One of the most awaited DirectX 10 games that's scheduled to be released soon is Capcom's Lost Planet. It's a third-person shooter (TPS) game ported over from Xbox 360, with more special effects added of course. Capcom has been trying to have it launched in June as the first DirectX 10 game in the market. Whether they will succeed, well, we will find out soon enough in June.
If you want to find out just how much better the eye candy is in the PC port, you will be interested to know that NVIDIA is slated to host a Lost Planet DirectX 10 benchmark on nZone.com tomorrow. It is designed to showcase the game's graphics as well as the capabilities of the DirectX 10 graphics cards like the GeForce 8800 and GeForce 8600 graphics cards from NVIDIA and the newly launched ATI Radeon HD 2000 series of graphics cards.
However, ATI has apparently been caught unaware about the new benchmark and seems to be royally pissed about not being given the chance to optimize their drivers for better performance in Lost Planet. NVIDIA, on the other hand, has had plenty of opportunity to tweak their drivers for the new game. Apparently, this is because the title was sponsored by NVIDIA under their The Way It's Meant To Be Played (TWIMTBP) programme. Ironically, Lost Planet was originally designed for the Xbox 360, which uses an ATI GPU.
As one of the few DirectX 10 benchmarks, the performance of any DirectX 10 graphics card in the new Lost Planet benchmark will be a major determining factor when buyers decide on a new DirectX 10 graphics card. It would really reflect badly on ATI if the Lost Planet benchmark runs badly on the new ATI cards.
ATI Preemptive Strike
When they learned about the new benchmark, ATI can only do one thing - preemptively release a statement to take out at least a little wind out of NVIDIA's sails. Let's take a look :
Tomorrow, NVIDIA is expected to host new DirectX 10 content on nZone.com in the form of a “Lost Planet” benchmark. Before you begin testing, there are a few points I want to convey about “Lost Planet”.
“Lost Planet” is an NVIDIA-sponsored title, and one that NVIDIA has had a chance to look at and optimize their drivers for. The developer has not made us aware of this new benchmark, and as such the ATI Radeon driver team has not had the opportunity explore how the benchmark uses our hardware and optimize in a similar fashion.
Over the next little while, AMD will be looking at this, but in the meantime, please note that whatever performance you see will not be reflective of what gamers will experience in the final build of the game.
Evidently, ATI expects their graphics cards to perform badly in the Lost Planet benchmark. In fact, it's likely they had already obtained a copy from the same source that tipped them off about the imminent release of the benchmark, and found the performance of their new Radeon HD 2xxx cards wanting in this benchmark.
To be honest, even their preemptive statement will do little to stem the inevitable flow of discouraging performance comparisons of NVIDIA and ATI cards in this benchmark. It will certainly fuel plenty of flame wars between ATI fans and NVIDIA fans in community forums all over the world.
While ATI is understandably unhappy that many consumers will base their purchasing decisions on the Lost Planet benchmark and their unoptimized drivers, they can hardly blame NVIDIA for trying to milk the maximum out of this publicity coup. ATI would have done the same thing, had the situation been reversed.
Part of the blame also lies on their own shoulders. They can hardly blame the world for their own poor drivers. Needless to say, their Catalyst driver team have their work cut out for them. The best thing they can do now is hunker down and work really, really hard on improving their drivers. NVIDIA may have an early start, but let us remember that it was the tortoise that won the race.
We sincerely wish ATI all the best. If they can provide a credible challenge to NVIDIA, that will help drive down the price of graphics cards which have recently reached the nose-bleeding height of $830+. We need some real competition here. Don't fail us, ATI!
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