- The game engine itself
- The SW portion of the driver
Ignoring the game engine itself, it basically means that our driver is "heavier" than Nvidia's when the GPU not the limiting factor. This is where a lot of effort into driver optimization occurs. Remember that we are part way on our journey, and that the 9800GTX and is beaten by the 3870 on ET:QW under Linux).
In general, if you look at comparative results you will see one of two things occur.
- A drop off as the HW class scales
- A drop off as the resolution or IQ settings are increased.
If you don't see that then it is generally that the HW is not limiting. In the case of most of the tests in the 4850 article both NV and AMD both suffer this.
(Although I do agree we'll have to find native Linux games that stress the cards more, testing +100FPS games isn't telling much, and that's in heavy GPU loads that the card will show its value compared to the previous generation)
Hopefully UT3 will eventually come and it will allow the cards and drivers to be separated at default settings. We'll wait until next week to see Michael's review with AA+AF pushed way up.