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Catalyst 3.0 under the microscope: Are all good things really 3.0?

Catalyst 3.0 under the microscope: Are all good things really 3.0?

Aquanox

Aquanox offers a very attractive look, However, this is mainly achieved through conventional multitexturing effects, so that apart from the fill rate, only bandwidth really counts. It is obvious that a driver is usually not able to conjure up a lot out of nowhere, even if certain companies want to have developed a new driver time after time that can release 'up to 25% more performance'.

Aquanox D3D v1.17
  • 1024x768x32:
    • Catalyst 2.5
      59,3
    • Catalyst 2.4 (DX8)
      59,3
    • Catalyst 3.0
      59.0
  • 10x7x3 2xFSAA/2xAF:
    • Catalyst 3.0
      38.8
    • Catalyst 2.4 (DX8)
      38.6
    • Catalyst 2.5
      38,4
  • 10x7x3 4xFSAA/8xAF:
    • Catalyst 3.0
      25,8
    • Catalyst 2.5
      25.8
    • Catalyst 2.4(DX8)
      25.8
  • 1280x1024x32 :
    • Catalyst 3.0
      37.7
    • Catalyst 2.5
      37.7
    • Catalyst 2.4 (DX8)
      37,6
  • 12x10x3 2xFSAA/2xAF:
    • Catalyst 2.5
      22.0
    • Catalyst 2.4 (DX8)
      22.0
    • Catalyst 3.0
      21,9
  • 12x10x3 4xFSAA/8xAF:
    • Catalyst 3.0
      11,9
    • Catalyst 2.5
      11,9
    • Catalyst 2.4 (DX8)
      11.9

Stay as expected t the performance in the context of the previous versions. On the positive side, however, the flickering shadows on the ocean floor have disappeared since Catalyst 2.5 and were replaced by constantly visible shadows.

UT2003 Demo

As the newest game on our course, it could be Unreal Tournament 2003 would actually still benefit most from new drivers if it weren't for its pronounced hunger for CPU performance and bandwidth, especially in the 'BotMatch' part of the benchmark. Even so, most graphics cards can still let off steam in the environment we have provided. Only the GeForce4 Ti4600 or a Radeon9700pro would clearly show the limit of our CPU.

UT2003 Demo FlyBy
  • 1024x768x32:
    • Catalyst 2.5
      107.02
    • Catalyst 2.4(DX8)
      106.84
    • Catalyst 3.0
      104,83
  • 10x7x3 2xFSAA/2xAF:
    • Catalyst 2.5
      63,63
    • Catalyst 2.4 ( DX8)
      63,40
    • Catalyst 3.0
      63.06
  • 10x7x3 4xFSAA/8xAF:
    • Catalyst 3.0
      43,23
    • Catalyst 2.5
      42.93
    • Catalyst 2.4 (DX8)
      42.85
  • 1280x960x32:
    • Catalyst 2.5
      72,36
    • Catalyst 2.4 (DX8)
      72.08
    • Catalyst 3.0
      71,48
  • 12x9x3 2xFSAA/2xAF:
    • Catalyst 3.0
      39.62
    • Catalyst 2.5
      39,12
    • Catalyst 2.4 (DX8)
      38.83
  • 12x9x3 4xFSAA/8xAF:
    • Catalyst 3.0
      22.12
    • Catalyst 2.5
      20,64
    • Catalyst 2.4 (DX8)
      20.53

The only two benchmarks in which a noticeable difference between the drivers could be identified are unfortunately also those where it has the least practical use. Whether you speed through the levels in 1024 without FSAA and AF with 107 or 'only' 104fps is not really noticeable. It also doesn't help that the new Catalyst in 1280 with 4xFSAA and 8xAF3.0 is almost 7.2% faster than its predecessor. Because whether Antalus twitches past you with 20.5 or 22fps is also irrelevant.

UT2003 Demo Botmatch
  • 1024x768x32:
    • Catalyst 2.5
      46,73
    • Catalyst 2.4 (DX8)
      46,62
    • Catalyst 3.0
      46,16
  • 10x7x3 2xFSAA/2xAF:
    • Catalyst 2.5
      40 , 92
    • Catalyst 2.4 (DX8)
      40.65
    • Catalyst 3.0
      40,33
  • 10x7x3 4xFSAA/8xAF:
    • Catalyst 3.0
      26, 55
    • Catalyst 2.5
      25,92
    • Catalyst 2.4 (DX8)
      25.83
  • 1280x960x32:
    • Catalyst 2.5
      43.78
    • Catalyst 2.4 (DX8 )
      43,67
    • Catalyst 3.0
      43.07
  • 12x9x3 2xFSAA/2xAF:
    • Catalyst 3.0
      23.87
    • Catalyst 2.5
      23,33
    • Catalyst 2.4 (DX8)
      23,13
  • 12x9x3 4xFSAA/8xAF:
    • Catalyst 3.0
      13,10
    • Catalyst 2.5
      13,03
    • Catalyst 2.4 (DX8)
      12.94

Alsoin the botmatch there are no serious or even noteworthy differences between the drivers. The hope that the somewhat higher CPU load of the ATi drivers could be reduced compared to the competition from nVidia is unfortunately dashed.

On the next page: Serious Sam SE OGL