Jetway 966PDAG-PB mainboard review

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Doom 3

At the 2002 E3 exhibit, ID Software showed of DOOM 3. Days after that the world was shocked as somehow that demo got leaked onto the Internet. It's now 2004 and the game has finally been released! The breathtaking realism of the Doom III engine basically depends on two features; a realistic physics engine and a unified lighting scheme that incorporates detailed bump-mapping and volumetric shadows. Hardware older than GeForce 4/3 lack the flexibility and power to run Doom 3 with detailed features at an acceptable frame-rate. The engine is once again written in OpenGL.

DOOM 3 sports a brand spanking new game engine that's a marvel to see. The amount of special effects that master programmer John Carmack has whipped up show us environments that we've heard about, but have never seen before. ID has made an engine that specializes around the type of game they made: dark, scary, and intense. The game takes place on a base on Mars in the year 2145. The environments will give you a feeling of claustrophobia, which is only heightened by the game's dark atmosphere. Every light in the game is cast by some actual light source somewhere. If there's no lights on in the room, you'll see literally nothing and will need to turn on a flashlight. Shoot out a light in the middle of a battle, and you'll need to fight blindly. Sometimes, graphics do truly contribute to atmosphere as well as gameplay and with DOOM 3 it's obvious that ID understands this better than most game developers.

In a weird way it's almost impossible to fully describe what the game looks like, but needless to say its well beyond anything to date. Multi colored per-pixel lighting on bump-mapped surfaces. Each and every object in the game, including the teeth of the monsters you fight cast dynamic shadows, but not the jagged kind you mayve seen in other recent games. The shadows are done using Carmacks own algorithm. Im sure many of you have upgraded specifically for this game, but it appears as though the video card is by far the most important piece of hardware needed. With a Geforce 6800 Ultra you can run the game at insane resolutions with huge amounts of detail (something I thoroughly enjoyed), but even at the lowest resolution with the lowest amount of detail it looks jawbreaking.

First off, an old title. Doom 3 is extremely sensitive to memory performance issues and CPU differences. So if there's even a slight diminutive change over another PC, Doom 3 would show it in 1024x768.

Notice that performance for all E6600 setups is pretty much the same. Tiny FPS fluctuations can be explained by different memory types and timings; that's all there is to it.

This is the harsh reality; a 80 bucks costing mainboard performance just as well as a 250 USD one; at a baseline configuration that is.

F.E.A.R

As many of you will be aware, F.E.A.R (or First Encounter Assault & Recon for short) involves a rather mysterious looking girl in a red dress, a man with an unappetizing taste for human flesh and some rather flashy action set pieces alà The Matrix. All of this is brought together by one of the best game engines around.

There has been a great amount of talk surrounding this game as of late, and we here at Guru3D aim to please.

F.E.A.R makes its cinematic pretensions clear from the start. As soon as the credits roll, and the music starts, you are treated to the full works. The camera pans across scores of troops locked 'n' loaded and ready to hunt you down, all seemingly linked to 'Paxton Fettel', a strange kind of guy with extraordinary psychic power capable of controlling battalions of soldiers and a habit of feeding off any poor unfortunate innocents - presumably to aid his powers of concentration. It doesnt end there, after a short briefing at F.E.A.R. HQ, you are sent off to hunt down Fettel equipped with reflexes that are 'off the chart'. These reflexes are put to excellent use, with a slow motion effects like that of Max Payne, or the Matrix. But here, it is oooohhhh so much more satisfying thanks to the outstanding environmental effects. Sparks fly everywhere, as chunks of masonry are blasted from the walls and blood splatters from your latest victim. The physics are just great, with boxes sent flying, shelves tipped over, and objects hurtling towards your head. And the explosions, well, the explosions just have to be seen, and what's so great about this, is that you can witness it in all its glory in slow motion.

Let me confirm to you that based on this, F.E.A.R. will have you shaking on the edge of your seat, if not falling off it. The tension is brought to just the right level with key moments that will make your heart leap. Play the demo and you will see what I mean. The key to this is the girl. Without revealing anything significant, lets just say that she could take on the whole of Mars for creepiness.

Time for some modern game testing. F.E.A.R has a built in performance test which we used to measure performance. F.E.A.R is an extremely hard title for the graphics cards when you set it to maximum image quality. Again we see the Intel system leap forwards.

Above we enabled 4xAA and 16xAF, the results shown are based on maximum in-game quality settings however soft shadows are disabled. So here we force the system into way more graphics card dependency. Hey, this is real-world testing, don't you agree?

We tested the maximum detail settings to stress the cards to see if the CPU still has an effect. It hardly does, as we can clearly see that modern titles are less CPU bound and more graphics card bound.

How about that, huh?

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