S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Clear Sky is a survival FPS game for PC based on a 'what-if' scenario of a second Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant accident. The game is created as a warning to mankind against mindless play with technologies. S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Clear Sky is the official prequel to the renowned S.T.A.L.K.E.R. game by the Ukraine-based GSC Game World studio. The game is set in 2011 and brings forth the events to have preceded the third campaign of Strelok to the Zone center. S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Clear Sky introduces an alternative look into the events of the original game and offers the player an opportunity to try himself out as a mercenary in search of his own path in the world of S.T.A.L.K.E.R.
New in our benchmark suite, S.T.A.L.K.E.R. CS which was released in September '08. We bring in heavy artillery against the graphics cards, the mother of all image quality settings, DX10 mode with Enhanced full Dynamic lighting Image Quality setting. Sun rays burst through cracks in wooden roofs. Lightning lights up the night sky as well as dark interiors. It looks terrific and atmospheric, which is what S.T.A.L.K.E.R. is all about really.
This setting is for the hardcore graphics freaks like yours truly, and it is grand that they implemented it. We opted to use this very extreme setting as the standard test, so we can use it for a long time.
In-game Software Anti-Aliasing enabled
16x Anisotropic Filtering
DX10 mode with Enhanced full Dynamic lighting maximum image quality
Now again NVIDIA seems to have an advantage in the lower resolutions. Likely their drivers create less CPU overhead or might be better at multi-threading. Once we hit the GPU bottleneck at 1600x1200 we see again that the 1024MB 4870 is dead on with the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 260 Core 216.
Enhanced full Dynamic lighting maximum image quality settings - spectacular to observe.
As many of you will be aware, F.E.A.R (or First Encounter Assault & Recon in short) involves a rather mysterious looking girl in a red dress, a man with an unappetizing taste for human flesh and some rather flashy action set pieces aka The Matrix. All of this is brought together by one of the best game engines around.
F.E.A.R. makes its cinematic pretensions clear from the start. As soon as the credits roll, and the music starts, you are treated to the full works. The camera pans across scores of troops locked 'n' loaded and ready to hunt you down, all seemingly linked to 'Paxton Fettel', a strange kind of guy with extraordinary psychic powers capable of controlling battalions of soldiers and a habit of feeding off any poor unfortunate innocents - presumably to aid his powers of concentration. It doesnt end there, after a short briefing at F.E.A.R. HQ you are sent off to hunt down Fettel equipped with reflexes that are 'off the chart'. These reflexes are put to excellent use, with a slow motion effect like that of Max Payne, or the before mentioned Matrix. But here, it is oooohhhh so much more satisfying thanks to the outstanding environmental effects. Sparks fly everywhere, as chunks of masonry are blasted from the walls and blood splatters from your latest victim. The physics are just great, with boxes sent flying, shelves tipped over, and objects hurtling towards your head. And the explosions, well, the explosions just have to be seen, and what's so great about this is you can witness it in all its glory in slow motion.
Let me confirm to you that based on this, F.E.A.R. will have you shaking on the edge of your seat, if not falling off it. The tension is brought to just the right level with key moments that will make your heart leap. Play the demo and you will see what I mean. The key to this, is the girl. Without revealing anything significant, lets just say that she could take on the whole of Mars for creepiness.
Image Quality setting:
16x Anisotropic Filtering
Soft Shadows Disabled
F.E.A.R. has a built in test which we used to measure performance, you should try it yourself, it's really fun to look and compare with our results. Yet F.E.A.R. after all this time still is a tough title for the graphics cards; especially when you configure it to maximum image quality. This game is heavily pixel shaded and shows some dark and creepy effects.
Again 4xAA and 16xAF were applied here. Again dead on.
AMD ATI Radeon HD 4870 1024MB review Today a test and review on the new AMD ATI Radeon HD 4870 1024MB. Obviously ATI is releasing a 1GB model to compete with the new Core 216 version of that GeForce GTX 260. The 4870 series really diggs that GDDR5 memory bandwidth, and what's the cheapest thing to do to gain some extra performance ? Increase the framebuffer volume. Now that by itself is not going to work miracles, yet in memory limited situations (loads of high quality textures, filtering and AA modes) it will help you here and there. And a little bit of extra bite is all the product needs to get beat that Core 216 card again.
AMD ATI Radeon HD 4850 Crossfire A review with Crossfire results as well, on the all new Radeon HD 4850 from Force3D and PowerColor. Definitely a review worth reading.
AMD ATI Radeon 3850 & 3870 review Today AMD will launch the Radeon 3000 series products, in specifically the Radeon HD 3850 and 3870. I'll give you a quick hint, these cards are roughly as fast a Radeon HD 2900 XT .. yet they are priced a very promising level; how does a price range of 149 to 249 USD sound ? See, performance wise a 149 USD Radeon HD 3850 will wipe the floor with the entire competitors GeForce 8500/8600 series easily and the 3870 will put up a great fight with the 8800 GTS. With new releases often also we can see a couple of new tricks. Today's announced products will see light of in the form of DirectX 10.1 support, the new UVD (video de/encoding) engine is now integrated opposed to the 2900 XT which didn't have it. Full PCI-Express 2.0 support, and a die-size based on 55nm to die for.