Half-Life 2: Episode Two
The increased number of texture processors doesn’t help the GeForce GTX 200 much here although Half-Life 2 abounds in high-quality high-resolution textures. The GeForce GTX 280 is about as fast as the GeForce 9800 GTX at high resolutions, the latter even coming up on top at 1280x1024, probably due to its higher core clock rate. Thus, the senior model of the new series doesn’t seem to be worth its price because it does not improve performance much over the previous-generation solutions or ATI’s new cards.
The GeForce GTX 260 looks better. Judging by its performance in Episode Two, it is worth its new price of $299 even though it is inferior to the Radeon HD 4870 in certain consumer properties. Note that the Radeon HD 4850 doesn’t look good in this test although is occasionally faster than the ex-flagship Radeon HD 3870 X2.
S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of
The game doesn’t support FSAA when you enable the dynamic lighting model, but loses much of its visual appeal with the static model. This is the reason why we benchmarked the cards in S.T.A.L.K.E.R. using anisotropic filtering only.
This game is traditionally Nvidia’s home turf. The new series proves this point but the GeForce 9800 GX2 outperforms the new flagship in two out of the three tested resolutions. The multi-GPU concept shows its worth here. Its downside can be seen, too. The minimum speed of Nvidia’s dual-chip card is below comfortable at 1920x1200 whereas the single-chip GeForce GTX 280 and 260 are keeping the frame rate above 35fps.
ATI’s multi-GPU solution is good, too. Judging by the results of the Radeon HD 3870 X2, we can expect the Radeon HD 4870 X2 to challenge Nvidia’s superiority in this game.