A preview of Half-Life 2 performance?

The source engine benchmarked

AT ABOUT 10PM CENTRAL TIME on Wednesday night, a beta version of Counter-Strike based on the new Source game engine became available to those holding an ATI Half-Life 2 voucher and a subscription to Valve's Steam content delivery system. Counter-Strike: Source is basically just a port of the mega-popular team-based shooter to Half-Life 2's Source engine. The beta version of CS: Source, though, includes another feature that's very interesting: a video card benchmark. This benchmark, which Valve has dubbed the "video stress test," uses the same test level that we saw in our early Half-Life 2 benchmarks nearly a year ago. Of course, this time around, Half-Life 2 is very close to release—rumors abound about the game going gold very shortly.

Based on everything we know, we can only conclude that the CS: Source video stress test is essentially a Half-Life 2 benchmark that's available to the public right now. Naturally, that piques our curiosity, especially since last time around, the ATI cards were absolutely trouncing the NVIDIA cards in HL2 benchmarks. There was only one thing to do: we rounded up thirteen different DirectX 9-class video cards for a Source engine benchmarking bonanza.

Has ATI maintained its monstrous lead in Half-Life 2 performance over NVIDIA, or have the events of the past year allowed NVIDIA to catch up? Read on to find out.

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