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Comparison Tests: Radeon AGP vs Rage128 Pro AGP
By Mike
Published: 10/5/2000
(Updated 1/31/2001 for Radeon 1.1.1 driver tests)

3D Game Performance
Intro | Game Performance | Benchmarks/Apps Tests

Most   G4/AGP system owners who are considering the Radeon are probably most concerned with 3D Games performance, which has been somewhat of an achilles heel of the ATI Rage128 in the past, at least at resolutions over 640x480. The Radeon however is clearly much improved in fill rate over past ATI graphics chips and delivered much higher performance at 1024x768 than the Rage128 Pro card. In fact, in most tests at 1024x768 mode results were comparable to the higher fill rate Voodoo5 with the current drivers (based on tests in my previous Voodoo5 PCI review but remember that card is running in a 33Mhz slot, not a 66MHz AGP slot).

Since I saw lower performance with the Rage128 Pro in this dual G4 CPU system with OpenGL 1.1.5 and the latest ATI drivers, I didn't list Voodoo5 PCI scores from my single G4/500 system with OpenGL 1.1.3. (I'd like to test the Voodoo5 in this system to see if the dual processor overhead and/or OpenGL 1.1.5 has any negative effect on its performance.) I may add Voodoo5 scores from my past review to this page if I cannot test the Voodoo5 in the dual G4/500 system quickly.

As Rage128 owners already know (and still true with the Radeon), 32Bit mode is needed to avoid the very poor image quality in 16Bit mode - the 'buzzing bees' effect I mentioned in my OpenGL update to the iMacDV SE review (see apps/game test review page for image samples) and Mac 3D Card Round Up article last fall is not present with the latest drivers, but there's still a 'mesh' effect seen at 16bit modes. The good news is that 32Bit mode with the Radeon shows no noticable drop in performace, so there's no need to run 16bit anyway. From what I've seen so far, 32Bit mode with the Radeon looks very good.

Game Settings: Rather than fill this already table-heavy page further unless otherwise noted, I used the same game settings as shown in all my Video card reviews with these games and also listed on the Entry Page of the Mac Game/Video Card Performance (FPS) database. The information on how to run these tests is noted in the FAQ's Game topic area.

The tables below show the average frames-per-second for both cards at various resolutions. Each table of results has a % gain for the Radeon card rounded to the nearest whole percent (nearest integer).


Quake3 Arena Tests

All tests used high geometric detail, texture quality slider one notch down from max, all game options on, but a low audio setting. No config file tweaks were used. (In fact before the tests I deleted the quake3 config file forcing a rebuild of it to remove the chance that any settings had been modified from prior tests.) Quake 3 was allocated 150MB of RAM.

All results are in frames-per-second, higher is better. (Desktop mode for these results was 1024x768, thousands colors, which seemed to help a bit in FPS even in 32bit Quake3 modes compared to running the desktop at 32bit).

Quake3 Arena 16Bit 640x480 800x600 1024x768
Radeon OEM AGP 52.7 52.0 50.2
Rage128 PRO AGP 45.7 41.4 31.6
Gain % 15% 26% 59%


Note: I'm not sure if it's the OpenGL 1.1.5/later ATI drivers or some dual processor overhead, but the Rage128 Pro ran Quake3 a bit faster at lower res modes in my G4/500 single processor machine. (Using OpenGL 1.1.3 and the previous ATI drivers including the Multimedia 1.0 update.) In my G4/500 single CPU system the Rage128 PRO AGP delivered 16bit Quake3 scores of that were significantly higher at 640x480 - 57.4 FPS, and a hair faster at 800x600 - 43.4 FPS. (At 1024x768 the Rage128's fill rate limits are the bottleneck scores were literally identical at 31.8 FPS. Voodoo5 PCI scores are from my previous tests with the G4/500 single CPU system.

I then ran the same tests in 32Bit mode (note that 640x480 was a hair faster at 32bit - something even ATI said they have seen - but such a difference is within the run/run variation):

Quake3 Arena 32Bit 640x480 800x600 1024x768
Radeon OEM AGP 52.7 51.9 49.1
Rage128 PRO AGP 44.1 36.7 24.1
Gain % 20% 41% 104%


UPDATE: Radeon 1.1.1 Driver Tests: After ATI released the 1.1.1 Radeon driver update (available here) I tested my dual G4/500 w/BTO Radeon AGP card running OS 9.1 in Quake3 before and after the Radeon 1.1.1 Driver Update. (Full extension set other than Multiple Users, which was disabled. Airport and Speech however were enabled.)
I was surprised at the increase seen after the update (appx 16% at 1280x1024). As a reader noted in email, installing the included OpenGL 1.2.1 update (part of the easy install) shows that the ATI OpenGL Renderer extension is a part of OpenGL 1.2.3. (My previous OpenGL 1.2.1 install had extension v1.2.1.)
The table below shows the Quake3 1.17 Demo1 results with all game settings on, 32Bit mode, with High Geometric detail except where noted. (Higher Geometric detail increases the amount of triangles in objects.)

Quake3 v117
HQ settings
G4/500 DP
BTO Radeon AGP
OS 9.1
FPS Before
Update
FPS After
1.1.1 Update
640x480
High Geometric Detail
49.454.6
640x480
Med. Geometric Detail
51.256.4
1024x768
High Geometric Detail
47.952.8
(*54.3)
1280x1024
High Geometric Detail
39.445.6
(*46.5)

(* FPS in parenthesis is using Medium vs High Geometric Detail setting.)


Quake 1 RAVE Tests

Quake 1 RAVE version 1.09 was used to test framerates in this very old and least demanding of the Mac 3D first-person games. As with all my video card/game tests with Quake1, the "Flames", "Shadows", and "Filtering" options were enabled. As I've noted in previous video card tests, remember you have to exit and restart Quake1 to have resolution changes take effect. Quake Rave was allocated 100MB of RAM.

Quake1 Rave Timedemo 1 640x480 800x600 1024x768
Radeon OEM AGP
102 96.2 78.6
Rage128 PRO AGP
89.8 68.0 45.5
Gain % 14% 41%73%



Quake 2 Tests

Quake 2 tests were run using the same settings I normally do for all video card reviews. (No 8 Bit Textures, no Vsync, High detail textures, low audio/CD audio disabled). All results are in frames-per-second, higher is better.

There are two demos run - the Demo1 is the standard ID demo included with the game. The 2nd tests were run with the more demanding (much more action, players, firing, etc.) Crusher demo that is used to show what the worst case framerates during heated play would be.

Interesting Note:
I know it sounds strange, but Quake2 ran faster by a bit when the 2D (Monitors Control Panel) was set to Millions colors than it did at Thousands colors. With the standard Quake 2 v1.03 config file it appeared that Quake2 looked better in the game as well (less dithering).

To ensure an unmodified Quake 2 config file - I deleted the existing so that Quake2 would recreate it before starting the tests. Desktop mode was 1024x768, millions colors. Quake 2 was allocated 150MB of RAM.

Quake 2 Demo 1 640x480 800x600 1024x768
Radeon OEM AGP
79.5 76.0 64.7
Rage128 PRO AGP
71.8 54.5 34.5
Gain % 11% 39% 88%

Quake 2 Crusher 640x480 800x600 1024x768
Radeon OEM AGP
41.4 41.0 40.8
Rage128 PRO AGP
39.6 37.9 25.2
Gain % 5% 8% 62%

Note: The "tweaked" Quake2 config file I used in my PowerBook Firewire review games tests boosted FPS significantly with the Rage128 Mobility chip in the Powerbook didn't seem to have any significant benefit with the AGP Rage128 Pro and Radeon cards in this system and drivers.


Unreal Tournament 32Bit Tests
CityIntro & Wicked400 Demo

The 'cityintro' timedemo was run in Unreal Tournament full version with the 405a update applied. 32-Bit Rave mode (preferred for ATI cards), Medium detail/texture and low audio settings. Min desired FPS was set to "0" (zero). UT was allocated 150MB of RAM.

All results are in frames-per-second (FPS), higher is better. Since the UT's timedemo stats reports min, max and average framerates, all are listed below. 2D graphics mode was set to 1024x768, millions colors.

Unreal Tournament
CityIntro Tests
32Bit Rave Mode
AVG
FPS
MIN
FPS
MAX
FPS
Radeon OEM AGP
(640x480)
41.75 24.38 81.2
Rage128 PRO AGP
(640x480)
36.74 21.92 78.36
 
Radeon OEM AGP
(1024x768)
36.74 21.91 77.22
Rage128 PRO AGP
(1024x768)
23.18 14.27 42.58


Wicked400 is a recorded demo with intense action, weapons firing, multiple players, etc. and is used to show perhaps worst case framerates during actual play. (The entry page of the FPS database has a link to the Wicked400 demo ZIP file)

Unreal Tournament
Wicked400 Tests
32Bit Rave Mode
AVG
FPS
MIN
FPS
MAX
FPS
Radeon OEM AGP
(640x480)
20.08 11.78 32.09
Rage128 PRO AGP
(640x480)
19.55 11.77 29.78
 
Radeon OEM AGP
(1024x768)
19.02 11.78 30.16
Rage128 PRO AGP
(1024x768)
17.16 11.76 25.40


Unreal Tournament as mentioned before is not a good video card benchmark and delivers low scores with most every video card I've tested (esp. the Wicked400 demo).

Related Links:
For over 2,000 (and growing) records of Mac Game/Video card performance with most every system and video card - search my Mac Game/Video Card FPS database. For other graphics card reviews and articles, see the www.xlr8yourmac.com video cards page.


The next page of this review covers tests in MacBench 5.0, Word 98 and Photoshop 5.5 scrolling, G4Timedemo, Cinebench 2000, RaveBench, Walker 1.2 and comments on QT Movie playback.


Index of Radeon AGP vs Rage128 Pro AGP Comparison

Intro | Game Performance | Benchmarks/Apps Tests

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