Soft Shadows Performance

Please refer back to our earlier section on soft shadows to learn why (aside from abysmal performance) we recommend against enabling soft shadows. Upon selecting the option in FEAR to enable soft shadows, a dialog box will pop up to inform the gamer that soft shadows are a high end option, which will only run well on heavy hitting graphics hardware. It is very true that you need to high end hardware to run the game with soft shadows, but we just don't like the feature.

With Soft Shadows enabled, the game takes a very significant performance hit. You can see that the 7800 GTX and GT become borderline-unplayable at 1600x1200, while the rest of the cards' framerates drop off quite abruptly. The X800 GT is only really playable at the absolute lowest resolution, and the X1300 PRO isn't really playable at all. At 37 fps, the 6600 GT does very well at 800x600, and although this is a low resolution by other games' standards, FEAR is still impressive. While 640x480 leaves something to be desired, 800x600 doesn't do a bad job in a pinch. But in a case like the 6600 GT, it is especially desirable to disable soft shadows and go with a higher resolution.

4xAA/8xAF Performance Tests Final Words
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  • giles00 - Tuesday, October 25, 2005 - link

    I thought the bit-tech review was more relevant - they actually sat down and played the game, proving that the inbuilt graphics test doesn't bare any representation on real game play.">

    here's a good quote:


    To give an idea of how intense our manual run through is in comparison to the built in "stress" test, the average and minimum frame rates for the NVIDIA GeForce 7800 GTX at 1280x960 2xAA 8xAF were 41 fps and 11 fps respectively. In contrast, the stress test reported a 55 FPS average and 35 fps minimum frame rate with only 17% of the frames below 40 frames per second. We think it is fair to say that the stress test isn't really much of a "stress" test after all.
  • lindy01 - Sunday, October 23, 2005 - link

    Having to upgrade your hardware to the latest and greatest to get good looking games is crazy. In the last two years its spun out of control.

    My 9700pro lasted the longest, then I bought a 6800GT for $ next purchase is a xbox360 for $399....I am sure if they make a version of Fear for it it will look great on my 50inch HD Sony TV. Ahhh and it probably wont ship full of bugs.

    Dam if it were not for PC games my system would be a 1ghz P3 with 512megs of ram!
  • Regs - Monday, October 24, 2005 - link

    I'm a little reluctant too this year to upgrade. The worse thing about it is when they make a good optimized graphics engine , like HL2's & Far Cry's, they dont seem to last very long. I expected at least a few other developers to make good quality games with them but that never happened. So the end result is that you're upgrading your PC for 2 or 3 titles a year. ID's OpenGL based engine was the only real "big" seller with Riddick and Quake 4 thankfully. Plus if you include the problem that if the games turned out not to be in your liking you're stuck with 1000 dollars worth of useless hardware.
  • CronicallyInsane - Sunday, October 23, 2005 - link

    I got the game, installed the new patch, and have been running @ 1024x768 just fine with the majority of the goodies on. Given, no soft shadows, and on 4x rather than 8x or 16x, but it looks beautiful to me.

    2.4Gig Northwood @ 3 gig
    1 gig pc3200
    Raptor 36G
    6600gt agp @ 550/1.1

    Try it before you bash it, ya know?

  • carl0ski - Sunday, October 23, 2005 - link

    I am starting to think technology sites are forgeting they are to be reviewing the game.

    Not VIDEO cards.


    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

    So What the hell is this (not yet available) doing in an article helping us decide to buy a game?

    we want to buy the game knowing whether it will run on what people own.

    Geforce TI's
    ATI 9800XT
    ATI Radeon X1300 Pro
    ATI Radeon X800 GT
    NVIDIA GeForce 7800 GTX
    NVIDIA GeForce 7800 GT
    NVIDIA GeForce 6800 GT
    NVIDIA GeForce 6600 GT

    AS that is what the mainstream/people own already

    We want to know if it'll run on our own computers!!

    simple as that.

    How many of the 1,000,000's of copies a game is sold on do people run on $400 current generation Cards?
    probably only a small percentage

    most people i know who bought BF2 use cards ranging 6 months - 2 year old cards.
  • yacoub - Sunday, October 23, 2005 - link

    Any chance this will actually happen?">;thre...
  • Regs - Saturday, October 22, 2005 - link

    You make reference to how the soft shadows are implemented to Riddick compared to FEARs yet I searched the site and there is no benchmarks or IQ comparisons of Riddick. If you asked me that's a major problem considering you have no evidence published to back up your own statement.
  • Jeff7181 - Saturday, October 22, 2005 - link

    This should be a game review... not a GPU review. Review the game, play the game how you'd actually play it... with sound enabled. THEN show us the FPS measurements.
  • yacoub - Saturday, October 22, 2005 - link

    A large number of Anandtech readers do not comprehend anything other than "GPU review" so you will likely not see a true game review anytime soon on a realistic rig. It's always only ever a GPU test with an FX-55. =/
  • yacoub - Saturday, October 22, 2005 - link

    You include the 6600GT and 6800GT but not the X800XL and X800XT, the two comparable cards. Stop with the 1800-series nonsense and post the BUYABLE ATI cards as well please! Would be nice for those of us considering upgrading to an X800XL or 6800GT to see how they stand up in FEAR. :(

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