Testbed and Methods
Along with the only level of Counter Strike: Source Valve supplies a special hardware stress test that heavily uses pixel shaders. This one probably should reflect speed of the Half-Life 2, but given its synthetic nature we would not recommend to treat its performance numbers too seriously – the real game will be totally different from this.
In order to present you performance of both stress test and Counter Strike: Source title we used the stress test along with two specially-recorded game demos. For our tests we used our typical system for benchmarking with the following configuration:
- AMD Athlon 64 3400+ CPU (2.20GHz, 1MB L2 cache);
- ASUS K8V Deluxe mainboard;
- OCZ PC-3200 Platinum EB DDR SDRAM (2x512MB, CL2.5-3-2-8);
- Seagate 7200.7 HDD (Serial ATA-150, 8MB buffer);
- Creative SoundBlaster Audigy 2 audio card;
- Microsoft Windows XP SP2, DirectX 9.0c, NVIDIA ForceWare 61.77, ATI CATALYST 4.8.
For the first part of our Counter Strike: Source/Half-Life 2 hardware coverage we used the following graphics cards with driver settings set to match each others’ image quality:
- NVIDIA GeForce 6800 Ultra 256MB (400MHz/1100MHz);
- NVIDIA GeForce 6800 GT 256MB (350/1000MHz);
- NVIDIA GeForce 6800 128MB (325/700MHz);
- NVIDIA GeForce FX 5950 Ultra 256MB (475/950MHz);
- NVIDIA GeForce FX 5900 256MB (400/850MHz);
- NVIDIA GeForce FX 5900 XT 256MB (400/700MHz);
- NVIDIA GeForce FX 5700 Ultra 128B (475/900MHz);
- NVIDIA GeForce FX 5600 Ultra 128B (400/800MHz);
- ATI RADEON X800 XT 256MB (520/1120MHz);
- ATI RADEON X800 PRO 256MB (475/900MHz);
- ATI RADEON 9800 XT 256MB (412/730MHz);
- ATI RADEON 9800 PRO 256MB (380/680MHz);
- ATI RADEON 9600 XT 128MB (500/600MHz);
- ATI RADEON 9600 PRO 128MB (400/600MHz);
- ATI RADEON 9500 PRO 128MB (275/550MHz).
Please note that the GeForce FX 5900-series graphics cards worked in DirectX 8.1 mode and employed rather extreme texture filtering optimizations, which is why the results of those graphics cards are pretty incomparable with others. Furthermore, the GeForce 5700- and 5600-series graphics cards rendered the game using DirectX 8.0 code-path, which resulted in the absence of certain effects, such as bump-mapping.
Keep in mind that current version of the Counter Strike: Source is not commercial and IHVs’ drivers may not be optimized for this type of software. Performance and image quality results of the final version of the game with new drivers may be different compared to those achieved today.