Quake 3 is a de facto 3D game benchmark here at Sharky Extreme, and due to its highly repeatable results, it is still one of the most popular methods of comparing different video cards. In this test suite we match up the video cards using version 1.30 and the included demo Four. Quake 3 benchmarks were run with the default High Quality options and the in-game detail levels ramped to maximum in our special MAX setting.
Our Quake 3 MAX benchmarks show some advantage for the Radeon 9800 XT OD, but the framerate jump is quite nominal, especially at 1600x1200. When compared to the Radeon 9800 Pro, the gap is more noticeable, and is over 20 fps at both resolutions. The Radeon 9800 XT raised the bar for ATI high-end Quake 3: Arena performance, and the Radeon 9800 XT OverDrive feature moves it up a few notches.
Once we add in 4X anti-aliasing and 8X anisotropic filtering to the Quake 3 mix, the Radeon 9800 XT OD shows a higher relative gain compared to the standard tests. This is where the higher OverDrive clock speeds really pay off with Quake 3.
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 Doom III 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 High Quality settings.
The Return to Castle Wolfenstein benchmark tests are the opposite of the Quake 3 scores, and the Radeon 9800 XT OD barely manages to the stay away of the standard Radeon 9800 XT.