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Call of Juarez (Source: PCPer, Ryan Shrout)

Lost Planet (Source: PCPer, Ryan Shrout)
AMD and NVIDIA are at it again, accusations abound

Marketing is an interesting game big companies like to play. It is the equivalent of two schoolchildren yelling, “My dad can beat up your dad,” back and forth without ever accomplishing anything.

AMD and NVIDIA are having the same fight, albeit on the DirectX 10 playground with NVIDIA touting the GeForce 8800 GTS’ performance prowess in Capcom’s Lost Planet while AMD flexes its muscle in Techland’s Call of Juarez demo.

Ryan Shrout has posted an editorial on the events leading up to AMD’s ATI Radeon HD 2900 XT launch and the post-launch events.

For the launch of the ATI Radeon HD 2900 XT, AMD issued a benchmark of Techland’s Call of Juarez to use in the impending reviews. The benchmark, however, had a flaw with MSAA that rendered it incompatible on NVIDIA hardware with MSAA enabled. NVIDIA became aware of the issue and worked with Techland to issue a patch, a day before the release of AMD’s ATI Radeon HD 2900 XT.   According to more sources obtained by Shrout:
NVIDIA: "NVIDIA has a long standing relationship with Techland and their publisher Ubisoft. In fact, the original European version Call Of Juarez that was launched in September 2006 is part of the "The Way Its Meant To Be Played" program.  As a result of the support Techland and Ubisoft receives for being part of the "The Way Its Meant To Be Played" program, NVIDIA discovered that the early build of the patch that was distributed to the press has an application bug that violates DirectX 10 specifications by mishandling MSAA buffers which causes DirectX 10 compliant hardware to crash.  Our DevTech team has worked with Techland to fix that and other bugs in the Call of Juarez code.

Benchmark testing for reviews should be performed with the latest build of the game, one that incorporates those DirectX 10 fixes.  Previous builds of the game should not be used for benchmarking with or without AA. For details on how to get the patch and for further information please contact Techland or Ubisoft."

The benchmark still ran on NVIDIA’s DirectX 10 hardware, however, MSAA had to be disabled. Even without MSAA enabled, NVIDIA’s GeForce 8800 GTS still lost to AMD’s ATI Radeon HD 2900 XT.

Not one to accept a loss, NVIDIA hooked reviewers up with the PR company for the developers of Lost Planet, allowing reviewers to have a copy a day before the demo was to go public. Lo’ behold, NVIDIA hardware beats out AMD hardware in the demo.

AMD countered by claiming they had insufficient time to optimize for the benchmark, in an email sent out to reviewers. Shrout cites:
AMD: "Today 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."
Ryan Shrout brings the attention to NVIDIA’s The Way its Meant to be Played and AMD’s Get in the Game marketing campaigns and the implied accusations made by both companies.

“While neither company would really come out and say it, both NVIDIA and AMD are hoping that the idea will come across that the other "cheated" in each particular DX10 benchmark scenario," Shrout said. "AMD kept the "Juarez" demo from performing up to the level it could on NVIDIA hardware and NVIDIA kept the "Lost Planet" demo from running properly on AMD hardware; or at least that’s what the general reader might gather from all of this.”

Both companies can make all the accusations they want but in the end, the consumer is the one that loses. Until a reputable developer that isn’t in bed with AMD or NVIDIA develops a DirectX 10 game or benchmark, the consumer is left out in the dark on which card will provide the superior DirectX 10 gaming experience. 




"When an individual makes a copy of a song for himself, I suppose we can say he stole a song." -- Sony BMG attorney Jennifer Pariser
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