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ATI Radeon 9800 XT Visual Gaming Performance - NHL 2004

Half a grand is a lot of money to spend on a graphics card. In this article we examine visual gaming performance of ATI's latest GPU, the Radeon 9800 XT, in Counter-Strike, NHL 2004, Max Payne 2, Midnight Club II and Halo PC to work out if it is really worth spending all those dollars.

By: | AMD Radeon GPU in Video Cards | Posted: Nov 5, 2003 5:00 am

NHL 2004


Next up we have Electronic Art's NHL 2004, a sequel to their popular NHL 2002 & 2003 titles. This series is a perfect example of a game evolving simultaneously with the market's GPU technology.



Poorly designed character models and textures burdened the previous versions of NHL 2004. With the aid of an elite GPU, as the one equipped within the Radeon 9800 XT, level (stadium) load times are greatly reduced of lag and choppy animations. The audience and players truly look alive and vibrant; this greatly adds to the overall realism while playing. A close look at the screenshot above will clearly demonstrate the lively player shadows (reflecting off the surface of the ice) generated in the game - this level of realism can be credited to the game's coding, visual performance support, and of course: the 9800 XT itself.




If you click on the above image and take a close look at the dynamically-textured ice, you will see a perfect example of programmatically generated texture. These are textures generated in real-time (using shader programs) which are applied to 3D models within video games and other applications (e.g. Adobe's Photoshop). As the ice in NHL 2004 becomes more skated upon, it gradually appears more 'cut up' and scratchy.




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