real world half life 2 performance : first look


F@H - Is it in you?
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as has been bandied around a lot since the first days of the nv30 being paperlaunched back in november of last year.. it would appear as though nvidia's broken hardware is actually catching up to them...

first Lara croft : angel of Darkness... now Half Life 2... next ? halo I would presume...

unless the new det 50.xx's come out with the global 'optmizations' and shader replacements they are widely expected to drop with... it is highly unlikely the hardware will be able to handle the performance of the new games to same level as ati's dx9 compliant hardware... basicallly any r3xx based silicon...

all of you looking to do some shopping based on products to run the next big games coming out... consider your choices...

bogus pr or working silicon...


btw the 9600 above is a 9600PRO... and resolution is 1024x768...

p.s. there will be more information coming out soon enough... within a day or two... I highly expect nvidia to issue a fudged up PR statement along the lines of broken drivers or something... but lets wait and see :)


F@H - Is it in you?
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some more information... surely interesting to a few of our forum dwellers...

from tech report...

As you can tell from looking at the list in the slide above, Newell was concerned particularly with some of the techniques NVIDIA has used in recent driver releases, although he didn't exempt other graphics hardware makers from his complaints. He said they had seen cases where fog was completely removed from a level in one of Valve's games, by the graphics driver software, in order to improve performance.

I asked him to clarify which game, and he said it was Half-Life 2. Apparently, this activity has gone on while the game is still in development. He also mentioned that he's seen drivers detect screen capture attempts and output higher quality data than what's actually shown in-game.
so much for the fair IQ comparisons...


However, NVIDIA has claimed the NV3x architecture would benefit greatly from properly optimized code, so Newell detailed Valve's sojourn down that path. The company developed a special codepath for the NV3x chips, distinct from its general DirectX codepath, which included everything from partial-precision hints (telling the chip to use 16-bit floating-point precision rather than the default 32-bit in calculating pixel shader programs) to hand-optimized pixel shader code.
as we know... the dx9 api has a minimum precision of fp24... therefore we are already below that for nvidia hardware running with the FX core...

HOWEVER... here is a GOOD piece of news for nvidia gf4 ti card owners...

as we can see... the gf4 ti 4600 is almost as fast as the 5900ultra in dx8.1 performance and is WAY ahead of the gf FX 5600 series...

will keep you guys posted on details as they emerge...


F@H - Is it in you?
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nvidia's official response :

This is NVIDIA's Official statement: "The Optimizations for Half-Life 2 shaders are in the 50 series of drivers which we made available to reviewers on Monday [Sept. 8, 2003]. Any Half-Life 2 comparison based on the 45 series driver are invalid. NVIDIA 50 series of drivers will be available well before the release of Half-Life 2".
point of note..

Optimization Investment

So how much has Valve done to please its NVIDIA-based video-card-owning customers? It has spent 5 times the amount of time optimizing the NV3X path as they have the DX9 path. Valve themselves were alarmed at the performance difference and went further to say that ATI did not need such specific optimizations performed.
/me shakes his head @ nvidia's PR statement...
Wow...that TechReport article is so explicit of the situation. If I weren't saving up for a wedding, I'd be looking at a 9800 right now...

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