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Introduction — continued

We ran through three different demos in three different levels, with all tests conducted at 1024x768 in 32-bit color. I simply didn't have time to test multiple resolutions. Here are the results.

These scores seem to confirm the numbers Valve released yesterday. With the DirectX 9 codepath, the NV3x chips aren't running the game at acceptable frame rates. The mid-range Radeon 9600 Pro beats out the $500 GeForce FX 5900 Ultra. The NV3x codepath seems to help the FX 5900 Ultra appreciably, but not the FX 5600.

The Half-Life 2 benchmark outputs lots of useful data, and I haven't had time to process it all. However, the graphs below will give you a sense of how the cards performed over time. I've broken things out into mid-range and high-end cards in order to keep things from getting too cluttered. I've also omitted the Radeon DX8.1 data for the same reason (and because dropping to DX8.1 doesn't offer many performance benefits on R3x0 chips).

Conclusions
I won't say too much, but this is certainly an interesting preview of Half-Life 2 performance. I believe there were enough question marks and factors out of our control that I'd prefer to wait until we can do our own testing to draw many conclusions here. I can't wait to see how NVIDIA's new Detonator drivers affect these scores, as well as how the rest of the game development world reacts to recent events. TR

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