UPDATE: After hearing feedback on the article, we went back and ran tests on the GeForce 6800 GT and the Radeon X800 XL in order to fill in an upper midrange price gap. Note that there are no tests for the X800 XL at 2048x1536 due to difficulties getting the card to run properly at this resolution (it would only render the upper left 1600x1200 of the screen). Though we have alluded to it before, we would like to note that while we have had zero issues running NVIDIA cards at very high resolutions, it has been a constant struggle to get ATI cards to properly render resolutions above 1600x1200 on analog monitors.

As far as performance of this update goes, the X800 XL slightly trails the 6800 GT without AA enabled, but performs much better after all the options are turned up.

Introduction

The Battlefield series has thus far been a resounding success in terms of popularity. Among the very first of the seemingly endless stream of WWII based war games, Battlefield 1942 broke highly sought-after ground. Digital Illusions CE (DICE) has done it again with the beautifully crafted Battlefield 2.

This modern era combat game pits US troops against imagined Chinese and middle eastern forces. With 16-, 32-, and 64-player maps, gamers are able to immerse themselves in anything from a small scale game to a war full of total carnage. The goal is to seize and defend multiple control points from the enemy, and while this concept may seem simple enough, the game play that ensues is fast-paced and intense.



The ability to command an entire battle and tightly organize small squads of players adds a healthy heaping of tactics and strategy to battles. Players can still go at it alone in sniper or special ops roles, but in all cases, clear graphics are an important advantage. Even at lower resolutions, the game is gorgeous, but in order to take full advantage of the terrain, stay on top of advancing forces, or snipe from extreme distances, graphics detail and resolution must be set as high as possible.

DICE has, again, developed their own engine in order to take complete advantage of modern hardware in the way that they see fit. The beauty of the combat in this game is nothing short of amazing, and players will want to turn on all the bells and whistles. What kind of hardware will it take to run this game at huge resolutions and blazing frame rates? That's what we're here to find out.

This test of multiple graphics cards in a demo recorded and played back using the built-in demo recording and playback functionality to determine performance characteristics over resolutions from 800x600 all the way to 2048x1536 with and without 4xAA/AF. In order to make sure that each card was tested correctly, we deleted the shader cache after installing each card. One of the major selling points of today's budget cards is their ability to run modern games at modest resolutions without sacrificing effects and features. For this reason, all cards were tested with quality settings on high (except AA and texture filtering where indicated). High Texture Filtering settings result in 4xAF and Medium gives 2xAF, and we did not use control panel set AA/AF levels as both ATI and NVIDIA recommend using in game settings. We used an FX-55 based system with 1GB of 2:2:2:8 RAM for our tests with the latest public WHQL drivers (Catalyst 5.6 and ForceWare 77.72).

Budget Performance Tests
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  • Pastuch - Friday, July 08, 2005 - link

    Normally I really enjoy Anandtech articles but this one was sorely lacking. I agree with the other twelve posters. How could you leave the X800XL and 6800GT out of this comparison? Who is going to buy an x850xt when they can purchase a 7800gtx for almost the same money? No One. So why include it in the test? I'm assuming it was because that is the fastest ATI solution available but I still dont think it was a good idea. I thought the purpose of this article was to help people decide which card to purchase. Why did you choose cards that have almost zero interest to your typical Anand reader?

    I also dont like the naming conventions used for each test. Why not say 2xAF instead of "med" for texture filtering settings. Its just confusing.

    To your credit though I did enjoy seeing the two 7800gtxs in SLI do 2000+ resolution above 60fps. That was something I thought was impossible. If you own a Dell 2405FPW or a 2005FPW then SLI is what you need. Native res on the 2405 is 1900x1200 and apparently a couple 7800s is the key to gaming euphoria.

    If you want to run BF2 in widescreen all you have to do is change the shortcut command line to:

    "C:\Program Files\EA GAMES\Battlefield 2 Demo\BF2.exe" +menu 1 +widescreen 1 +szx 1680 +szy 1050

    This will force the resolution you desire, however the POV can not be changed. This means that your verticle vision will be cropped. Also, you wont get the usual advantage of more peripheral vision due to the wide aspect. If you want to read more about widescreen gaming in BF2 read www.widescreengamingforum.com








    Reply
  • legoman666 - Friday, July 08, 2005 - link

    Do you guys think that you could run a few benchmarks on Windows XP Pro x64 Edition? I downloaded and played the demo and on my comp: (2.4ghz A64, x800pro, 1gb ram, at 1024x768, with a 3mb dsl connection) the game lagged so badly and had the most horrible fps ever. Almost as bad as when i tried to play doom3 @ 1600x1200 at 4xaa 16xAF with a 9700pro.

    or if anyone else has had experience playing the game on x64 windows and would like to share it, thatd be good too.

    Thanks.
    Reply
  • ElFenix - Friday, July 08, 2005 - link

    you're surprised that you can still see jaggies at high resolutions? resolution doesn't keep the jaggies from happening, it only makes them smaller. i really don't know why you'd be surprised at that. and, of course, if you're running an 24" LCD that can do 1920x1440, your DPI is worse than a 19" CRT running 1600x1200(~95 for the LCD and ~110 for the CRT). so the jaggy is ever MORE noticeable than it was on the CRT, and AA is even MORE important than at the lower resolution, but higher DPI, CRT. and jaggies are plenty noticeable at 110 DPI. Reply
  • Powered by AMD - Thursday, July 07, 2005 - link

    Is this game CPU Bound with my Thoroughbred B at 2300 Mhz, 400 Mhz FSB? and 9800 Pro.. Reply
  • bobsmith1492 - Thursday, July 07, 2005 - link

    For crying out loud people.... look at ANY other video card review. Your card won't change dramatically in relationship to the other cards reviewed. If an XL performs just under an 850XT in ____, then it will be the same here. Reply
  • eBauer - Thursday, July 07, 2005 - link

    Add me to the list who wants a CPU performance analysis. Reply
  • bob661 - Thursday, July 07, 2005 - link

    Jesus guys...LOL!!! Ease up on the man! Reply
  • buck - Thursday, July 07, 2005 - link

    It would be nice to see this review updated or done over again the right way. Reply
  • buck - Thursday, July 07, 2005 - link

    I agree that leaving out the x800 series (specifically the x800xl) was a bad move. I am very dissapointed in this review. What the hell was he thinking? Reply
  • bob661 - Thursday, July 07, 2005 - link

    #25
    Gotcha. Thanks.
    Reply

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