by Rob Williams on August 12, 2008 in Graphics & Displays
AMD has gone too long without a real high-end graphics card to compete with the competition, but they’re done with the pity, and prove it with the HD 4870 X2, which becomes the fastest graphics card the planet has ever seen. It may cost more than the competition, but its end performance easily negates that premium.
Note: Each graph throughout our result pages will label the resolution in which the game was run, but omits such data as AA, AF and other graphic-related settings. Select setting information is noted above each set of graphs, but for more a more detailed look, please refer to our testing methodology page, which contains screenshots of each game’s setting pages.
Post-apocalyptic FPS games have been done over and over, but S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Shadow of Chernobyl was unique in many ways. First was the fact that the story was loosely based off of a real-life tragedy, the Chernobyl nuclear plant explosion, with the player starting out post-disaster working to survive in the now very brutal world.
One of the areas where the game excelled was with the depth. It was an open world with non-linear gameplay. AI was not top-rate, but reacted in a mostly realistic way, so it’s pretty much impossible to just stroll through the game and not expect to die. Coupled with the ability to keep an inventory and sell artifacts you find along your journey makes this game an immersive experience.
The level we use for our testing is a “Thumb Drive” mission that occurs earlier in the game. The premise is simple… walk into a small camp that’s being inhabited by enemy Stalkers, wipe them out and go deliver a thumb drive to a lone Stalker huddled around a campfire. The entire quest takes between four and five minutes from our starting point.
Settings: Static lighting and medium quality is used for our lowest resolution here, while 1920 and 2560 use full dynamic lighting along with high quality settings.
STALKER, like CoJ, is needlessly demanding on the GPU. Could be an inefficient engine, or it could be that I’m blind to what makes the graphics so intensive. Regardless, the HD 4870 X2 showcased enormous gains over the GTX 280, and I can’t help but be constantly wowed. To see this from a single graphics card is amazing, especially given that both the GTX 280 and HD 4870 X2 are roughly the same size and weight.
This game in particular needs a high number of average FPS to be completely playable, unlike most other FPS games out there. So to see almost 100 FPS at 2560×1600 is undoubtedly impressive.