Half-Life 2: Lost Coast
|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 to get our hands on this classic. We benchmarked Half-Life 2: Lost Coast with a long, custom-recorded timedemo, that takes us through a primarily outdoor environment. These tests were run at resolutions of 1,024 x 768 and 1,280 x 1,024 without any anti-aliasing or anisotropic filtering and with 4X anti-aliasing and 8X anisotropic filtering enabled concurrently.|
Using the Lost Coast add-on to Half-Life 2 allows us to take advantage of the Source engine's HDR lighting, which all three cards are capable of. Though ATI usually dominates Nvidia in Half-Life 2, the 6600 GT manages to gain a few FPS over the X1600 XT. Even when AA and AF are applied, the GeForce 6600 GT keeps the lead. Don't be to discouraged by the scores here though. The Lost Coast add-on is somewhat of a technology demo from Valve made to showcase HDR lighting, so the performance demands of the Lost Coast are higher than Half-Life 2, or Half-Life 2: Episode One.
Raising the resolution brings all three cards to their knees. As we mentioned, the Lost Coast is a bit of a technology demo, and the actual Half-Life 2 games will perform better. We like using this technology demo when benchmarking graphics cards though, as a graphically stressful demo such as this will help remove any CPU limitation.