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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  • saiku - Thursday, July 07, 2005 - link

    The choice of cards to benchmark always baffles me.
    Where are the mainstream cards such as 9800 Pro? What percentage of Anandtech's audience uses 7800 GTX or an SLI setup? Why not focus on the "mainstream" cards such as the 9800s, the 6800GT and non spend tons of stats on $1000 video card setups.

    I love reading anandtech stuff but their choice of cards for benchmarks drives me nuts.
    Reply
  • JustAnAverageGuy - Thursday, July 07, 2005 - link

    Would have liked to see the 9800 Pro and 800XL included. Reply
  • DerekWilson - Thursday, July 07, 2005 - link

    Sorry, I was mixing up my game engines there -- you are correct and the article has been fixed to reflect the use of the proper engine.

    Derek Wilson
    Reply
  • Therms - Thursday, July 07, 2005 - link

    The Battlefield 1942 engine had nothing to do with the Unreal Engine.

    "When you're looking at screenshots and movies from Battlefield 1942 you cant stop noticing that it is damn beautiful; could you tell us something more about the technique behind the game? We heard that you developed your own engine, could you please tell us a little bit more about it?

    The engine is named Refractor2 and is completely home made, just as it's predecessor, Refractor. The reason why we made our own engine, and didn't use any of the well known engines as say the Quake3 engine or the Unreal Tournament engine, is because of the specific demands that Battlefield 1942 has. "

    http://www.gamingeye.com/english/artiklar/artikel....

    Reply
  • CrystalBay - Thursday, July 07, 2005 - link

    Nice article Derek,

    Will AT be making the AT BF2 benchmark downloadable for members ? That would be nice , then members could bench thier cards and share the results. Myself I can figure out how well my GT scales compared to Ultras.
    Reply
  • dev0lution - Thursday, July 07, 2005 - link

    It doesn't make much sense to include an X700 Pro over an X800XL, as I'm sure the latter is one of the more popular ATI cards. Reply
  • coomar - Thursday, July 07, 2005 - link

    x700 pro is pretty much the equivalent of a 9800pro, i'm a little surprised as to a lack of the x800xl or 6800gt Reply
  • ShadowVlican - Thursday, July 07, 2005 - link

    a 2nd edition of this article would be appreciated (to include CPU scaling & older gfx cards) Reply
  • Yelapaboy - Thursday, July 07, 2005 - link

    One thing I have noticed with my 3.2 @ 3.6 P4 with X800 XT PE main rig is that although I notice a pretty nice difference at very high res with older games and sims I don't notice that much with newer shooters that use shaders such as HL2, Doom 3, and Far Cry. For example I was almost as happy playing Far Cry at 1024x768 with 2X temporal FSAA on my old 9700Pro as 1600x1200 4X with my X800 XT PE, I can't tell much difference in HL2, Butcher Bay or Doom 3 when I go above 1280x960 on my 22" Viewsonic P225 and pretty much run them at that res. I figure my year and a half old main rig with it's year old video card easily has another year left of keeping me wildly happy although I am chomping at the bit for a dual core AMD CPU and the 7800 is certainly awesome. I feel that of the games I play only IL2 and FS2004 would give me a definitely better gaming experience with more GPU and CPU but as it is they run quite well. At any rate great article but I would have liked to see certain other cards tested. Reply
  • Jep4444 - Thursday, July 07, 2005 - link

    the demo doesn't seem to want to install on my computer so i can't see how it'll run on my rig Reply

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