January 15, 2019
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ATI Radeon 8500
February 27, 2002 | Michael Eilers

The OS X benchmarks are more interesting. As you can see, across the board they are initially slower than the OS 9 versions, but catch up at high resolutions to where they are almost equal. OS X’s more efficient memory management might be helping OpenGL deal with the strain at these high settings, but my guess is simpler: that the OS X version of that API is getting a little more attention from Apple these days than the OS 9 version. In any case, the results are quite similar overall.

Quake 3 Normal (OS X)

Quake 3 MAX (OS X)

At 1600x1200 High Quality settings, the awesome triangle-crunching power of the Radeon 8500 is obvious. The card can crank out 50 fps, in comparison to the puny 11 fps of the GF2 MX and 17 fps of the original Radeon – amazing!

Q3A is indeed so fast with the Radeon 8500 that I can even turn on Vertical Sync. This eliminates the “tearing” effect you often see when the game is drawing frames faster than the native refresh rate of your monitor. Vsync does this by forcing the game to wait until the screen is blank before drawing a new frame, rather than just forcing the next frame right through the monitor’s video buffer. While turning on Vsync caps your top frame rate, it makes the game appear much smoother and the illusion of reality is much more convincing, in my opinion. With some tweaks I can play at 1280x1024 averaging 62 fps with Vsync on and all the eye candy turned up – fantastic!

Quake 2
I included Quake 2 just for fun, as it tends to reveal quickly which card has the slowest internal bus speed. As the game is generating just 4 MB of texture data, you never run out of card VRAM, so this becomes a test of raw fill rate and internal card bandwidth.

Quake 2 Demo2

To do the test I threw away the .cfg file and then switched the game to Default OpenGL rendering. The test was done with the Demo2 demo, by bringing down the console and typing "Timedemo 1" and then "map demo2.dm2."

As you will see the GeForce 2 MX results are quite shocking, leading me to believe that there is something interesting going on here with NVIDIA’s MiniGL driver. But once again, as the resolution climbs the GF2 and Radeon fall to the wayside, while the 8500 can drive Q2 at 1600x1200 well in excess of 60 fps.


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