Recently we received our preview copy of Massive Development's upcoming and much anticipated DirectX 9 (DX9) benchmark called, AquaMark 3 - The reality benchmark. It is based on the Krass engine which is used with such games as Aquanox and Aquanox 2.
The main purpose of this benchmark which will be released to public for free on the 15th of this month is to measure the gaming performance of current and future graphics cards for the next 12 months based on DX9 technology - such as NV35 and R350.
This benchmark comes at a rather interesting time, actually. Not only has benchmarking in the tech community been put under the spotlight over the past 8 months with the need for more accurate benchmarks, if you have been keeping up with the news over the past week, you would have heard problems facing nVidia with Valve's Half Life 2 game and their not-so-brilliant GPU DX9 performance against ATI's Radeon 9800 Pro which shined at ATi's recent Shaders Day event as much as Michael Schumacher would if he just won a F1 race in Germany. At this event, Gabe from Value showed various media benchmarks of Half Life 2 with various cards from nVidia and ATI.
In certain benchmarks, ATI's Radeon 9800 Pro was twice as fast as nVidia's GeForce FX 5900 Ultra with nVidia's GeForce FX 5200 and 5600 cards being at such low frame rates which would render the game unplayable. Shortly after the event, nVidia issued an official response about the claims asking why Gabe and the rest of the team from Valve did not use the latest beta Detonator 50 drivers which they apparently had over two weeks before the event, which nVidia say are optimized for better DX9 performance - the same technology Half Life 2 and AquaMark 3 are based on. We will not even bother guessing why Valve did not use the latest drivers as it is not our job to do so, and really it is irrelevant at this point in time.
While taking a preview look at AquaMark 3, we thought it might be interesting to compare a reference GeForce FX 5900 Ultra 256MB direct from the folks at nVidia with the latest official drivers on their website at time of publishing, Detonator 44.23, and the upcoming Detonator 50 series (which will be released at the end of the month which nVidia's Brian Burke promised in their response would increase DX9 performance) right up against a PowerColor Radeon 9800 Pro with only 128MB of RAM onboard. As well as performance figures, we have many different screenshots captured through AquaMark 3's intelligent screen capture service with AA (Anti-Aliasing) and AF (Anisotropic Filtering) disabled and enabled for those graphics gurus out there who which wish to see the difference offered up by Massive.
Let's get to it - read on!