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Product : AquaMark3
Company : Massive Development
Author : Mark 'Ratchet' Thorne
Editor : Eric 'Ichneumon' Amidon
Date : September 14th, 2003

Performance Charts & Conclusion

  System 1 Specs System 2 Specs
Videocards Radeon 9800 Pro (380/340) - Radeon 9800 (325/290)
Radeon 9700 Pro (325/310) - Radeon 9700 (275/270)
Radeon 9600 Pro (400/300) - Radeon 9600 (325/200)
Radeon 9100 (250/200)*
Video DriversCatalyst 3.7
Processor AMD Athlon XP 2700+
2.16GHz TBredB / 166FSB
AMD Athlon XP 1600+
1.4GHz Palamino / 133FSB
Motherboard ABit NF7-S 2.0
nVidia nForce2
Soyo SY-K7V Dragon Plus
Memory 512MB Samsung PC2700 CAS2.5
(2x256MB Dual Channel)
512MB Micron PC2100 CAS2.5
Hard Drive Seagate Barracuda IV 60GB x2 (RAID0) Seagate Barracuda IV 80GB
Sound Hercules Game Theater XP 7.1 Onboard AC'97
Operating SystemWindows XP SP1a w/ DirectX9b
* 4x AA / 8x AF Tests were not run on the Radeon 9100

System 1 System 2
Show 4xAA / 8xAF Scores
Default Settings - System #1
0 28 55
  Average Framerate

9800 Pro
9700 Pro
9600 Pro

It seems that Massive has picked a different approach to benchmarking than what Futuremark has done with 3DMark03. Unlike 3DMark03, CPU speeds seem to greatly affect the performance of the graphics cards tests in AquaMark3. Is this as it should be? Should a benchmark be focused solely on one component while trying to eliminate any potential system bottlenecks, or should it try and replicate the experiences that an average gamer would get? Then, should said benchmark try and duplicate the performance you would get by playing todays games, or should it try and predict the future performance of your $400 videocard? This of course is up for debate and in many cases is dependant on what point the reviewer is trying to get across. It is difficult, if not impossible, to create an all-in-one benchmark and there are still some questions about how well Massive has done their job in creating AquaMark3. Quite frankly, a lot of the discussions at hand are a little over my head. I can only say that as a reviewer, it is good that we have yet another tool to use to test with.

It's clear from performance numbers that Massive has not intended AquaMark3 to be used as a tool to measure present day gaming performance. However, final judgement on how well AquaMark3 represents true future gaming performance is something only time can tell us.

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