Introduction

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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  • Le Québécois - Thursday, October 20, 2005 - link

    I usually don't trust gamespot for their Hardware testing but until Anandtech comes up with a more complete test you can find more information here http://hardware.gamespot.com/Story-ST-x-2661-x-x-x">Gamespot

    They are testing differente CPU speed, graphic settings and RAM sizes.
    Reply
  • smaky - Thursday, October 20, 2005 - link

    You are correct. There is no excuse for not including the x850 pe. Judgin from Gamespot's review, the x850 did well. Come on guys, lets see numbers for the x850! I have one and am a ATI fanboi for the moment. LOL Reply
  • photoguy99 - Thursday, October 20, 2005 - link

    >lets see numbers for the x850!

    I would complain to ATI they are the ones pushing the heck out of new products they don't even have for sale. It's only natural this makes people more interested in X1000 line.

    Reply
  • peldor - Thursday, October 20, 2005 - link

    OK so the highest graphics settings on FEAR are completely unplayable at any decent resolution for most of us, much like the 'Ultra' quality settings in Doom3 when it came out.

    What about all the other settings? I suspect the 'highest' settings make little difference to the visuals, but seriously cut the framerate versus the 'high' setting.

    At least a couple of benchmarks and screenshots to compare the medium/high/highest settings would be nice.
    Reply
  • poohbear - Thursday, October 20, 2005 - link

    why are u guys using nvidia beta drivers? should'nt u test w/ only official drivers? Reply
  • DerekWilson - Thursday, October 20, 2005 - link

    I would think the complaint should be against the beta ATI drivers which are a press sample that is completely unavailable to the public in any form. At least people can download and install the 81.85 drivers from NVIDIA.

    In all honesty, we used unavailable FEAR enhanced drivers for ATI because NVIDIA simply performed better and we didn't want to see complaints about the 81.85 driver... But I guess you can't always get what you want. :-)
    Reply
  • Le Québécois - Thursday, October 20, 2005 - link

    Anychance you could e-mail me those press sample driver for ATI? :P Reply
  • Le Québécois - Thursday, October 20, 2005 - link

    Oups...you read my mind Derek. Reply
  • DerekWilson - Thursday, October 20, 2005 - link

    I've an update -- the driver we used is available here:

    http://support.ati.com/ics/support/DLRedirect.asp?...">http://support.ati.com/ics/support/DLRe...b1854&am...

    and was listed as a fix for serious sam II. It's the 5.10a driver and was posted yesterday for public consumption.
    Reply
  • Bingo13 - Thursday, October 20, 2005 - link

    The 81.85 drivers will be WHQL approved and on Nvidia's website later today. Reply

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