Half Life 2
|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 2004 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.|
We're not going to dwell on these Half Life 2 scores for long, because quite frankly this game will run well on virtually any mid-to-high end graphics card, with all of the eye candy enhancing features turned on. As good as Half Life 2 looks, it simply doesn't tax the graphics subsystem hard enough to draw any meaningful conclusions. Our custom benchmark reported that every card was capable of playable framerates, even with AA and Aniso enabled at 1600x1200. The Radeon X1800 XT technically stood alone at the head of the pack, followed by the GeForce 7 series of cards, and the X1800 XL. The Radeon X1800 XT was even faster than all three of the multi-GPU configurations, but its victory wasn't decisive. The CPU overhead associated with multi-GPu rendering is a large reason they fall behind the single-GPU configurations in this test.