Publisher: Electronic Arts
We are using the follow up to Battlefield 1942 and Battlefield: Vietnam, Battlefield 2. It features an all-new game engine based on the DirectX 9.0 API. There is no Shader Model 3.0 support, but the majority of hardware will use a Shader Model 2.0++ mode that includes support for Normal Maps, Parallax Mapping, Full-Resolution Dynamic Shadowing, Post Processing and Fog.
The game will look the same on both NVIDIA and ATI hardware, so there is no advantage of choosing one over the other in image quality related circumstances. The only major difference is that Ultra Shadow 2 is utilised on NVIDIA's hardware, while the Shadowing on ATI hardware is done using a slightly different technique.
We played five five-minute segments of the same map, taking the median frame rate as our published frame rates. We found that there was no 100% repeatable way to benchmark this game manually, so we felt that taking a typical slice of action from the game was the best way to report our findings. We controlled Anti-Aliasing from inside the game, while Anisotropic Filtering was set to 8xAF when the 'Texture Filtering' option was set to 'High'.
Below is a table of the best-playable settings that we found best for each video card configuration. In this title, we found that 25 to 30 frames per second minimum and a target of 55 frames per second (or higher) for the average frame rate delivered a smooth and fluid gaming experience.
In Battlefield 2 we found that we were not able to increase the image quality on the overclocked Gainward GeForce 7800 GTX over what delivered a smooth gaming experience on the reference clocked GeForce 7800 GTX. It is not fast enough to deliver fluid game play at 4xAA. Both GeForce 7800 GTX's delivered smooth frame rates constantly above 30 frames per second at 1600x1200 2x TRSSAA (Transparency SuperSampled Anti-Aliasing) & 8xAF with the all in-game details set to 'High' apart from Lighting and Effects quality, which had to be reduced to 'Medium' in order to deliver a smooth gaming experience.
The HIS Radeon X850 XT PE delivered a smooth frame rate at 1280x960 0xAA 8xAF with 'Medium-High' details. We had to turn Effects, Lighting and Dynamic Light to medium in order alleviate hitching and frame rate drops in to the low 20's; all other settings were left at high. Finally, the XFX GeForce 6800 GT SLI delivered a smooth gaming experience at 1600x1200 0xAA 8xAF with the same detail settings as both GeForce 7800 GTX's - it just goes to show how fast the GeForce 7800 GTX's really are in some of the newer titles.