XHD Resolutions - HL2: Episode 1
On the proceeding few pages, we re-tested all of the graphics cards at XHD, or Extreme High-Definition, wide-screen resolutions. As prices continue to drop on large LCD panels, these resolutions will only become more popular. And with the power of some of today's multi-GPU graphics configurations, it sometimes takes running at game at these high resolutions to significantly tax the hardware.
|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 1,920 x 1,2004 and 2,560x1,600 with 4X anti-aliasing and 16X anisotropic filtering enabled concurrently. Color correction and HDR rendering were enabled for these tests as well.|
Regardless of the resolution or test configuration, ATI's new Radeon X1950 XTX and 256MB Radeon X1900 XT cards compared favorably to their NVIDIA's powered counterparts. The 256MB Radeon X1900 XT significantly outpaced the GeForce 7900 GT, and hung right alongside the 7900 GTX. The X1950 XTX fell victim to the GeForce 7950 GX2 at 1,9200x1,200, but at 2,560x1,600 only a fraction of a frame per second separated the two cards.
If we shift our attention to the multi-GPU tests, the DirectX issue we mentioned in our test system notes rears its ugly head again. The Quad-SLI rig's performance did not scale upwards, where all the others did. The high-end CrossFire rigs were clearly the fastest here, followed by the GeForce 7900 GTX SLI rig and then finally the dual-GeForce 7950 GX2 Quad-SLI setup.