3D Benchmark PerformanceWhile trying to settle the debate over whether the Radeon 9000 or 8500 is faster, I also compared the original Radeon and GeForce2 MX, both of which have a fairly large installed base that may be looking to upgrade. Graphical detail was set at high quality in all games to test the capabilities of each video card. The following hardware and software configurations were used in all benchmarks:
• Power Mac G4/500
• Giga Designs G-celerator 1.25 GHz @ 1.35 GHz
• ATI Radeon 9000 Pro
• ATI Radeon 8500
• ATI Radeon (32 MB)
• NVIDIA GeForce2 MX (32 MB)
• 768 MB PC133 SDRAM
• 80 GB Seagate Barracuda IV
• Mac OS X 10.2.4
• Quake 3 1.30, demo four
• Return to Castle Wolfenstein 1.41 beta, demo checkpoint
• Jedi Knight II 1.04, demo jk2ffa
As a testament to the efficiency of the Radeon 9000, it bested the Radeon 8500 in Quake 3 at all but the highest resolution. The disadvantages of the Radeon 9000 I pointed out earlier aren't evident in these tests because performance is still limited by my relatively slow (in comparison to PCs) processor speed. With a higher speed processors, the difference between the two will be more obvious, especially at high resolution.
I didn't have a Radeon 7500 or GeForce4 MX on hand for testing, but I suspect that their performance will fall in between the Radeon 8500/9000 and the two low end cards. Still, any serious gamer should have a video card with at least 64 MB of VRAM. Turning up the resolution and texture detail in modern games will incur a major performance penalty on cards with only 32 MB of VRAM.
The Return to Castle Wolfenstein and Jedi Knight 2 timedemos are CPU limited, thus they aren't indicative of any particular trend between the Radeon 9000 and 8500. Instead, the inadequate performance of the Radeon and GeForce2 MX in today's games are exposed.