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ASUS GeForce EN9800GT Matrix
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by Rob Williams on November 21, 2008 in NVIDIA-Based GPU

Picking out a new graphics card is easier to do now than ever, as there seems to be a model to cover every single price-range, and not just from one single GPU manufacturer, either. Today’s card is one that represents the ~$125 price spot and is designed as a step-up from the 9600 GT, with ASUS applying their usual TLC to help add even more appeal.

Half-Life 2: Episode Two

The original Half-Life 2 might have first seen the light of day close to four years ago, but it’s still arguably one of the greatest-looking games ever seen on the PC. Follow-up versions, including Episode One and Episode Two, do well to put the Source Engine upgrades to full use. While playing, it’s hard to believe that the game is based on a four+ year old engine, but it still looks great and runs well on almost any GPU purchased over the past few years.

Like Call of Duty 4, Half-Life 2: Episode Two runs well on modest hardware, but a recent mid-range graphics card is recommended if you wish to play at higher than 1680×1050 or would like to top out the available options, including anti-aliasing and very high texture settings.

This game benefits from both the CPU and GPU, and the skies the limit. In order to fully top out the available settings and run the highest resolution possible, you need a very fast GPU or GPUs along with a fast processor. Though the in-game options go much higher, we run our tests with 4xAA and 8xAF to allow the game to remain playable on the smaller mid-range cards.

The card continues to perform well here, although at these exact settings, 1920×1200 would be the max playable setting. The full resolution of 2560×1600 and 4xAA is simply too much for this card to bear.

Graphics Card
Best Playable
Avg. FPS
Palit HD 4870 X2 2GB
2560×1600, Max Detail, 8xAA, 16xAF
81.418 FPS
XFX GTX 260/216 896MB
2560×1600, Max Detail, 8xAA, 16xAF
62.184 FPS
Palit GTX 280 1GB
2560×1600, Max Detail, 8xAA, 16xAF
61.437 FPS
Palit HD 4870 512MB
2560×1600, Max Detail, 8xAA, 16xAF
56.572 FPS
Palit 9800 GX2 1GB
2560×1600, Max Detail, 4xAA, 8xAF
89.596 FPS
ASUS 9800 GTX+ 512MB
2560×1600, Max Detail, 4xAA, 8xAF
54.977 FPS
ASUS 9800 GTX 512MB
2560×1600, Max Detail, 4xAA, 8xAF
51.272 FPS
ASUS HD 4850 512MB
2560×1600, Max Detail, 4xAA, 8xAF
48.142 FPS
ASUS 9800 GT 512MB
2560×1600, Max Detail, 0xAA, 8xAF
66.833 FPS
Gigabyte 9600 GT 512MB
2560×1600, Max Detail, 0xAA, 8xAF
52.297 FPS

Like our 9600 GT, the strain of anti-aliasing was just too much, so to find the best playable setting, we had to disable it. Once done that, we get some rather impressive performance of just over 60 FPS.


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