Although updates to the Half-Life 2 protocol have made previously recorded demos unusable, the recently released Lost Coast map features High Dynamic Range (HDR) rendering. A custom demo was recorded to test performance in Half-Life 2: Lost Coast.
Half-Life 2: Lost Coast Settings
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The timedemo command was executed in-game via the console, which also plays back sound effects.
Half-Life 2: Lost Coast Settings
Half-Life 2: Lost Coast Timedemo Results
Taking advantage of the cool fall evenings, I was able to squeeze in an overclocking session. With the room temperature at 68° F (20° C), the highest artifact-free clock speeds achieved were a core of 500MHz (from 425MHz) and memory of 1.08GHz (from 1.00GHz) with a closed case. At 525MHz/1.10GHz, graphics artifacts appeared during the FEAR benchmark.
Temperature readings from nTune recorded a maximum temperature of 57° C (134.6° F) during the FEAR benchmark. The following output is from nTune's temperature monitor log in 10 second intervals. Note that the low CPU temperatures were the result of manually increasing the CPU fan speed to a constant 4500RPM during the test.
nTune Temperature Monitor Log
Running the FEAR benchmark at 1024x768 with no AA at default and overclocked clock speeds produced the following results.
My initial gaming experience with the GeForce 6800 GS got off to a great start. For the past two months, I have been playing Guild Wars on Friday nights with a friend from work. Having been using the GeForce 7800 GTX in an SLI configuration, I was skeptical about the performance the GeForce 6800 GS would provide. I began playing at a resolution of 1280x960 with maximum in-game graphics settings enabled at 4X AA and 8X AF. At various points throughout our adventure I enabled Fraps logging.
While writing this section of the article, I still had not examined the Fraps data, which revealed that after 75,000 frames of gameplay, the average frame rate was 93 fps and the minimum was 45 fps. Guild Wars may not be as graphically demanding as Quake 4 and FEAR, but the landscape and colorful scenery are quite appealing.
Over the weekend, I tested performance in Quake 4, FEAR, and Half-Life 2: Lost Coast, all of which cause extreme stress on the graphics sub-system. The benchmark results reveal the versatility of the GeForce 6800 GS in leading edge games as Quake 4 played exceptionally well at 1024x768 with 2X AA and 1280x960 with no AA. Although I was unable to test gameplay performance in FEAR, in-game benchmark results indicate that good performance is achieved at 1024x768 with 2X AA and 1280x960 with no AA.
The only issues I encountered during testing were a texturing bug in Guild Wars (fixed in driver version 81.95), which can be corrected by minimizing and maximizing the game and texture aliasing that appeared on the grass in Half-Life 2: Lost Coast.
With a suggested retail price of $249,the GeForce 6800 GS should be another solid product from NVIDIA. However, it will face still competition from the GeForce 6800 GT and possibly the GeForce 7800 GT. I suspect that the GeForce 6800 GS will drop in price rather quickly.
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Previews of the GeForce 6800 GS can also be found at the following web sites: