X1950 / X1900 HL2: Episode 1
|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 quite a while to get our hands on HL2. Armed with the latest episodic update to HL2, Episode 1, we benchmarked the game with a long, custom-recorded timedemo 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 with 4X anti-aliasing and 16X anisotropic filtering enabled concurrently, and with color correction and HDR rendering enabled in the game engine as well.|
The results from our custom Half-Life 2: Episode 1 benchmark were a mixed bag. In the single-card tests, the new Radeon X1950 XTX and GeForce 7950 GX2 traded victories depending on the resolution. The Radeon was best at the lower resolution and the GeForce was stronger at the higher res. The new 256MB Radeon X1900 XT also performed well, besting the GeForce 7900 GT by a sizable margin.
We also had some interesting results in our multi-card tests. The Quad-SLI configuration did not scale properly and actually scored lower than a single GX2. The GeForce 7900 GTX SLI rig, however, scaled as one would expect. We suspect this is an issue NVIDIA will be addressing in a future driver release. As it stands today though, ATI's high-end CrossFire configurations perform much better in Episode 1.