completely rewritten 3D engine based on DirectX8 encompasses many visual effects
such as volumetric Nebulae (gas clouds) that have a real impact in the game (you
can hide in them), many new engine, shield, weapon and explosion effects.
Objects cast real dynamic 3D shadows! Dynamic DP3 bump mapping allows a
previously unseen level of detail.
We ran into
an odd problem here, X2: The Threat is a DX9 game, but would run on
the Intel Extreme Graphics 2. The thing is, it would lock up and blue
screen about 30 seconds in the benchmark section. When an AGP graphics card is
used, everything here looks normal of course.
| Unreal Tournament
Tournament 2003 is the sequel to 1999's multiple 'Game of the Year' award
winner. It uses the very latest Unreal Engine technology - where graphics, sound and game
play are taken beyond the bleeding edge. Unreal Tournament 2003 employs the use
of Vertex as well as Pixel Shaders and it's recommended that you use a DirectX 8
videocard to get the most out of the game.
seems to like the AOpen AX4SG Max II motherboard quite a bit. It even runs with
the integrated videocard!
AOpen's AX4SG Max II is quite an
interesting solution, it's fast and powerful like a Pentium 4 C motherboard
should be, but with integrated video, it's also great for those building
For $221 CDN ($169 US) you get yourself one
heck of a motherboard; AOpen include everything except the kitchen sink with
this board! There's on board Intel Extreme 2 Graphics, IEEE 1394, 7.1 audio,
Intel CSA Gigabit LAN, a four port Serial ATA RAID controller (+ 2
native SATA ports) and dual BIOS! On the software side AOpen also
include a full copy of Norton Anti-Virus 2004 which is great for safe guarding
your PC from viruses. When the desire to upgrade hits you, the five PCI and
lone 8x AGP port should satisfy your upgrading needs.
The layout of the board is excellent and extremely user
friendly, they certainly did all the little things right! I like how all the
Serial ATA ports are stacked together on the bottom right hand corner and the
placement of the fan headers are in their most ideal location. My only real
complaint is that AOpen should have gone with the ICH5R southbridge instead of
the ICH5. And if you're an enthusiast looking to break the speed records with
liquid chilled overclocking, you'll probably want to get something else. AOpen
boards have never been too big on overclocking, and while the AX4SGMax II has a
lot going for it, it doesn't break this trend.
Stock performance of the board is good,
but memory bandwidth seemed a bit on the low side - not that
it affected any of the other benchmarks really. While not great for 3D
apps, the Intel Extreme Graphics 2 works just fine with 2D applications, and the
2D display quality was very good. When a Radeon 9800 Pro was plugged into the 8x
AGP port, 3D performance was on par with the other i865PE/i875P
Overall, AOpen did a bang up job with the AX4SG Max II, it's an
excellent board full of features. Price is a bit on the high side, but did
you see what's included with the board? It's got everything!