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 '04 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 with 4X anti-aliasing and 16X anisotropic filtering enabled concurrently.|
Even though this game is still rather impressive visually, Half Life 2 simply doesn't tax any of today's high-end graphics cards. ATI's Radeon X1900 XTX, whether running in a single-card configuration or in a dual-card CrossFire setup put up the best scores here, technically speaking, but all of the rigs were CPU bound. The slight differences in performance shown in the graph above can likely be attributed to game engine optimizations and reduced CPU overhead in ATI's drivers more than anything else.