ATI RADEON 8500LE Review
By Vince Freeman :
March 11, 2002
Return to Castle Wolfenstein Performance
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 is very different. Until the next Quake game appears, RtCW is the next best way to determine high-end Quake engine performance. We have used the Checkpoint MP demo using the default Normal (16-bit) and High Quality settings.
In both cases, the NVIDIA cards go out to an early lead at 640x480, but are rapidly pursued by the two ATI boards. Once we hit 1600x1200, both the Radeon 8500LE and 8500 take over the lead. The differences are quite noticeable (especially at Normal detail) and may point to an ATI advantage in higher-resolution RtCW gaming. Both the 8500LE and 8500 posted similar scores once again, but there were some interesting differences that occurred at certain areas. For example, the Radeon 8500 was a bit faster at 1600x1200 Normal, while the Radeon 8500LE had a nice margin at 1600x1200 High Quality.
Aquanox is somewhat like 3DMark 2001, in that it offers a glimpse at what newer DX8 games may look and play like. The latest version of the game clears up any problems with NVIDIA drivers or the ATI pixel engine and runs smoothly on either card. We have used the in-game benchmark, with 32 MB of textures, pixel shading activated, and tested at both 16 and 32-bit color depths.
Aquanox also follows the pattern of the GeForce3 taking an early lead, and the ATI boards finishing up with a slight lead. The differences at 640x480 are quite noticeable and the GeForce3 Ti 500 turns in some excellent scores. Once we move higher, the lead starts to evaporate and the Radeon 8500LE and 8500 start to take over. Once again both ATI cards posted very similar results, though in this case the Radeon 8500 gets the slight nod.