Lost Planet DirectX 9/10 Performance
Since we are evaluating a DirectX 10 video card, the use of Windows Vista is a definite requirement, but we also need some updated DirectX 10 game benchmarks as well. One of the best is the Lost Planet performance test, which comes in both DirectX 9 and 10 flavors, which allow across-the-board comparisons against last-generation graphics cards. The benchmark is also extremely tough on the hardware, and the resultant scores can be quite hard on the mainstream graphics cards, showing unplayable framerates in many cases. Since this is a high-end DirectX 9/10 game benchmark, we've utilized widescreen resolutions from the start, choosing 1600x1000 and 1920x1200.
To say that Lost Planet is a demanding game benchmark would be the understatement of the year, as you can almost hear the system grinding as it completes the testing. We have settled on the Cave demo, and it shows the Gigabyte GeForce 8500 GT 256MB posting slightly higher results in the DirectX 9 test than the DirectX 10 segment. In terms of relative scores the Gigabyte card outperforms the GeForce 7600 GS 256MB, ties the Radeon X1650 XT 256MB, and comes within a hair of equaling the GeForce 7600 GT 256MB. Overall, these are very nice scores for an entry-level card.
Lost Planet DirectX 9/10 AA and AF Performance
Upgrading the already tough benchmark to 4X anti-aliasing and 16X anisotropic filtering results in a brutal gaming environment, but this seems to bring out the best in the Gigabyte GeForce 8500 GT 256MB. The card now outperforms the GeForce 7600 GT 256MB at both 1600x1200 and 1920x1200.
Crysis is a brand new game from your friends at Crytek, and is very much like a significantly upgraded version of FarCry. The in-game visuals are incredible, and it even supports extra DirectX 10 goodies for those with top-end, enthusiast-level video cards. We're using the game demo, which includes both GPU and CPU benchmarks, and as this is a video card review, we're naturally using the former. All details have been set to Medium, as anything higher is an absolute slideshow with entry-level and mainstream video cards, and we have utilized standard 1280x1024 and 1600x1200 resolutions for the first test.
As you can see from the benchmarks, Crysis can bring last-generation video cards to their knees, and the game works considerably better on new DX10 models. The ATI cards do show higher relative framerates, but there was a lot of clipping present, so we'll stick to an NVIDIA-only comparison. Here, only the Gigabyte GeForce 8500 GT and GeForce 8600 GTS 256MB cards showed anything resembling a playable framerate.
Crysis AA and AF Performance
Moving the Crysis GPU benchmark to 4X anti-aliasing and 16X anisotropic filtering is like throwing some extra weights on a marathon runner, and it absolutely crushes some of our reference cards. All the results drop, but the GeForce 8500 GT and 8600 GTS cards show a noticeable improvement over their GeForce 7 Series brothers. Again, take the ATI results with a big grain of salt, as some scenes were not rendering properly.