Introduction and Doom 3

Doom 3 and Far Cry are very heavy 3D games, using last generation image quality resources, which makes them excellent ways to test the 3D performance of your machine. Since the performance decrease when we increase the image quality, it is important that you use the same image quality resolution and configuration when comparing the performance of your machine against the performance of others.

Doom 3

The first step is to configure the resolution and the image quality you want to test and restart the game. Doom 3 has four levels of image quality: low, medium, high, and ultra. We recommend that you carry out tests at a 1024 x 768 resolution, with the low quality and then a new round of tests at high quality. If you have a 17″ monitor or bigger, maybe it is also worth measuring the performance at 1280 x 1024 and at 1600 x 1200.

Enter the Doom 3 console pressing the Control, Alt and ` (tilde) keys simultaneously and enter the command “timedemo demo1”. That will make Doom 3 run its demo 1 and count the amount of frames per second (FPS) generated, presenting an average at the end of the demo. Write down this value and repeat this test three more times. You will see that the first value is inferior to the others and should not be used. That value is smaller because in the first round the game has to load the textures for the video card, and in the following rounds the textures are already loaded at the card.

An important detail is that the drivers for ATI graphic chips are not totally optimized for Doom 3 yet. The day we wrote this tip the latest version was Catalyst version 4.8 and, according to ATI, superior versions, when launched, will make ATI chips have better performance at Doom 3.

Another interesting detail is that Doom 3 has a restraint in the maximum amount of pictures per second it is capable of generating during the game: it only generates 60 pictures per second, even if your video card is capable of generating more than that. This limitation, however, doesn’t affect the performance measurement module of this game, which may count more than 60 pictures per second without any problems.


Gabriel Torres is a Brazilian best-selling ICT expert, with 24 books published. He started his online career in 1996, when he launched Clube do Hardware, which is one of the oldest and largest websites about technology in Brazil. He created Hardware Secrets in 1999 to expand his knowledge outside his home country.