|Thanks to the dedication of hardcore PC gamers and a huge mod-community, the original Half-Life became one of the most successful first person shooters of all time. So, when Valve announced Half-Life 2 was close to completion in mid-2003, gamers the world over sat in eager anticipation. Unfortunately, thanks to a compromised internal network, the theft of a portion of the game's source code, and a tumultuous relationship with the game's distributor, Vivendi Universal, we all had to wait until November '04 to get our hands on this classic. We benchmarked Half-Life 2 with a long, custom-recorded timedemo in the "Canals" map, that takes us through both outdoor and indoor environments. These tests were run at resolutions of 1,280 x 1,024 and 1,600 x 1,200 without any anti-aliasing or anisotropic filtering and with 4X anti-aliasing and 16X anisotropic filtering enabled concurrently.|
Traditionally, Half-Life 2 is a benchmark which is typically dominated by ATI GPU's in much the same manner that Doom3 favors NVIDIA hardware. As such, it is no surprise to see the Radeon X1800 GTO performing exceptionally well in this game. At a resolution of 1280x1024 with no enhanced image quality settings enabled, it is a close race between the top three cards as less than 10fps separates them. Enabling FSAA and AF brings a slight performance penalty on each card and provides enough framerate differentiation between them to easily declare the GeForce 7900GT the fastest with the Radeon X1800 GTO following in a close second.
Raising the resolution to 1600x1200 takes its toll on all but the GeForce 7900GT as every other card falls below 100fps once FSAA and AF are enabled. Again, we have the same pecking order in the results with the Radeon X1800 GTO coming in a very respectable second to the slightly more expensive card from NVIDIA.