I spent a couple of weeks playing the following games and demos. A brief report on gameplay in each game follows.
Gothic 3 Demo
At a resolution of 2560x1600 with all options maxed, the Gothic 3 demo turned out to be an enjoyable gaming experience on Vista. Unfortunately, the game crashed randomly.
Where is the guru ?
As a side note, the Raptor X paid off in Gothic 3 as the game loaded around 5 times faster compared to when it was installed on the Seagate hard drive.
In our custom gameplay benchmark, which can be viewed here (~22 MB mpeg), Dark Messiah averaged 66fps at a resolution of 2560x1600 with no AA. However, the game now fails to launch after having had the system lock during a benchmark run.
The Nightfall campaign was playable at a resolution of 2560x1600 with 4x AA and 8x HQAF.
Excellent performance at a resolution of 2560x1600 with HDR. Forcing AA through the NVIDIA control panel did not work although the in-game framerate as reported by Fraps decreased as one would expect.
Medieval II: Total War Demo
Battle of Otumba gameplay, which can be viewed here (~27 MB mpeg), averaged 30fps at a resolution of 2560x1600 with no AA and all in-game options maxed. A frame rate per second breakdown of the action, courtesy of Fraps logging, is graphed below.
Medieval II: Frame Rate per Second
With 2x AA enabled, the average frame rate dropped to 20fps. Not having played Medieval II prior to this article, I found the demo to be entertaining and very addicting!
World of Warcraft
Played using a resolution of 2560x1600 with 2x AA and all in-game graphics options at maximum quality settings.
World of Warcraft
A small glitch with the latest patch, which would only install if the "Run as Administrator" option was selected.
I lost count of how many times I've installed Vista during the course of this article. For gaming, Vista was better off with the current 100.65 drivers from NVIDIA, although performance in most titles will likely be behind Windows XP.
However, the importance of DirectX 10 cannot be discounted as witnessed by the technology present in NVIDIA's Cascades tech demo.
NVIDIA Cascades Demo
Time will tell how Vista stacks up against Microsoft's desktop operating systems, but Windows XP has turned into a solid operating system for gaming. At this time however, it will take a bit longer before the Windows XP gamer will be able to perform a "worry-free" upgrade to Windows Vista.
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