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.
Serious Sam: The Second Encounter tends to favor NVIDIA cards at the lower resolutions, and even the 300/275 MHz Optimus 8500 eXP can't make up the gap. Once we reach 1280x1024, both Radon 8500-based cards are breathing down the neck of the GeForce4 Ti 4200, and at 1600x1200, the Optimus 8500 eXP takes the lead. As in other game benchmarks, the GeForce4 Ti 4400 and 4600 are simply too powerful for ATI's current tech to match.
The 32-bit scores follow almost the exact same pattern, and also show the Optimus 8500 eXP taking out the GeForce4 Ti 4200 128-MB card a bit earlier at 1280x1024, and both GeForce4 Ti 4200 versions at 1600x1200.
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.
Radeon 8500 cards have historically posted excellent performance numbers with Return to Castle Wolfenstein. This time it's no different, but the higher-clocked Optimus 8500 eXP does improve on previous scores, spanking the GeForce4 Ti line right up to the 4400. Even the GeForce4 Ti 4600 doesnt win by much and the features of RtCW seem quite conducive to the Radeon 8500 architecture.
Once we enable High Quality detail settings, the scenario doesn't change that much, but the Optimus 8500 eXP loses its performance advantage over the GeForce4 Ti 4400. Both Radeon 8500 cards still outperform the GeForce4 Ti 4200 line, especially at 1280x1024 and 1600x1200.