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ATI Distributing Spurious HL2 Benchmarks 52

BatonRogue writes "Apparently ATI provided a few Half Life 2 benchmarks to the press and some websites are actually using the benchmarks for their Half Life 2 performance reviews. AnandTech and HardOCP seem to be the only reputable sources of Half Life 2 performance data as they both put together their own benchmarks representative of Half Life 2 gameplay. AnandTech apparently went through every Half Life 2 level and put together a list of the 11 most stressful levels and then created 5 demos, while HardOCP put together two long benchmarks for their review. AnandTech and HardOCP's results appear to agree with each other, while the ATI-backed benchmarks show ATI with a huge performance lead in Half Life 2. Apparently (according to the AnandTech article), ATI was allowed to make their demos while at Valve before Half Life 2 was released, while Valve would not let NVIDIA remove any data from their time at Valve until the game was released. Politics at work as usual."
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ATI Distributing Spurious HL2 Benchmarks

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  • by Paladin128 ( 203968 ) <{gro.saart} {ta} {noraa}> on Thursday November 18, 2004 @12:50PM (#10855120) Homepage
    Gabe Newell seems to have something personal against NVIDIA -- he went absolutely batshit towards NVIDIA, as if it was a personal assault that the GeForce FX 5900 didn't run HL2 well. And yeah, the GeForce FX architecture totally sucks with the source engine. The X800 Platinum is the best at running it, but not by the margin ATI is claiming.

    Not to say that given the chance, NVIDIA wouldn't post absurdly inflated numbers. I still personally favor NVIDIA, mostly because thier Linux drivers are of such high quality. And although ATI's Win32 drivers have improved greatly over the past 2 years, in my experience, they aren't quite up to the level of NVIDIA's. Maybe another year and they'll get there. My biggest beef is the lack of support for older products -- the new Catalyst drivers are good, but drivers for the original Radeon and All-in-Wonders suck. NVIDIA's detonator drivers support everything they've ever made, other than the craptastic Riva128 ZX. I'm still using my trusty old TNT2 -- plays a mean game of Quake3 under Linux.
    • And don't forget that I can even run official nVidia drivers on my FreeBSD workstation. Plays a mean game of UT2k4 under Linux emulation ;)
  • The ATI PR benchmarks are crap, as should be expected of any benchmark in a PR release. The thing that sucks is ATI is distributing demos made by them for people to benchmark off as if they are good overall representations of gameplay which clearly isn't true. Also the fact that ATI was even able to make these demos ahead of time while others were denied seems wrong.

    On a side note, the NVIDIA SLI PR benchmarks [theinquirer.net] were actually fairly close to those done by Anandtech. [anandtech.com]

  • so? (Score:1, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward
    AnandTech apparently went through
    every Half Life 2 level and put together a list of the 11 most stressful levels and then created 5 demos, while HardOCP put together two long benchmarks for their review.
    Anyone know if Anandtech is hiring?
  • by Qrlx ( 258924 ) on Thursday November 18, 2004 @01:39PM (#10855804) Homepage Journal
    Could we have a review for the common man? The one who can't afford to spend his rent check on a $600 video card?
    • They become resonably priced when teh next generatino comes out, or you could always look towards the mid range card.

      Hell I run HL2 on my Geforce 5 (I forget the exact model, but it's not the best in class) and it plays nicely indeed.

      I'm not that concerned that it doesn`t run at 100 frames/sec, or that there is another card that beats mine by a whole 5 frames/sec.

      Which, by the way, is about the margin of difference, in real terms, of the two companies top line cards.

    • And includes 2 other sub-$200 cards, the 9800 Pro and 6600.
    • My 'common man machine' (2.8Ghz P4, 1G RAM, ATI Radeon 9600 pro) gets between 30-70 fps depending on the stituation. It typically sits a 50-60 when not much is going on and drops down to about 30 in a heavy firefight. Its very playable.

      I'm using these settings: 1024x768, all settings at high, 2x AA, 2x Ansio.

      In other words it runs a heck of a lot faster than doom 3. :)
      • Thank you. I had heard rumors that a 9600xt was good enough to play HL2, I'm becoming more and more convinced that that's the case.

        Aside from DOOM III, which is a special effects tour de force, sort of a advanced pixel shader proof-of-concept if you will, I can't see any reason to spend more than $150 on a video card right now.
        • I've noticed that newer games are starting to increase the usage of DX 9 features but it's mostly in the form of additional eye candy. So no they aren't necessary - but the visual experience in HL 2, Medal of Honor Pacific Assault, Doom 3 etc. is enhanced greatly by being able to play at high res with AA and Aniso on. I find the experience much more absorbing especially combined with surround speakers or a good headphone set.
          It's not necessary - but these new cards bode well for pc gaming in the future. The
          • Well I hope you're right. I would love to be able to get more card for my buck. But a decent video card from three years ago (say a Ti4200) is still around the $100 dollar mark. I would have thought that would be like $30 by now.

            The "entry" dx9 cards like the nvidia 5200 and the radeon 9000 have far, far less horsepower than the previous generation dx8 cards like the Ti4200 or the Radeon 8500. It's kind of disappointing, and it feels like we're being taken for a ride.

            Did top of the line video cards us
      • In other words it runs a heck of a lot faster than doom 3. :)

        This is partly due to the fact that ATI has historically had crappy OpenGL support in their drivers. They claim to be working on a new OpenGL implementation now, which is good news for everyone I think. I'm using NVIDIA hardware primarily because they support OpenGL well and they support Linux well, but I'd love to see some real competition for them in this area.
  • I think what is spurious here are the claims that ATi is releasing false data. The poster specifically states that Anand went through and found the parts of the game with the heaviest load and based their tests on that. If HardOCP's tests give similar results, one could safely assume they did something at least similar.

    I don't see ATi's benchmarks as "spurious" simply because they're different than someone who benchmarked only the worst performing parts of the game they could find. >.>

    Would it no
    • I'd consider any results that consist solely of the lowest performing parts of the game to be "spurious".

      Why is that? They could go into a crouch-high pitch black corridor and record the FPS there, but that wouldn't be interesting. The worst situation that the user can expect on each card IS very interesting to the consumer. Even if the worst spot for each card is different, its still very interesting.

      For example, if one card consistently runs at 30fps at the highest detail setting no matter what, and
    • No -- actually testing under the heaviest load is the best way to measure performance. The card that has a good framerate at the heaviest loads will be able to handle the lighter with ease. Who cares if you can get 500FPS when there's nothing on screen if you can only get 20 under load. I'd frankly rather a consistent 60FPS across the whole game rather than that kind of swinginess. For that reason, it's similar to benchmark based on glxgears -- so geometrically simple, there's nearly nothing for the GPU to
    • The worst performance is THE performance. Generally in these fast paced games the worst performing parts are the only parts that matter. The last thing I want is to drop down to 10 FPS when the going gets rough.
    • by obsid1an ( 665888 ) <obsidian&mchsi,com> on Thursday November 18, 2004 @02:41PM (#10856648)
      You don't see a problem with a company picking and choosing which parts of a game perform better on their card and then releasing benchmarks saying this is how the whole game performs?
      • I think you are missing his point!

        HardOCP and Anandtechs performance figures is just as bad as ATI's as they took some of the most stressfull levels.

        A proper benchmark should use all the game, or a couple of levels that represent the average of the game.
      • I don't see a problem with it, but I sure as heck wouldn't buy a video card based on that "information".

        I suppose if you consider the general public, however, it is very misleading for the company to make those specific examples and then attempt to pass them off as an overall performance indicator. Give companies an inch and they'll take a mile of course. When advertising first kicked into swing, and there wasn't anyone to regulate the industry, companies used to tell all sorts of lies. About how tonics
  • Most important (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Schemat1c ( 464768 ) on Thursday November 18, 2004 @02:34PM (#10856531) Homepage
    Here's my benchmark for HL2:

    It's a lot of fun to play.

    Isn't that the only one that really matters?
  • by Prien715 ( 251944 ) <agnosticpopeNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Thursday November 18, 2004 @03:31PM (#10857307) Journal
    Maybe there exist people who don't buy a graphics card every year. Even the worst card gets ~54 FPS which is definitely playable. Past that, it's really academic or else you're looking to the future.

    I have a Geforce2 GTS w/64 MB of memory and an Athlon XP 2200+ w/512 MB memory. I can play UT2004 fine with 32 players on any given map without frame loss (lowest detail settings, but the framerate's smooth, which is what's really important). Doom3 is a no-show. Would I have to fork over cash for a new GFX card for this game to play reasonably well or not?
    • I guess it depends what you consider reasonably well. I can't say for sure, but my setup is an AMD 2600 1G Ram and a GFX5600. Running at 800x600 with basically everything on highest details (no AA). Runs great... couple times I've noticed a bit of lag, but nothing that really interfers with game play. I haven't actually checked FPS yet.
      With what you've got, I am guessing you could run at a reasonable framerate at 640x480 with low details, but its hard to say.
    • Every 18 months if you're serious about playing these games, unfortunately. It's not necessarily easy, and cutting edge gaming isn't for everyone. This is what the console market is for. Understandably, you can't have the amazing graphics of Half-Life for the low low price of a console. PC gamers pay for the hardware because they want the performance and the quality. Much like hi-fi enthusiasts spend loads of cash upgrading their home cinema. Got a family, not a lot of money? Those things are more im
  • I want to see a benchmark of the newest cards (hey, a GeForce 6800 non-GT is quite affordable) on somewhat older CPUs as well. It's great to see that an Radeon X800 or GeForce 6800GT rock at high resolutions with P4 @ 3.2 GHz, but what about those of us stuck with Athlon XP 1600+ and a motherboard that can't take much more. Can we play HL2 with the latest offerings from ATI and nvidia, or should we just stick to our old Radeon 7200s and play Tuxracer instead? A modern GPU should offload the CPU quite a bit,
    • AFAICT the 6800 only comes in GT or Ultra flavors. The cheaper one is the Ultra 128MB, at $305 and up. For $271.39 you could get a Gigabyte GA-K8NS with an Athlon 64 2800 and 256MB of PC3200 DDR. Maybe your money would be better spent on a mb/cpu/memory upgrade.

      • Yes, that's a possibility. But I think a new motherboard also demands a new PSU (don't the newer Athlons need the same plug that was introduced with the P4?), so in the end the cost will be about the same. And my graphics card still sucks -- it's 1st gen Radeon, halfway between GeForce256 and GF2. It's not going to let me play Doom3 at all, but there is a chance that HL2 will load...

        The problem is, I have no idea which upgrade is best for my immediate gaming needs. However, I do know that none of the optio
        • If your power supply provides enough power to run an Athlon 64, which IIRC doesn't really consume any more power than an Athlon XP and might even consume less, then you can get a little adapter widget which turns one of your drive power supply connectors into the ATX 12V connector. One of my motherboards actually came with one just in case my power supply didn't have one (it does.)

          As you say, the coupling of CPU to motherboard is not especially troubling. The only reason to even put it in a socket is bein

    • It really is a disappointment that sites don't tend to do cpu scaling tests. Tom's Hardware will run them once in awhile. I think it's mostly because they are very time consuming to perform.
      If I were you - the upgrade answer would depend on your budget. Create an upgrade plan and move towards it. If you don't plan on going to a PCE motherboard in your upgrade then it could be worthwhile to pickup a nice AGP video card now. You will get a boost and you can take the card with you when you upgrade.
  • NVIDIA did tell us that honestly their limited time at Valve wasn't solely dictated by Valve. Valve extended an invitation to NVIDIA and things just ended up working out so that NVIDIA only had two (albeit long) days with the final version of the game.

    Way to start a spin, Slashdot crew.. Michael Moore would be proud!
  • ATI's demos may be biased (of course they are), but dont claim HardOCP's are any more dependable. They used an overclocked Nvidia card for example (and Kyle is a well known Nvidia fanboy)

    And Anand looking for the most stressing parts of the game? Well it seems to me the slowest parts might just as well be CPU-limited as graphics limited. And [H] benching an entire level? Come on! You have to choose GPU-stressing parts, if you bench an entire level your average scores will be much more even since the cards

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