by Rob Williams on April 9, 2008 in Graphics & Displays
It’s not too often that the fastest single-GPU available is also affordable, but the 9800 GTX is just that. At just over $300, it delivers incredible performance at all resolutions and also turns out to be amazingly overclockable. It’s just too bad that the 8800 GTS 512 is not much slower…
Each graph for our benchmarking results are labeled with the resolution that the game was played at, while omitting secondary settings such as Anti-Aliasing, Anisotropic Filtering, texture quality, et cetera. To view all specific settings that we used, please refer to our testing methodology page, where we have screenshots for each game.
Half-Life 2: Episode Two
If there is one game in our line-up that most everyone has played at some point, it would be Half-Life 2. The most recent release is Episode Two, a game that took far too long to see the light of day. But despite that, it proved to be worth the wait as it delivered more of what fans loved.
We are using the Silo level for our testing, which is a level most people who haven’t even played the game know about, thanks to Valves inclusion of it in their Episode Two trailers during the year before its release. During our gameplay, we shoot down a total of three Striders (their locations are identical with each run, since we are running a saved game file) and a barn is blown to smithereens.
Overall it’s a great level, but the Strider’s minions can prove a pain in the rear at times – most notably when they headbutt you. Nothing a little flying log won’t solve, however! This levels graphics consist mostly of open fields and trees, although there is a few explosions in the process as well, such as when you blow the Striders apart with the help of the Magnusson Device.
Settings: High graphic settings are used throughout all three resolutions, with 4x AA and 8xAF.
Half-Life 2 might have superb graphics, but even a modest mid-range card is sufficient to deliver excellent gameplay value. In this case, the 9800 GTX fared well against the competition, but we can see significant gains from the modestly overclocked 8800 GTS 512 card in all tests except our 2560×1600, where the results become much tighter.
Call of Juarez
Western FPS games are not common, so when one hits, people notice. Luckily for FPS fans, Call of Juarez delivered great graphics, solid gameplay and a very high difficulty. It’s a great game to benchmark due to its ability to run in DX10 mode, under Windows Vista. This mode is far more demanding than the DX9 mode, but the results are better.
We take the role of Billy Candle in the level we chose, which is rather simple in concept. We begin out at the end of a linear path that we must follow in order to reach a ravine that we must cross.
The goal of the level is to sneak through a farm and ride off with a horse in order to make the jump, but since that process takes far too long, our run through consists of following the exact same path each time, which ends up on the opposite side of the farm near an edge with water below.
Settings: Very high graphic settings are used here, although AA is never used. The fact that the game uses DX10 is enough to drag performance down.
As we can gain from our results, CoJ is a game that will either benefit from more GPU memory, or higher clocks, which is why this is one of the few tests where we see the 8800 GTX actually out-perform the 9800 GTX. Nothing compares to a dual-GPU solution like the HD 3870 X2, but that’s to be expected.