Lock On: Modern Air Combat at 2560x1600
Quake 4 at 2560x1600
One new feature both NVIDIA and ATI are touting in their latest high-end GPUs is the ability to game at extremely high resolutions with good frame rates. NVIDIA likes to call it “extreme high definition”. 1080p, the holy grail of high definition, represents a 1920x1080 screen resolution. That’s over two million pixels (2.1 megapixels to be precise) or twice the resolution of 720p (1280x720) displays.
We’ve been benchmarking the latest high-end graphics cards at the even more demanding resolution of 2048x1536 for about a year now. At 2048x1536 you’re looking at 3.1 megapixels of gaming goodness -- when running through de-dust in Counter-Strike Source on your 21” monitor at 2048x1536 you can practically sit and count every spec of sand on the ground instead of hunting down terrorists or CTs; it’s an incredible experience. But as awesome as that sounds, 2048x1536 is no longer the holy grail of gaming…2560x1600 is.
2560x1600 is actually nothing new, Apple’s 30” Cinema Display has been on the market for awhile now, but it was prohibitively expensive (Apple’s actually got a simple demo on what the difference between 20”, 23” and 30” looks like on their site). At the beginning of this year Dell really shook up the 30” space with their announcement of the 3007WFP. That’s because Dell’s 3007WFP panel has all the specs you’d look for in a high-end monitor, including 11ms grey-to-grey response time (14 ms black-to-black), 700:1 contrast ratio, and 400cd/m2 brightness, but what really separated the Dell 3007WFP from the Apple Cinema display was its $2,200 price tag, that’s hundreds of dollars less than what the Apple was selling for at the time. In fact, Dell has used this formula of providing high-end, feature-packed displays with attractive pricing to catapult themselves to the #1 spot in LCD sales. Dell’s 2405FPW and 2005FPW 24” and 20” widescreen displays are both highly popular among gamers and enthusiasts because of this.
2560x1600 provides two times the resolution of 1080p, coming in at 4.1 megapixels. Running at a res this high on a 30” screen is simply awesome, but as you can imagine, not just any GPU can run at 2560x1600 and still dish out good frame rates. Therefore, we wanted to see what the latest cards from ATI and NVIDIA were truly capable of at the 3007WFP's native res of 2560x1600.
We should note that the following benches are early, we’ve barely had the monitor for 48 hours and in case you didn’t notice yesterday, there were some fairly major GPU launches on the 9th, so we haven’t had enough time to really push our testbeds thoroughly. What we thought we’d do is share some early benchmarks with you today, and then listen to your feedback on what you’d like to see us do next. At 2560x1600 jaggies aren’t quite as big of an issue so we elected to test without AA for today’s article, but perhaps for Part 2 you’d like to see 2xAA benches? What about 1280x800 for lesser GPUs? Are there any particular screenshots or images you’d like to see so you can compare what 2560x1600 looks like in comparison to your 1600x1200 or 1680x1050 display? These are the types of things we’d love to hear feedback on, so feel free to drop your thoughts in the news comments for this article.