We have been excited about lots of new games being released and we've had our hands full testing and playing as many as we can. Starting with games like Battlefield 2, we've been seeing some big advancement in game graphics even within the past few months. Black and White 2, in particular, impressed us recently with its amazing images of water and overall environments. We are always excited about a game that has beautiful looking graphics and rich gameplay as well, and it seems like this is happening more often lately, much to our delight. The Call of Duty 2 demo also has us all giddy, and it looks and plays great, even if it is frustratingly short.

Some other games that have us waiting in anticipation are Quake 4 and Age of Empires 3. We wish that we had some good demos of these games, but unfortunately we have to wait for the release date like everyone else. It seems like the bar is being raised higher and higher with new games in terms of graphics that video card manufacturers might have trouble keeping up, and this past Tuesday, with the release of FEAR, the bar was raised a very significant notch. Yes, FEAR is out, and it is beautiful.

We recently sat down and tested FEAR with the 1.01 patch that came out the day on which the game was released. We also tested with the absolute latest drivers from ATI (press sample 8.183.1017 which should be available in catalyst soon) and NVIDIA (81.85 available on nzone now), both of which offer increased performance in FEAR. Our results were interesting to say the least, and we'll give you the details on how this game performs on a wide range of boards, including ATI's new X1000 line.

While the single and multiplayer demos of this game have been available for quite some time, we had the (quite correct) understanding that final performance would not look anything like what the demo showed. Today, readers can rest assured that the numbers that we have collected will be an accurate reflection of FEAR performance on modern hardware.

The Game/Test setup


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  • carl0ski - Sunday, October 23, 2005 - link

    I think this is an EXTREMELY bad review
    what card do you own?

    i know i own a ATI 9600XT bought 12 months ago and runs BF2 really well at medium-high

    but why dont Article like this include that info??

    Either these sites have lost the plot

    Or ATI and Nvidia dont want us to know that older/cheaper cards are still capable


    latest drivers from ATI (press sample 8.183.1017 which should be available in catalyst soon)

    Yes because we all just happen to be playing FEAR with Drivers not yet available.


    NVIDIA GeForce 7800 GTX
    NVIDIA GeForce 7800 GT
    NVIDIA GeForce 6800 GT
    NVIDIA GeForce 6600 GT
    ATI Radeon X1800 XT (not yet available)
    ATI Radeon X1800 XL
    ATI Radeon X1600 XT (not yet available)
    ATI Radeon X1300 Pro
    ATI Radeon X800 GT

    And WHat is wrong with this list?
    alot at first glance for starts ATI Radeon X1800 XT (not yet available)
    ATI Radeon X1600 XT (not yet available)
    dont exist on the market yet. So yes just happen to be running those on FEAR already.

    This articler is to sell VIdeo Cards not fear.
  • Pythias - Thursday, October 20, 2005 - link

    "This has become a never ending process that is wearing thin on me."

    Amen. If it wont run on whay I have now, I simply wont buy it. The software/hardware gouging can continue on without me. At least with a console, you know the games you buy are going to run on your machine.
  • DerekWilson - Friday, October 21, 2005 - link

    The games will run fine if you turn off maximum detail setting. There still isn't a card that can run EQ2 at extreme quality mode.

    I see this as a good thing because games out there are finally making use of the high end hardware some people have invested in. Until this half of the year there really hasn't been much out that could really make use of high end hardware.

    This is quite different than requiring high end hardware.
  • xsilver - Thursday, October 20, 2005 - link

    you should have forewell known that the computer industry moves very fast
    if you want a bugdet gaming experience, I suggest a ps2/xbox....

    no one is telling you to toss your 6800gt, its just that if you WANT to run high resolutions with AA/ansio enabled then you need the latest/greatest card, its ALWAYS been like that
  • deathwalker - Thursday, October 20, 2005 - link

    xsliver...I fully understand all of what you are saying...Im 58 yrs old and have been building customs systems for about 12 years...and...I "have" by in large kept up with new technology at all of my upgrade intervals. Perhaps in my position and at my age the payback just isn't what it use to be. Reply
  • bob661 - Thursday, October 20, 2005 - link


    payback just isn't what it use to be.
    Sounds like you aren't having fun with todays games. I choose to stick to the old stuff until I see a game I like then I'll switch. I don't play new games just because they're new. I play BF2, UT2004 (the funnest game of these 3) and sometimes COD (and probably COD2 when I have a chance to play the demo). I don't play anything else because I don't like anything else. Also, my hardware upgrade path is solely dictated by the games I play.
  • arswihart - Thursday, October 20, 2005 - link

    i agree the x800xt/xl should be included, i can't understand why they would be Reply
  • ChronoReverse - Thursday, October 20, 2005 - link

    I must have missed it, but what were the other settings used for each card?

    I'm particularly curious about the shader level used and the texture detail level.
  • Le Québécois - Thursday, October 20, 2005 - link

    Everything was set to maximum except for the soft shadow, AA and AF. Reply
  • capslock99999 - Thursday, October 20, 2005 - link

    I was thinking about hte RAM issue too. I used 1GB for the demo, then I upgraded to 1.5GB. It removed a lot of stuttering and felt a whole lot smoother.

    This was the demo, of course.

    Why are 6800GTs used and not Ultras? I've found this trend recently, a little puzzling.

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