Dell, HP, and iBuyPower Back-to-School PC Roundup

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Far Cry 2, Left 4 Dead 2, and Lost Planet 2

FarCry 2
DX10 Gaming Performance

FarCry 2

Like the original, FarCry 2 is one of the more visually impressive games to be released on the PC to date. Courtesy of the Dunia game engine developed by Ubisoft, FarCry 2's game-play is enhanced by advanced environment physics, destructible terrain, high resolution textures, complex shaders, realistic dynamic lighting, and motion-captured animations. We benchmarked the graphics cards in this article with a fully patched version of FarCry 2, using one of the built-in demo runs recorded in the Ranch Map. The test results shown here were run at various resolutions and settings.

Far Cry 2 isn't particularly demanding, but it does provide a glimpse into how these three systems scale at different resolutions. And while FC2 is playable on all three systems, HP's Radeon HD 6850 handled higher resolutions better than the other two videocards represented here (Dell's Radeon HD 6770 and iBuyPower's Nvidia GeForce GTX 550 Ti).

Left 4 Dead 2
Gaming Performance

Left 4 Dead 2

In our Left 4 Dead 2 test, we use a custom Time Demo that involves plenty of fast action, some explosions, and plenty of people and objects on the screen at the same time.

Left 4 Dead 2 is another game that's not particularly taxing and it was a virtual wash at all three resolutions. What does this tell us? It tells us that if your system can't run L4D2 smoothly, it's time to take it out behind the shed and fire a couple of rounds like Old Yeller.

Lost Planet 2
DX11 Gaming Performance

Lost Planet 2

A follow-up to Capcom’s Lost Planet : Extreme Condition, Lost Planet 2 is a third person shooter that takes place again on E.D.N. III ten years after the story line of the first title. We ran the game’s DX11 mode which makes heavy use of DX11 Tessellation and Displacement mapping and soft shadows. There are also areas of the game that make use of DX11 DirectCompute for things like wave simulation in areas with water. This is one game engine that looks significantly different in DX11 mode when you compare certain environmental elements and character rendering in its DX9 mode versus DX11. We used the Test B option built into the benchmark tool and with all graphics options set to their High Quality values.

Things got serious in a hurry when we loaded up Lost Planet 2, and even at modest resolutions, all three systems broke a sweat. If you plan on playing high-end games on any of these back-to-school systems, you'll have to dial down the visual quality settings to keep things running smooth.

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