Page 7 - Benchmarks F.E.A.R.
For F.E.A.R. we used the built-in test settings benchmark utility, but used the FRAPS utility anyway. It gave the exact same results as F.E.A.R.s built-in one, which is excellent for FRAPS. We averaged 5 runs to get the final frames-per-second numbers.
F.E.A.R. does use EAX HD, but it didn't seem to use many of the gee-whiz features of it. There were some reverb effects, specifically the Environment Panning on the X-Fi, but other than that, they all sounded remarkably similar.
The X-Meridian brings up the rear again, slower than any other card and 8% behind the leader. Of the various modes that the X-Mer can employ, the DTS mode was slowest. However, we know that these encoding methods are hardware based, but obviously are costing something in terms of performance. The Dolby modes will cost about 13%, and the DTS (with its more costly pre-encoding algorithm) is almost a %14 penalty. While not huge, it is certainly something to take note of.
However, I found that I liked the nForce4 with EAX the best, in terms of how it sounded, which is strange because I know the EAX is weird with it. I also liked the Dolby Headphone quite a lot with the X-Meridian. The least pleasing was actually the X-Fi with its Advanced HD EAX enabled. It was doing much more processing with the sound, but it was hard to imagine it being realistic, and ended up confusing my poor ears.