We tested the card with Test Drive Unlimited, TES: Oblivion, and with 3Dmark 06. We showed no mercy, so in most of the games we turned the eye candy on, which resulted with relative low frame rates. We tried to bring the card to its knees. When we drove the races, we were racing like in Carmageddon – trying to punch the opponents and frame rate to the ground.
Oblivion was complicated to benchmark, but we managed to make two tests. The first one was too much for the card, but the second one went easy on the card.
All the tests were tested at default frequencies, and at overclocked ones (GPU 640 / MEM 1600). In Oblivion we had two runs for every test, because of the loading from hard drive to RAM.
As we see
in the table with scores, even at 1024x768 resolution, we cannot achieve high frame
rates. 62 FPS is max when there are no other cars on the screen. You can expect about 40
FPS max while driving through Honolulu.
The bad thing is that in most resolutions you will have to set the detail level to medium to get decent frame rates. Also forget about Antialiasing as it kills the performance. Anisotropic filtering can be used, as proven by the scores, but values higher than 4X hurt the performance too much.
Test drive is playable at 1024x768. Higher resolutions are not recommended.
When we overclocked the card to 640/1600, things went much better. At high resolutions we can now get playable frame rates, but the details still have to be set to medium. Anisotropic filtering and even Antialiasing won't kill the performance if you keep them at minimal values.
The game has stressed the card a lot. If you have a 20" widescreen, playing in its native resolution won't give you satisfaction, and in lower resolutions the graphics don't look so good. So, if you are ready to compromise, then the card has passed the test.
Oblivion is a very stressful test, and a crash test for the reviewer's nerves. We were searching for what hurts the performance the most. We found out that you get the greatest frame drops when you pick a fight in areas full of grass and trees. So no picniking please.
Picking a fight in Oblivion will stress the card a lot.
Here we started the descent
And here it ended
We did two tests. The first one is a fight with a city guard near Cheydinhal. Frankly, we think that the fighting scenes are the most important, because low fram erates during the fight mean that you won't be able to react in time. Without overclocking, the results are not what we would call playable. The situation changes when we rose the frequencies of the card. Now we are getting somewhere. Even at high resolutions the frame rate didn't drop below 22 frames.
The second benchmark was a descent from the mountains that surround the city of Cheydinhal to the city itself. As there is no vegetation in the mountains, that's why we get the highest framerates here. The lower we go, the forest becomes denser, and the frame rate drops. All we said for Test drive applies here. If you want to play at higher resolutions, the default card doesn't have enough power. But when overclocked, the card gives us the possibility even to use anisotropic filtering.