In our testing, we noticed that the techdemo wasn’t quite as CPU-bound as some of the other demos, which is why we’re able to see a larger gap (30%) between the RADEON 9800 PRO and RADEON 9600 PRO in this demo.
Due to the poor performance of GeForce FX cards running in full precision DX9 mode, Valve had to create a half-precision mode for these cards, which is denoted as “FX Mode” in these graphs. As you can see in the graph above, the GeForce FX 5900 Ultra’s performance improved by 25% in FX mode at 1024x768, but still falls short of the RADEON 9600 PRO running in full-precision DX9. The GeForce FX 5600 Ultra doesn’t come anywhere close to these cards, which interestingly enough doesn’t offer a substantial improvement over the regular GeForce FX 5600. Only when running in DX8.1 mode does the GeForce FX 5900 Ultra overtake the RADEON 9600 PRO, and it still falls short of RADEON 9800 PRO in full precision. This was quite a shock to everyone in attendance.
At 1280x1024 the RADEON 9800 PRO pulls even further away from the GeForce FX 5900 Ultra, offering over two times the performance of NVIDIA’s flagship GPU (both cards are running in full precision DX9).