Serious Sam: The Second Encounter is a great sequel in the popular franchise and the benchmark portion is even better than the original. This new game not only puts the pressure on new 3D cards (especially at higher resolutions) but provides some excellent in-game demos in wide open spaces with tons of enemies. For our specific tests, we have used the Elephant Atrium demo to determine potential framerates, using both 16 and 32-bit modes.
The Serious Sam: The Second Encounter 16-bit scores don't really change the structure of the GeForce4 Ti 4200 battle, though again the actual results are very close. The 128-MB of memory simply doesn't lend itself as well to Serious Sam performance, as compared the higher memory speed.
The 32-bit benchmarks are once again very consistent with previous results, with the GeForce4 Ti 4200 64-MB squeaking out a slight victory over the VisionTek Xtasy GeForce4 Ti 4200 128-MB board. Also take a peek at the performance advantage both have over previous GeForce3 Ti 500 and 200 cards, as well as the true framerate difference between the GeForce4 Ti 4600 and 4400.
Return to Castle Wolfenstein is another Quake engine game, but with some notable differences. The basic game engine may be the same, but the graphics, gameplay and the stress it puts on a 3D card are very different. Until the next Quake game appears, RtCW is the next best way to determine high-end Quake engine performance. We have employed the Checkpoint MP demo for our testing, using the default Normal (16-bit) and High Quality settings.
The Return to Castle Wolfenstein Normal testing give us yet another confirmation of what feature matters most to current games, as the GeForce4 Ti 4200 64-MB takes another very close race. The Radeon 8500 128-MB performs quite well in this area, and can even give the powerful GeForce4 Ti 4600 and 4400 a good run for their money.
Overall framerates drop back quite noticeably once we enable High Quality detail settings. The competition between the two Ti 4200 cards is much tighter, and even though the 64-MB card does finish slightly higher, the race is almost too close to call. The Radeon 8500 is also hanging tough in its battle with the GeForce4 Ti 4600 and 4400.