areas where the game excelled was with the depth. It was an open world with non-linear gameplay. AI was not top-rate, but reacted in a mostly realistic way, so it’s pretty much impossible to just stroll through the game and not expect to die. Coupled with the ability to keep an inventory and sell artifacts you find along your journey makes this game an immersive experience.
The level we use for our testing is a “Thumb Drive” mission that occurs earlier in the game. The premise is simple… walk into a small camp that’s being inhabited by enemy Stalkers, wipe them out and go deliver a thumb drive to a lone Stalker huddled around a campfire. The entire quest takes between four and five minutes from our starting point.
Settings: Static lighting and medium quality is used for our lowest resolution here, while 1920 and 2560 use full dynamic lighting along with high quality settings.
While games like Crysis remain playable with only 15 – 20 FPS, STALKER is an example of one game that should have at least 40FPS on average in order to remain easy on the eyes. In that case, the only cards to hit that target at 2560×1600 are the top three in our graph. But looking at 1920×1200 and lower, the EN9600GT TOP manages to deliver respectable results all around.
Unreal Tournament III
The Unreal series has always been one that’s pushed graphics to the next level. Surprisingly, though, as the graphics improve, the game still remains playable on a reasonable machine, with good FPS. How often is that the case?
“Gateway” is our level of choice for a few different reasons. The first and most notable is the fact that it’s a great level, and chock-full of eye-candy. The entire level consists of three different areas that can be accessed through portals, or “gateways”. The area we begin out in is a snow-filled wonderland, similar to Lost Planet’s winter levels, with a futuristic city and waterfall area also being accessible.
Settings: All in-game settings are maxed out, with physics and smooth frame rate disabled.
Once again, thanks to the overclocked settings of our EN9600GT, UTIII delivered identical performance on both that card and Palit’s 8800 GT.