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.|
Our custom Half Life 2 benchmark proved to be no match for any of the high-end graphics cards we tested here. In fact, with this benchmark, our test systems were basically CPU bound in every configuration. What is interesting to note, however, is the effect a 512MB frame buffer has on performance in this game. As we noted in our review of the 512MB Radeon X800 XL back in June, Half Life 2 performance goes up significantly when it has access to more frame buffer memory, especially as the resolution is increased. Here, the 512MB GeForce 7800 GTX (and 512MB GeForce 7800 GTX SLI rig) and Radeon X1800 XT all posted very high framerates, besting the 256MB GeForce 7800 GTX at both resolutions, regardless of whether or not anti-aliasing and anisotropic filtering were used.