Unreal Tournament 2004 has replaced Quake 3 as our primary "old school" graphics benchmark, and now serves as our performance test for classic games where pixel power was far more important than the latest SM3.0 feature set. Although it is getting a bit on the elderly side, UT 2004 is still the most recent iteration (at least until UT 2007) of the popular UT series, and includes support for Botchmatch demos. It represents the current standard for Unreal Tournament graphics and performance, and is another good test for our video cards. For this benchmark test, we've used the BenchemAll GUI interface with the following options and settings: average of 3 Botmatch maps and maximum detail graphics.
The Unreal Tournament 2004 Botmatch benchmark results have the ASUS EAX1650XT 256MB posting adequate framerates, but following the standard Radeon X1000 format of lower-than usual performance in older games. These newer Radeon X16X0, X1800 and X19X0-based cards are tuned especially for SM2.0 and SM3.0 performance, and their architectures ensure top-end performance at this range. Unfortunately, there are some trade-offs, and in this case, it amounts to UT 2004 performance that falls back of the GeForce 6800 GS 256MB. In terms of a GeForce 7600 GT comparison, it's not even a contest.
Once we upgrade Unreal Tournament 2004 to 4X AA and 8X AF, the overall rankings do not shift, and the ASUS EAX1650XT 256MB remains ahead of the GeForce 7600 GS/Radeon X1600 XT crowd, but still can't outperform the GeForce 6800 GS or GeForce 7600 GT.
Half-Life 2 is another in a long line of serious first-person shooters from Valve, and the game has really taken FPS graphics to the next level. This is a great opportunity to push our graphics cards to the limit, as well as providing a point-counterpoint to DOOM 3. As with DOOM 3, there is also some CPU-reliance present in the scores, but in terms of relative performance, we still find the top-performing cards breaking away from the pack.
Half-Life 2 is a real highlight for the Radeon X1650 XT, and here we see the ASUS card burning out to a huge score, falling behind only the powerful Radeon X1800 XL and GeForce 7900 GT. We never expected a mainstream card to approach these two, and scores are only included for reference purposes, but the ASUS EAX1650XT 256MB certainly took a good run at them.
The detail level increase to 4X anti-aliasing and 8X anisotropic filtering brings the ASUS EAX1650XT 256MB back to Earth in a real hurry. Now the scores are more in tune with a mainstream performance graphics card, and while the ASUS board manages to stay ahead of the GeForce 6600 GS, the GeForce 7600 GT slips by it.