ATI System Setup:
- Connect3D Radeon X1950 XT 256MB – operating at its default clock speeds of 621/1800MHz using Catalyst 7.1 WHQL;
- ATI Radeon X1950 Pro 256MB – operating at its default clock speeds of 580/1400MHz using Catalyst 7.1 WHQL;
- ATI Radeon X1950 XTX 512MB – operating at its default clock speeds of 650/2000MHz using Catalyst 7.1 WHQL.
Intel Core 2 Duo E6600 (operating at 2.40GHz - 9x266MHz); Asus P5W DH Deluxe motherboard (975X Express); 2 x 1GB Corsair XMS2-8500C5 (operating in dual channel at DDR2-800 with 4-4-4-12 timings); Seagate Barracuda 7200.9 200GB SATA hard drive; OCZ GameXtreme 700W PSU; Windows XP Professional Service Pack 2; DirectX 9.0c; Intel inf version 7.22 WHQL.
NVIDIA System Setup
- BFGTech GeForce 8800 GTS OC 320MB – operating at its default clock speeds of 550/1300/1600MHz using Forceware 97.92 WHQL;
- BFGTech GeForce 8800 GTS OC 640MB – operating at its default clock speeds of 550/1300/1600MHz using Forceware 97.92 WHQL;
- Nvidia GeForce 7900 GTX 512MB – operating at its default clock speeds of 650/1600MHz using Forceware 93.71 WHQL;
- Nvidia GeForce 7900 GT 256MB – operating at its default clock speeds of 450/1320MHz using Forceware 93.71 WHQL.
Intel Core 2 Duo E6600 (operating at 2.40GHz - 9x266MHz); Asus Striker Extreme motherboard (nForce 680i SLI); 2 x 1GB Corsair XMS2-8500C5 (operating in dual channel at DDR2-800 with 4-4-4-12-1T timings); Seagate Barracuda 7200.9 200GB SATA hard drive; OCZ GameXtreme 700W PSU; Windows XP Professional Service Pack 2; DirectX 9.0c; NVIDIA nForce 680i SLI standalone drivers version 9.53 WHQL.
Company of Heroes:
We used the full retail version of Company of Heroes
patched to version 1.3.0. It's touted as one of the best real-time strategy games of all time. Not only is the gameplay incredibly good and immersive, the graphics engine is simply stunning, making extensive use of post processing and advanced lighting techniques in the fully destructible environment. It's also scheduled to get a DirectX 10 update soon.
The graphics already look superb, but with the additional performance benefits and image quality enhancements that DirectX 10 will bring, we're expecting it to look even better than it does now. Relic tells us that it plans to make extensive use of the geometry shader, with the addition of things like point shadows and also fuzzy grass support too. By fuzzy grass, Relic means grass that will have micro displacements that break up the detail in the base terrain texturing.
Relic also plans to leverage some of the other benefits to DirectX 10, to improve performance with more graphical features turned on. The developer's plan to add more detail into the world with more smaller object details in the world. Of course, all of these will react with the world and will be fully destructible like every other element in the Company of Heroes world. For our testing, we used the in-built demo to gauge performance - in this rolling demo, there is heavy use of water, lighting, explosions and also masses of vegetation and it represents fairly typical performance throughout the game.
We had some problems getting ATI's cards to run with anti-aliasing enabled, so we have limited comparisons between the cards to 0xAA 16xAF at 1280x1024, 1600x1200 and 1920x1200. All in-game details were set to their maximum values.
At 1280x1024, Connect3D's Radeon X1950 XT 256MB is a faster graphics card than Nvidia's GeForce 7900 GTX 512MB, but it's not faster than the BFGTech GeForce 8800 GTS 320MB. Increasing the resolution to 1600x1200, and then to 1920x1200 sees Connect3D's card fall behind Nvidia's GeForce 7900 GTX. Having said that though, you will still get playable frame rates with the Connect3D X1950 XT 256MB at 1920x1200 if you don't mind a fairly low minimum frame rate.