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I'm going to replace old integrated graphics with GeForce 9800 GT. Are there any nice looking demos or benchmarks which will show capabilities and potential of decent graphics card? Of course there is 3DMark family, but how about other impressive shows?

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I have that exact same card, and the only game that has performance problems on the highest settings is Crysis, but that's a given. Other than that, go ahead and ramp up your video settings to full. (I also have a pretty powerful processor, which may or may not be the case for you.) –  Sasha Chedygov Aug 15 '09 at 19:35
    
CPU will be Core 2 Duo E7500, but I don't want to continue game machines topic, as it usually never ends itself :-) –  Tomek Z. Aug 15 '09 at 21:00

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You could find the official demos for your card. http://www.nzone.com/object/nzone_downloads_nvidia.html was where they used to be last time I had an nvidia based card, though there don't seem to be any specific to the 9xxx series there (the 8xxx series demos should be impressive enough though and have no hope of working properly on the old integrated chip).

Also, like lvo suggests, playing one of your existing games with the resolution and quality settings whacked up should be a good test too.

Screen savers like the "really slick" set may also be a good choice. Though they are getting a bit old (so not as demanding as they could be of modern kit), I've never seen an integrated graphics chipset do any justice at all to "hyperspace".

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Why not simply play a game (even an older one) like Half-Life 2 or Far Cry?

I know Half-Life 2 has a very awesome demo level to test the graphic settings of your pc

Half-Life 2 defines a new benchmark in gaming with startling realism and responsiveness. Powered by Source™ technology, Half-Life 2 features the most sophisticated in-game characters ever witnessed, advanced AI, stunning graphics and physical gameplay.

alt text

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+1 the best way to measure graphics performance is to just play the game and see if it feels faster or slower. Benchmarks are very inaccurate in this regard. –  Sasha Chedygov Aug 15 '09 at 19:34
    
The HL2 demo really is just about the best gaming graphics benchmark out there. I've never been sure if that was a good thing or not. :) –  Electrons_Ahoy Aug 15 '09 at 23:01

If you mean their graphical capability, in terms of what features they support, rather than performance, then you most likely want to look at demos of the different graphics engine versions, rather than cards themselves. For example, a card that supports only DirectX 9 will not have the same visual capabilities as a card that support DirectX 10. Two cards that support DirectX 10.1 should theoretically produce identical graphics when playing a DirectX 10.1 game. There are occasionally bugs in the drivers that cause artifacts, or other quality issues that create problems. There are also user controlled driver settings that can change how the game renders, but the point being that the capabilities are that defined by the DirectX standard that the card supports.

As part of the card's specifications, it will list the DirectX version, as well as the OpenGL version it supports. This is the main specification that differentiates one cards graphical capabilities from another. There are some proprietary capabilities, but I would guess most game developers don't use these, as it would mean their effort in implementing those features would only be seen on certain video cards.

Here's one I've seen used before, links for installer are on this page: http://www.unigine.com/download/

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