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.
The Quake 3 MAX test scores show the XFX GeForce FX 5900 Ultra keeping pretty good time with the high-end Radeon 9800-based cards, and even surpassing the standard Radeon 9800 XT and 9800 Pro scores at 1280x1024. Once we hit 1600x1200, the XFX card falls back just a bit, but still places ahead of the standard Radeon 9800 Pro. These are some pretty high-end Quake 3 framerates, though only a nominal improvement over previous driver revisions.
The Quake 3 benchmarking, with 4X anti-aliasing and 8X anisotropic filtering added in, shows a bit different scenario. The XFX GeForce FX 5900 Ultra falls back from the Radeon 9800 XT crowd, but still manages to slide in next to the Radeon 9800 Pro.
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.
Return to Castle Wolfenstein is another nice benchmark showing for the XFX GeForce FX 5900 Ultra, and in standard mode, the NVIDIA-based card takes top spot at both resolutions, even surpassing the Radeon 9800 XT with OverDrive enabled.
The higher detail 4X AA and 8X AF settings put a bit more strain on the video cards, and XFX GeForce FX 5900 Ultra falls behind the Radeon 9800 XT, while staying a bit ahead of the standard Radeon 9800 Pro.