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Digital-Daily : Video : ati-radeon-x800xt

ATI Radeon X800 XT (R420): Extreme force

Author: Andrey Kuzin
Date: 09.05.2004

UT 2003

Let's start with the good old UT2003, although little has been changed in the "new" UT2004. Since without inclusion of quality settings the game came up against its technological limit with all the top-end cards, we did the tests solely in the quality mode.


This is the same case as with Unreal Tournament 2003. We immediately had enable all options to the full and test all the cards solely in the 4AA/8AF mode.
All the old cards start from the point where X800 XT finished its boffoes.

Final Fantasy XI Official Benchmark 2

The game already been released and is available in the retail worldwide - a thick box styled in the Japanese anime, which prevented from premature purchase. Our accounts department would never believe that was a "test software" and would refuse to pay a $60 cheque. Well, I don't know what it is there in the game, because I am bored to death with the test - in my night dreams I see crowds of Eskimo children ridinig peacock-back with fur coats on around the Amazon jungles, so no wonder my adorable woman complains that I kick.. :) Others make coffee just in case .. :)

All in all, no details have so far arrived .. I have no idea what is measured in there, in which score points, what was used - absolutely no idea.

GunMetal Benchmark

A DirectX 9.0 benchmark, although conditional. It makes active use of version 2.0 vertex shaders and version 1.1 pixel shaders.

The picture is traditional - the game is too weak for new-generation cards. In the second test, again the same straight line for X800 XT.

But the overall leap in performance is well seen from this graph:

X2-The Threat Rolling Demo

Multitexturing and Dot3 - without any shaders.

ATI cards dislike the stencil shade technology, but nevertheless, if AA+shadow are not enabled, then it is possible to play at 2048x1536 at 82 fps! A real chaos.

Half Life 2 Leaked Alpha

Looks like the demo version of Half Life 2 became playable at 1600x1200 and demonstrated 82 fps with X800 XT. It was unthinkable just yesterday. At 1024x768 we clearly see a definite limit.

With our second written demo to Half-Life 2, there is absolutely no drop at all the resolutions. For X800 XT, Half-Life2 and Commanch4 are birds of a feather ;-) We strongly hope that in the final version of the game it will be possible to set transcendental image quality settings.

To give you a bird's flight view, we present a test of all the video cards run at 1024x768 with our first demo written to HL2:

Tomb Rider: Angel of Darkness

"Tomb Rider: Angel of Darkness" is a hard DX9 game - and again we see a distinct two-fold performance boost at high resolutions. Isn't it high time we switched to 23" monitors? :-)
Video cards of the previous generation are playable at only 800x600 and 1024x768.

With the paris2g and paris1c demos, all the cards start from the same point, and Radeon X800XT in the paris1c still got stuck at any resolutions. This is impossible to believe! Well, when will Intel release a 4 GHz processor at last?


This is an easy enough game even for the previous-generation video cards, and to produce adequate results, we immediately loaded it with 4AA and 8AF settings.

Another shortcoming of the benchmark is that is allows taking results in only two resolutions. Super-high resolutions remain unavailable, and with 1280x1024 our guinea-pig was unable to show itself in full glory.


The spice of the show - Far Cry (you may have omitted all the previous results going straight to the figures for FarCry :). At least, such a reaction was by the top management of ATI while they were watching the results for these tests.

We used the full version of the game (by the way, purchased in Toronto). It already had the version 1.1 patch which did a good enough job fixing the performance of FX video cards at handling version 2.0 pixel shaders.

All the settings were put to Very High Quality .. except the Water Quality - it was set to Ultra High Quality. We did two sessions of tests - in the AF level 1 and AF level 4 modes

Refraining myself from storms of joyful emotions, I can say that even Far Cry is a piece of cake for Radeon X800 XT!

Lastly, we enable the AF level 4:

If there were a processor at least one and a half times more powerful than today, Radeon X800 XT would have shown a smooth curve, like all the other cards, but alas ... today's strike has pushed the video industry to heights no one ever expected.

To run the FarCry, we used our own demo recorded with the "research6" map. We got numerous requests to share the ideas of the testing technique in this game. All is simple.

FarCry Testing Manual:

  • Install the full version of the game, add the patch 1.1 to fix shaders for NV3x
  • Copy our demo (merely 200kb) into the directory game_installation_path/levels/research
  • In the shortcut properties, add the -DEVMODE command-line option
  • Start the game - set the graphic options via the menu
  • Then open the console by pressing the (~) key and enter "map research 6". The map is loading
  • Back to the console - enter: "demo 3dnews001" - it started running, but you quickly press the (~) to close the console
  • Notes: in the console, don't enter quotation marks before and after the command
  • Notes for the cheat-fanciers: start the game with the -DEVMODE command-line option, load any map, press P to get any weapons, O - to get 999 ammo units (I found the cheat myself and absolutely by accident :-)


  • ATI R420 Graphic Chip
  • ATI Radeon X800 XT Video Card Features
  • GDDR3 Memory
  • Technologies. Demo "Ruby"
  • "Cheating" and "optimizations
  • Tests: synthetic benchmarks
  • Tests: gaming applications
  • R420 vs NV40: first glance
  • Final Words

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